1.5 Contribute to Cooperation and Peace through water

Key organisations :
UNESCO-PCCP (Coordinator), International Network of Basin Organisations (Co-coordinator), Organisation pour la mise en Valeur du fleuve Sénégal, Organization of American States, Global Environment Facility, Scientific-Information Center of Interstate Coordination Water Commission of Central Asia

There are approximately 276 transboundary river basins on the planet with a geographical area corresponding to almost half of the earth’s surface. Almost three billion people in 145 countries live in this area. Furthermore, globally, groundwater is estimated to provide about 50% of current drinking water supplies, of which 274 are transboundary aquifer systems. The number of identified transboundary aquifers is growing based on further investigations. Given these realities, there is a need to develop the conditions necessary for sound and sustainable cooperation between people, groups, and states. Moreover, the global challenges of climate change, population growth, economic development, and urbanization are straining the world’s water resources in new, less predictable ways. These challenges may exacerbate the existing political tensions over transboundary water management, which arise due to countries’ competing requirements for development. On the other hand, water can be a catalyst for cooperation and peace between countries, regions and communities (e.g. the many international river commissions, joint infrastructure projects, and capacity-building programmes). Within this context, the goal of the Priority for Action 1.5 Contribute to cooperation and peace is to ensure that water and its management contributes to cooperation and peace-building at all levels, from the local to the global. PFA 1.5 is part of the World Water Council’s framework for the 6th World Water Forum within the Strategic Direction pertaining to “Well-being for all.” Within this overarching goal, PfA 1.5 is focused on transboundary cooperation, the prevention of conflicts and tensions at all levels, and the development of water security and hydro-solidarity. PfA 1.5 is organized into three broad issue areas: legal arrangements, joint management practices and institutions, and education and capacity building. Each issue is composed of three targets aimed at enhancing cooperation and peace as related to water and its management. The first issue, legal arrangements, is focused on enhancing and strengthening the legal framework to support cooperation regarding transboundary waters. Three goals comprise this issue; these goals seek to increase political acceptance and implementation of water law at all jurisdictional levels, to generate new agreements while enhancing existing agreements related to transboundary surface and/or groundwater, finally, to improve the cooperative mechanisms for more effective management of transboundary aquifers. Joint management practices and institutions have been critical for development of successful management and cooperation between and within countries. Thus, the goals of the second issue area are to increase institutional and technical capacity for sustainable management of water resources, develop pragmatic solutions to water-related issues through engagement of stakeholders at the level of the conflict, and create sustainable finance mechanisms to support transboundary institutions. Education and capacity building, the third issue, positively affect the achievement of all targets across sectors. The targeted audiences are government decision-makers, water and dispute-resolution professionals, civil society, educators, and students in water-related disciplines. The goals consist of the development of methods to share data and monitoring programmes, contributing toward an increase in professional training in transboundary water management and conflict resolution, and the establishment of partnerships between basin organizations to facilitate knowledge and information exchange.