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Re-Thinking Climate Interventions in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States: Insights From Nepal

While much of the debate around climate financing focuses on “how much,” an equally important question is “how?” It is far from easy to strengthen resilience in places where environmental and climate-related risks also interact with pre-existing social, economic, and political stresses,...
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ECC Newsletter Edition 1/2015

We have published the first edition of the Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation Newsletter in 2015. Read how foreign policy makers can use opportunities for green job creation to promote ambitious climate action, about linkages between climate change and fragility in Africa, or how climate change exacerbates conflicts between mining and herding in Mongolia.
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Global Climate Governance in 2014 in Retrospect

From Each According to His Capability... As the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 20) to the UNFCCC closed in mid-December 2014 in Lima, Peru, some returned to their homes feeling cautiously optimistic regarding the potential for a strong, ambitious outcome at the Paris Climate Change Conference in 2015. Despite slow progress, the Lima conference was conducted in an overall positive spirit,...
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Quote of the Month

"The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we don’t act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration and conflict and hunger around the globe.” - Barack Obama, U.S. President, State of the Union Address, Washington D.C., 20 January 2015.
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Water Intro

water hands 297x198The availability of freshwater resources in sufficient quantity and quality is essential for the preservation of human health and sound ecosystems. The use of water resources is also vital, however, for economic development: whether for agriculture, industrial production, or for electricity generation. The world's freshwater resources are distributed very unevenly in terms of geography and the seasons. In addition, water shortage is becoming more prevalent in several regions due to population growth, economic development, urbanization, and increasing environmental pollution. Thus, water resources can hold potential for conflicts between parties who have different interests and needs.

Conflicts surrounding the distribution, access and quality of water resources often arise between upstream and downstream riparians on waterways, since water usages upstream can affect the quantity and quality of the resource downstream. Bodies of water frequently flow across borders and can, therefore, also become the subject of international disputes.

Furthermore, conflicts can also develop between water users and the authorities responsible for water management. Water-related disputes take on different forms, such as civil disobedience, acts of sabotage or violent conflicts. However, the latter are more likely to be seen at the local and intrastate level than at the interstate level.

Even though it remains to be seen whether wars over water will actually develop, interstate water conflicts have nonetheless already contributed to tensions that, in several cases, significantly constrain the economic development of the region. In addition, interstate water conflicts can, in their own right, encumber the stability of the country and have negative consequences for international relations.

At the same time, various examples also demonstrate that precisely this need for joint management of water resources gathers conflicting parties around one table and encourages cooperative negotiating. Even if a tedious negotiation process often precedes cooperation in water management, water cooperation has in the past provided a fertile starting point for peace promotion, and has led to the development of stable institutions.