Water, peace and security
The Water, Peace and Security (WPS) partnership designs innovative tools and services to identify developing water-related security risks. This leads to evidence-based actions to address the risks, and prevent or mitigate human insecurity.
Water insecurity is growing, with about 36% of the world population living in water-scarce regions.These numbers are set to increase due to population growth, rapid urbanisation and growing economic demand for water, exacerbated by ecosystem losses and climate change.
The growing water crisis increasingly poses a threat to livelihoods, economies and global security.
To address this, the partnership focuses on four interlinked tools:
- Understand: 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: Support 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 most at-risk countries.
- Learn: Provide training and capacity development to help countries where threats have been identified, to mitigate current and future crises, while averting potentially destabilising conflicts and migration.
- Dialogue: Use information generated by the partnership to bring together stakeholders at international and sub-national levels and build bridges. This can diffuse tensions and pave the way for agreed and informed solutions.
The partnership is piloting its approaches in the Inner Niger Delta in Mali, where, by setting up and supporting multi-stakeholder platforms, national and local stakeholders are deepening their understanding of water-related security risks and exploring joined-up interventions. Through a collaboration between Deltares and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the partnership is also developing a model on the hydrological system in Iraq and its relation to internal migration. WPS partners are looking at expanding this to further involvement in the country.
In December 2019, the partnership launched an early warning tool to identify potential conflicts over water and help defuse them.
Water, Peace and Seucurity is a global collaboration between the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a consortium of six partners: Deltares, IHE Delft, International Alert, The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, Wetlands International and World Resources Institute.
- Water scarcity and conflict: Not such a straight-forward link. Opinion piece in ECDPM’s Great Insights by Susanne Schmeier, Emma Meurs and Rozemarijn ter Horst (IHE Delft), Jessica Hartog (International Alert). Joyce Kortlandt (Wetlands International), Karen Meijer (Deltares)and Rolien Sasse (independent consultant).
- Water wars: early warning tool uses climate data to predict conflict hotspots. Article in The Guardian by Saeed Kamali Dehghan.