Water management and the fair distribution of water is an issue of growing importance on the international agenda. Building on the internationally renowned Dutch expertise in water technology, water governance, conflict resolution, and legal systems, The Hague Institute for Global Justice
has joined forces with the Netherlands Institute for International Relations “Clingendael”
, Water Governance Centre
, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education
, and the UPEACE Centre The Hague to form a Water Diplomacy Consortium
(WDC), in cooperation with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The consortium aspires both to become a knowledge hub for water diplomacy, governance, and law, and to contribute to conflict prevention and conflict resolution in relation to water management across and within national borders.
What is water diplomacy?
In the context of this initiative, water diplomacy is defined broadly to include all measures that can be undertaken to prevent or peacefully resolve conflicts related to water availability, allocation or use between and within states. Among these measures are early warning of potential conflict, conflict prevention through better water governance and water management, Track-II facilitation, more formal mediation and arbitration, legal procedures, training and capacity building, knowledge development, and good practice documentation.
Goals and services
Collectively, the WDC partners combine capacities in diplomacy and conflict resolution, international (water) law, water systems, water governance, and water management. These cover the spectrum of water diplomacy broadly defined from both an academic and a practical perspective. The WDC thus serves as global hub for water diplomacy in theory and practice, and offers the following services to governments and public entities at all levels, intergovernmental organizations, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders that need assistance in the field of water diplomacy:
- Advisory services to governments and public entities at all levels on improving water governance and management systems;
- Training and capacity building on a broad range of water diplomacy issues;
- Knowledge exchange and partnerships among water diplomacy stakeholders;
- Advice on conflict resolution methods, from facilitation to mediation, conciliation, arbitration, and adjudication;
- Direct assistance as an honest broker in conflict resolution;
- Advice or direct assistance on post-conflict peace building in and through the water sector;
- Research and publications, including case studies and good practices, on water conflict prevention and resolution issues;
- Organization of conferences and other events, including online activities, on water diplomacy for experts or the broader public.
UPEACE The Hague contributed to the Working Programme of the Water Diplomacy Consortium, which is part of the Cooperation Agreement between the five parties involved in the WDC.
To celebrate its first anniversary WDC organized a seminar on 4 December 2014 in the Peace Palace on (International) water conflicts entitled: “Water as a driver for international cooperation and trust building”. This seminar and networking event, was commissioned by the Municipality of The Hague.
More information can be found at www.waterdiplomacyconsortium.org.