The Water, Peace and Security Partnership

Water insecurity is increasing worldwide. About 36% of the world’s people live in water-scarce regions, with the numbers set to increase thanks to population growth, rapid urbanisation, and growing economic demands for water. On average, droughts affect over 50 million people annually and cause more than $5 billion of damage. Further, they may have a long-term de-stabilising impacts on livelihoods and societies. Meanwhile, 100 million are affected by floods, causing $31 billion in damage. Ecosystem losses and climate change impacts are exacerbating these threats.

The growing water crisis increasingly poses a threat to livelihoods, economies, and global security. Organisations including the United Nations, the World Economic Forum and the High-Level Panel on Water have all added their voice to these concerns. 

In response, the Water, Peace and Security partnership is designing innovative tools and services that can identify developing water-related security risks. These innovative tools and services are able to show short term water shortage changes and impacts, and link them to social, political, economic, and hydrological factors. This leads to evidence-based actions that allow risks to be addressed, and human insecurity prevented or mitigated.

Understand - Mobilize - Learn - Dialogue - Act!

Understand: The first component of the WPS is to generate understanding, by creating pioneering models from global data sets, local knowledge and satellite imagery. This creates meaningful information, such as early warning signals and decision tools that show where and when risks are increasing and how they can be addressed. 

Mobilise: This information helps decision makers, including politicians, communities and the private sector, to act. The WPS team will assist this by conducting outreach to 3D audiences (diplomats, defence and development experts), along with national governments and stakeholders in affected countries.

Learn: Training and capacity development are provided to help countries where threats have been identified, to mitigate current and future crises, while averting potentially-destabilising conflicts and migration. 

Dialogue: The information and understanding that WPS generates can be used to bring together stakeholders at international and sub-national levels. This can diffuse tensions and pave the way for agreed and informed solutions. 

WPS promotes an integrated approach, in which the different tools go hand-in-hand, strengthening each other. Publicizing new analysis can support awareness raising and mobilization among stakeholders, and can also be used for training purposes. The process to involve stakeholders in developing models and training can bring people together from different backgrounds, supporting a dialogue process among them.


'Are water and conflict linked and what actually links them?Opinion piece by Susanne Schmeier (IHE Delft), Chris Baker (Wetlands International), Judith Blauw (Deltares), Charles Iceland (World Resources Institute), Karen Meijer (Deltares) and Rolien Sasse (independent consultant). 

Water, Peace and Security flyer

Case studies

Through Wetlands International and International Alert, who both have ongoing programmes in Mali, the partnership is piloting its approaches in the Inner Niger Delta in Mali. Discussions have taken place with stakeholders at different levels on a model of the hydrological system and of the relation to livelihoods and conflict and on the WPS approaches. In 2019, further dialogue and training is planned to take place.

Through a collaboration between Deltares and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Iraq (Marshes in the South). A model is being developed on the hydrological system and its relation to internal migration. WPS partners are looking at expanding this to further involvement in Iraq.

About the partnership

The Water, Peace and Security partnership is a collaboration among an expanding group of organisations supported by The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Current partners include: IHE Delft (lead), World Resources Institute, Deltares, The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, Wetlands International, International Alert, Oregon State University, and Pacific Institute.

For more information, please contact one of the consortium partners or the overall coordinator: IHE Delft, Susanne Schmeier.

WPS Website including Gobal and Regional Tool


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