The establishment of a Universities’ Partnership for Water Cooperation & Diplomacy was discussed at a scoping meeting held in Delft, The Netherlands, in January 2018, and was presented at a side-event organised by University of Geneva at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Universities’ Partnership for Water Cooperation & Diplomacy
The Partnership will be a global consortium that brings together universities, academic institutions and related institutes that are active and interested in water cooperation and diplomacy. The overall objective of the Partnership is to foster applied research, share educational approaches and open-access materials, offer professional capacity building, and connect students to each other and to potential mentors around the globe in these areas.
The Partnership’s activities will focus on key socioeconomic, geopolitical and legal issues in shared water management at local, regional, national, and international levels. All activities will be explicitly linked to and integrated within the following four coordinated focus areas:
1) Coordinated applied research;
2) Shared and unified data accumulation, analysis, and distribution;
2) Capacity building workshops for local, regional, and international basin stakeholders; and,
4) Graduate and professional certification in water cooperation and water diplomacy.
Addressing water disputes at a local, regional, national, and international level is a priority. Worldwide, water demand is growing, groundwater levels are dropping, water bodies are increasingly contaminated and delivery and treatment infrastructure is ageing. The potential for conflict and the need for cooperation between watershed stakeholders is likely to increase as problems become more acute. The global academic community, with its inherent mission of teaching, research, and service, has much to offer in addressing the challenges of preventing and resolving transboundary water disputes.
The Universities’ Partnership for Water Cooperation & Diplomacy will be coordinated by core universities, including the University of Geneva (Geneva Water Hub), IHE Delft Institute for Water Education (IHE Delft), the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, the German-Kazakh University in Almaty, and Oregon State University. A further twenty universities on five continents have expressed interest in participating. The local networks of each partner institution will extend the reach of the consortium, to include policy makers and practitioners and will thus encourage dialogue and capacity-building between North and South, East and West, and among different professional sectors.
The institutions involved have strong academic expertise in fields related to water resources conflict prevention and resolution. They comprise both policy and technical expertise within and beyond their respective regions, and across academic disciplines.
World Economic Forum Davos
The concept of the Universities’ Partnership for Water Cooperation & Diplomacy was presented during the World Economic Forum, on 24 January 2018. Partnerships representatives present were Prof. Christian Brethaut, University of Geneva, UNESCO Chair in hydropolitics, Geneva Water Hub, Prof. Anamika Barua, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Prof. Aaron Wolf, Oregon State University, Zaki Shubber, IHE Delft.