Hydro-diplomacy: An invaluable tool for sharing water across borders

IUCN is pleased to announce the upcoming conference: ‘Hydro-diplomacy: A Tool for Sharing Water Across Borders’ which will take place on 31 October in Chiang Rai, Thailand. More than 100 diplomats, political scientists, economists, and water resources professionals from over 25 countries will discuss complexities and ways forward in hydro-diplomacy, in particular in trans-boundary river basins.

Proyecto BRIDGE Photo: IUCN

International river basins are home to 40% of the global population. As pressures on water resources continue to increase with the prospect of climate change, population growth and fast developing technologies for water abstraction, water allocation conflicts may become more likely, more frequent and more intense. Hydro-diplomacy is a crucial tool to ensure that shared water resources are managed efficiently, sustainably and equitably.

Key Issues

• Creating Dialogue: “International river basins are home to 40% of the global population. Hydro-diplomacy is a tool for states to balance interests related to national sovereignty while strengthening regional cooperation with countries sharing common resources. Hydro-diplomacy is invaluable to ensure that shared water resources are managed efficiently, sustainably and equitably”, says Ganesh Pangare, Head IUCN Asia Water Programme.
• Cooperation: “Cooperative governance between countries is necessary in formulating long-term strategies for sustainable management of international river basins and water resources. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to fostering and implementing cooperative governance. Hydro-diplomacy must be tailored to the unique characteristics of its implementing parties, as well as to the nature of the river basin and the communities involved”, says Mark Smith, Director IUCN Global Water Programme.
• Water Governance: “With more than 270 trans-boundary rivers and lakes worldwide, the UN has rightly recognized the importance of good water governance by dedicating 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation. Hydro-diplomacy has a tremendous role to play in this context and goes well beyond the science of water management, by involving sovereignty, political security and economic considerations”, says Alejandro Iza, Director IUCN Environmental Law Centre.

The hydro-diplomacy conference is an initiative of the IUCN Global Water Programme and IUCN Asia Office, held in collaboration with and support from IUCN’s ‘Ecosystems for Life: A Bangladesh-India Initiative’, ‘Mekong Water Dialogues’ and ‘Building River Dialogue and Governance’ (BRIDGE) projects. The outcome of the conference will produce a statement or monograph on the needs and potential for hydro-diplomacy in Asia.

Aban Marker Kabraji, Regional Director, IUCN Asia
Dr. Alejandro Iza, Director, IUCN Environmental Law Centre
Ganesh Pangare, Head IUCN Asia Water Programme
Mark Smith, Director IUCN Global Water Programme

For more information, please contact: water@iucn.org

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