Water Diplomacy: Harnessing Foreign Policy for Conflict Prevention and Regional Integration

International donors often justify their support for transboundary water cooperation as a contribution to peace-building and regional integration, yet positive political spillovers from technical cooperation on water have frequently proven elusive.

Against this backdrop, adelphi and the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) jointly organised a side event at the World Water Week 2014. The high-ranking panel of the side event reflected on the prospects and challenges for global water diplomacy in an interactive session with high-ranking practitioners from the foreign and water policy communities. What legal, institutional and diplomatic methods are available for water-related conflict prevention and resolution? How have they been applied, and in what ways can they be improved? Many actors at different levels work on transboundary water management, variously focusing on legal instruments, political processes, social change, environmental issues, and the development of infrastructure.

In this context, the side event specifically looked at the role that foreign policy-makers could play in strengthening transboundary water cooperation for reaping regional cooperation dividends.

The audience was invited to discuss with the panelists how closer collaboration between the various policy communities could contribute to increasing the basket of benefits of transboundary water governance and to attenuating conflict.

The complete Event Program, the report "The Rise of Hydro-Diplomacy" as well as a Video-Interview with Benjamin Pohl at the World Water Week are available online.