Conflict Transformation
Sustainable Transformation
Global Issues
Water Scarcity at IDP Camps in North Darfur | Photo credits: Albert González Farran - United Nations Photos/ [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

On 29 August 2017, adelphi and its partners are organising a side event on Water Resources (In-)Security and Conflict – Exploring Inter-Linkages at the World Water Week 2017. The panel will identify entry points for breaking the vicious cycle of water insecurity, fragility and conflict and turning it into a virtuous one.

Water is indispensable to basic human security. As global demand for freshwater resources is growing rapidly due to population growth and greater affluence while climate change and environmental degradation change the regional and seasonal availability of water, opinion makers voice increasing alarm of the risks related to water crises.

In 2016, the World Economic Forum’s 2016 risk survey ranked water crises among the top 5 global risks for the next decade, and failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation, which primarily expresses itself through the water cycle, as overall the greatest risk by impact.

Does competition over water lead to more violent conflicts?

Given these perceptions and the significance of water for human wellbeing and economic development, many observers fear that competition over water use may lead to violent conflict. The academic literature is largely sceptical about this claim, emphasizing that it is rarely the lack of water as such that fuels conflict, but its governance and management. Yet, the specific and often indirect pathways through which water and security connect remain insufficiently explored.

The side event, Water Resources (In-)Security and Conflict – Exploring Inter-Linkages, examines the inter-linkages between water (in-)security and conflict. By disentangling these inter-linkages, the event will identify entry points for breaking the vicious cycle of water insecurity, fragility and conflict and turning it into a virtuous one that fosters peaceful and sustainable development on the basis of water security.

Convened by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and adelphi, it aims to formulate an overview of actions that countries and the international community can pursue to prevent conflict and support water security:

Water Resources (In-)Security and Conflict – Exploring Inter-Linkages
Side Event
Tuesday, 29 August 2017
09:00-10:30 am CET
FH 202
Find out more about the event and its speakers

Supported by the German Federal Foreign Office, this event brings together policy-makers, practitioners and academics engaged in water resources management across different regions, basins and countries. Their collaboration and sharing of specific examples will allow for building a comprehensive picture of how water security and peaceful development can be mutually reinforcing. After two keynotes outlining different inter-linkages between water security and conflict and cooperation, respectively, participants will break into smaller groups to identify and map inter-linkages through specific examples along a set of guiding questions.

The World Water Week has been the leading annual global event for addressing the world's most pressing water-related issues for more than 25 years. The conference is hosted and organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and takes place in Stockholm from August 27 to September 1. This year, the overarching theme of the conference is "Water and Waste – Reduce and Reuse".


Learn more about adelphi’s projects in the fields of “Water” and “Water Cooperations”.


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