The United Nations should promote “hydro-diplomacy” to defuse any tensions over water in regions like the Middle East and North Africa where scarce supplies have the potential to spark future conflicts.
They said the U.N. Security Council should work out ways to bolster cooperation over water in shared lakes or rivers, from the Mekong to the Nile, that are likely to come under pressure from a rising world population and climate change. The Middle East and North Africa are the regions most at risk of conflict over scarce water supplies, they said, but history shows “water wars” are very rare.
“We think that water is an issue that would be a appropriate for the U.N. Security Council,” Zafar Adeel, chair of UN-Water, told Reuters ahead of a meeting of experts in Canada this week to discuss water and security. Read more
For a number of years now, we have heard of predictions that future wars will be fought over control of essential resources, such as water. To some extent, most wars have already been about that. However, in terms of water itself, some experts question this prediction. Inter Press Service (IPS) notes a number of experts disagree with the view that future wars will be over water, and instead feel it is mismanagement of water resources which is the issue, not scarcity (which is the underlying assumption for the prediction of such wars.)
That same IPS article quotes Arunabha Ghosh, co-author of the United Nations Human Development Report 2006 themed on water management who says, “Water wars make good newspaper headlines but cooperation (agreements) don’t.… there are plenty of bilateral, multilateral and trans-boundary agreements for water-sharing—all or most of which do not make good newspaper copy.” Read more
With all of its life-giving properties, water is not often associated with acts of war. Yet many important interconnections are apparent in modern life. For example, wars are sometimes fought on waterways; those engaged in military operations have many needs for water; war can adversely impact water resources; and increasingly, observers worry that wars might break out due to escalating conflicts over water resources.
Many view the idea of global water wars as not possible, whereas others believe such wars are likely. Historically, water has been more of an indirect source of conflict, rather than a direct source or cause for war. However, for millions of people—from Bosnia to Iraq, and from Chechnya to Somalia—water’s intricate relation with war is an everyday reality. Read more