Climate change and environmental degradation are altering the regional and seasonal availability and quality of water. The resulting competition over water use may lead to conflict and sometimes violence. In our Editor’s Pick, we present 10 case studies from our interactive ECC Factbook that analyse the linkages between water and conflict.
The Brahmaputra River originates in the Tibetan area of China and flows through China, Bhutan, India and Bangladesh, before reaching the sea at the Bay of Bengal. The use of its water resources has become the source of contention between different users in some parts of the river, involving multiple jurisdictions and countries. This report analyses key factors that affect transboundary water cooperation, as well as potential areas of future cooperation.
Water conflict and cooperation surrounding riparian countries among the Jordan River has been one of the most contentious issues in the Middle East, at times leading to the use of military force. While there are many studies analyzing current water contention over the lower part of the Jordan River, there is a gap in a comprehensive analysis of factors affecting various cooperation taking place within the basin, linking analysis to future potential areas of cooperation. This report is the result of a research project aimed at filling this gap.
The region at the base of the Himalayas faces difficult tradeoffs when allocating water for energy production versus agricultural, industrial, and domestic uses. As weather patterns are becoming irregular, the construction of new power plants faces increasing resistance from local communities, resulting in social disruptions and instability. Keith Schneider argues that governments must look beyond hydropower and coal.
This policy brief analyses the challenges and potentials for cooperation among Middle Eastern countries through water governance. It takes the perspective of water insecurity as an instability multiplier, bringing the matter of water distribution and use to the center of the Middle Eastern conflict.
The impacts of new dams and diversions are felt across borders, and the development of new water infrastructure can increase political tensions in transboundary river basins. International water treaties and river basin organizations serve as a framework to potentially deescalate hydro-political tensions across borders.
Climate finance is supposed to fund projects in developing countries that support the path towards limiting global warming to 1,5°C – a goal that was confirmed in the Paris Agreement in December 2015. For this it needs a paradigm shift to low-emission and climate-resilient development as the statute of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) states. At the same time, projects funded under climate finance should not hamper development or lead to the violation of human rights. Climate finance can therefore not only focus on the environmental aspects of the investments funded, but also needs to be incorporated into the wider context of development, as i.a. the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are reflecting.
On 29 August 2017, adelphi and its partners are organising a side event on "Water Resources (In-)Security and Conflict – Exploring Inter-Linkages" at the World Water Week 2017. The panel will identify entry points for breaking the vicious cycle of water insecurity, fragility and conflict and turning it into a virtuous one.
Of the 186 countries assessed in a recent survey of climate vulnerability, Chad was rated most in peril. A combination of high poverty, frequent conflicts, and the risk of both droughts and floods means the central African nation is bottom of the list, just below Bangladesh and some way behind Norway, the country least vulnerable to climate change.