Learning from Water Wars in Development Assistance

I just love the phrase, “Water Wars.” No sooner do you say it then you get everyone’s attention, especially the media. Of course, the media—and others—need a simple way to communicate complexity, in this case: how countries are going to manage water resources that are shared across national borders in a world where the competition for the resource will intensify because of things we can predict (e.g., population and economic growth) and things we can’t (e.g., climate change).

Fortunately, we’ve got GWP Technical Committee Member Mike Muller to dispel the fog around such hot topics. In a recent article in the World Resources Report, Mike clarifies misconceptions around the notion of “water wars.” Mike asks: “what are appropriate roles for development agencies in supporting national-level decision-making processes to achieve national goals, given the challenges of a changing climate?” He argues, as GWP has for a long time, that development efforts might be distorted from the oft-cited threats of water wars and climate change, neglecting that the real solution is improved development assistance with a long term strategic focus, especially when it comes to water resources management. “Water wars” are not a threat if water resources are managed sustainably.

Mike has several suggestions, here are just a few:
•    integrate adaptation as an integral part of the overall development process;
•    acknowledge the importance of the national ownership of the processes;
•    avoid sectoral “silo” approaches in climate change responses.

I don’t want to give away everything. Besides, Mike says it better than I can. Read the full article here.


About globalwaterpartnership

The Global Water Partnership's vision is for a water secure world. Our mission is to advance governance and management of water resources for sustainable and equitable development.
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