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Hydropolitical Baselines for Water Diplomacy

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The solution relates to the quality of education provided on water conflict resolution. Diplomatic fundamentals such as knowledge and objectivity are surprisingly passed over in water diplomacy training and interventions. A return to these would help us move away from apparently apolitical attempts at conflict management, and towards water conflict resolution. One way the knowledge may be gathered is by undertaking ‘hydropolitical baselines’ that review and analyse the hydrologic, water use, and political record. Objectivity can be helped through appeal to and strengthening of international norms, such as customary water law.

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The Blue Peace: Rethinking Middle East Water

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The Blue Peace approach is based on a joint sustainable, comprehensive, integrated management of water resources by countries in any region. In brief, the issue is not how to share the pie, rather the issue is how to preserve, nurture, and expand the pie and how to share benefits. The old approach of preventing water conflict by negotiating a formula for allocation of fresh water flows will not work. The amounts that we agree on today will not be simply there in 10 years time. Unlike conventional concepts of peace which are often armistice or arms control agreements, to prevent a war, the Blue Peace Approach proposes a proactive process of cooperation in water which is the most crucial element in socio-economic development of the poor. If countries in a given neighbourhood are actively engaged in cooperation for harnessing benefits from water resources and preserving fresh water, rather than merely allocating shares of water resources, they will have no incentive to engage in conflict or go to war.

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