Shared waters: conflict or cooperation

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Presentation given during the VUGS symposium

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Shared waters: conflict or cooperation

  1. 1. The World’s Water • 97% of the world’s water is salty or brackish • Of the remaining 3% that is freshwater, 99% is in inaccessible polar ice caps, glaciers or deep aquifers • 0.03% of the total is easily accessible freshwater
  2. 2. Global Water Crisis • 2.6 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation • More than 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water • 1.8 million people die every year from diarrhoeal diseases • Every 3 seconds, a child dies from water born diseases • At least 250 million illnesses (5-10 million deaths) • Water-related disease costs US$125 billion/yr. (Would “only” cost US$7-50 billion/yr. to resolve)
  3. 3. “We shall not finally defeat AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, or any of the other infectious diseases that plague the developing world until we have also won the battle for safe drinking water, sanitation and basic health care.” Kofi Annan United Nations Secretary-General May 2001
  4. 4. The world resized according to freshwater availabilty
  5. 5. Water Stress Source: IWMI, 2000
  6. 6. Climate change – the facts • Sufficient evidence that Rising atmospheric temperatures climate change is real • Climate change is more than an unprecedented Rising sea levels environmental challenge – it is a massive development, economic and social challenge. Reduction in snow cover
  7. 7. Climate change Security implications: • Increasing scarcity and variability of renewable resources – Declining resource base – Increased demand • Sea-level rise – Displacement? • Intensification of natural disasters – Migration
  8. 8. Natural Resources • Overexploitation, pollution, mismanagement, scarcity or abundance of natural resources: – Exacerbated by climate change – Resulting in increased competition, turbulence, migratory movements and conflict and insecurity?
  9. 9. Water Wars? “The next war in the Middle East will be fought over water, not politics.” Boutros Boutros Ghali, 1991, 1997, 2005 “Wars of the next century will be over water, not oil.” Ismail Serageldin “Fierce competition for freshwater may well become a source of conflict and wars in the future.” Kofi Annan
  10. 10. > 270 Shared River Basins Source: TFDD
  11. 11. Whare indicators of conflict? 100 GIS layers by basin • Geopolitical – Boundaries – Events – Democratization • Biophysical – Average annual runoff – Projected water stress – Climate change (precip and T) • Socio-economic – Population – Human Poverty Index – GNP Source: TFDD
  12. 12. The Facts Formal War 0 Military Acts 37 Hostile Acts 56 Verbal Hostility 414 Neutral 96 Verbal Support 628 Non-military agreement 436 Military Support 7 International Water Treaties 157 Source: http://www.transboundarywaters.orst.edu
  13. 13. Water Myths & Water Facts Myth # 3: Causes of conflict include: • Climate • Water stress • Population • Level of development • Dependence on hydropower • Dams or development per se • “Creeping” changes: » general degradation of quality » climate change induced hydrologic variability
  14. 14. What are indicators? •Sudden physical changes or lower institutional capacity are more conducive to disputes: •Uncoordinated development: a major project in the absence of a treaty or commission •“Internationalized basins” • General animosity
  15. 15. Institutional Resiliency Transboundary water institutions are resilient over time, even between hostile riparians, even as conflict is waged over other issues.
  16. 16. Conflict at different levels • Irrigation and agricultural use • Industrial use • Household use And: cooperation and conflict almost always co- exist.
  17. 17. Darfur Ethiopia “Darfur is an environmental crisis – a conflict that grew Shrinking resource base at least in part from exacerbated by desertification, ecological – Population growth degradation and a scarcity of – Environmental resources, foremost among the water” degradation – Climate change? UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon Sept. 2007
  18. 18. Institutional Resiliency Transboundary water institutions are resilient over time, even between hostile riparians, even as conflict is waged over other issues.
  19. 19. 1760 river floods over the period 1985-2005 175 floods shared between countries
  20. 20. Comparison floods and shared floods 100% 40.7% 75% 67.3% All River Floods 90.1% 85.9% 50% Shared riverfloods 59.3% 25% 32.7% 9.9% 14.1% 0% # of floods Casualties Displaced Damage
  21. 21. Transboundary Floods Formal War 0 Military Acts 0 Hostile Acts 0 Verbal Hostility 8 Neutral 3 Verbal Support 16 Non-military agreement 31 Military Support 0 International Water Treaties 9 Source: Bakker 2009
  22. 22. African continent 33% of floods in Africa were transboundary
  23. 23. 34 institutions for 16 basins 77% of basins: no transboundary water institutions *** 4 institutions focused on flood issues
  24. 24. Summary Where should transboundary flood-related institutional capacity be increased? • 43 basins without institutional capacity • 12 basins with history of multiple shared floods :
  25. 25. Challenges • Links climate change, environmental degradation and conflict? • Environmental peacemaking? • Land degradation, deforestation, climate change, water scarcity, pollution • Threaten global, national and human security • Can contribute to conflict • Can exacerbate poverty and migration
  26. 26. Scope of PBL DGIS research on adaptation Adaptatie: vraag van DGIS • Focus ontwikkelingslanden • Kosten en baten van adaptatie-opties • Hoe te komen tot effectieve adaptatiestrategieën Relatie ontwikkeling adaptatie
  27. 27. Scope of PBL DGIS research on adaptation • Focus 1: developing countries • Focus 2: climate change water land use • Encompassing – Drought – Floods – Salinisation of deltas • Options and costs of adaptation • Synergies/trade-offs with MDG strategies, conserving biodiversity, forestry/REDD, biofuels
  28. 28. Interactions within river basins
  29. 29. Assessment: options and costs of adaptation Addressing: - Droughts - Floods - Salinisation in deltas Types of measures - Adjustment of behaviour/management - Technical measures - Land use development - Migration (tipping points?)
  30. 30. WATER STRESS ? AQUIFERS
  31. 31. Water & Cooperation “But the water problems of our world need not be only a cause of tension; they can also be a catalyst for cooperation ….If we work together, a secure and sustainable water future can be ours.” Kofi Annan, February 2002

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