20 April 2017

Water Diplomacy: Making water cooperation work

The availability, allocation and access of water resources determine the well-being, prosperity and stability of societies worldwide. However, the demand for water rises along with population growth, urbanisation, and increased domestic and industrial use, while climate change acts as a threat multiplier for water and food insecurity. In many instances a sustainable and equitable management of shared resources is however lacking.

The scale, urgency and complexity of these challenges requires an inclusive, comprehensive and international approach combining diplomacy, innovation, partnerships and new funding mechanisms. Multi-track water diplomacy is required to navigate the complexities of building cooperation, undertaking collaborative or joint investments in shared river basins, and addressing local or community-based conflicts.

This policy brief reflects the outcomes of brainstorming sessions on water diplomacy during the World Water Week 2015 and the ‘Water diplomacy in South Asia’ workshop (WG4) during the Planetary Security Conference 2016 and presents an ‘Agenda for Water Diplomacy’. Its main objective is to foster knowledge exchange on how to improve multi-track water diplomacy and transboundary water cooperation, with some examples from South Asia.