As we near the end of the UN’s proclaimed International Year of Water Cooperation, some exciting new reports and entities, working across several geographic scales, have been in the news. Here are a few that hit my inbox over the last few weeks…
New report on the interdependence of water and peace
The Strategic Foresight Group released a report this week entitled “Water Cooperation for a Secure World – Focus on the Middle East,” highlighting evidence that nations engaged in cooperation over water issues do not go to war. The report also introduced the concept of a Water Cooperation Quotient, measuring the effectiveness and intensity of transboundary cooperation in factors including “sustained institutions of transboundary cooperation; joint investment programs; collective management of water-related infrastructure; a system for regularly and jointly monitoring water flows together with a shared vision for the best allocation of water resources between agriculture and other sectors; and a forum for frequent interaction between top decision-makers.”
Visit The Daily Star Lebanon New’s article or download the report to read more. And for more evidence of the interdependence of water and peaceful cooperation, be sure to check out Dr. Aaron Wolf’s landmark research on the subject.
New UNESCO center for transboundary water research
The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) has agreed to be the first UNESCO center focusing on diffusing transboundary water disputes. SIWI will strive to increase cooperation and assist in regions where water conflict is most likely to lead to war, and will “concentrate on how to establish and develop effective water partnerships despite contexts of political conflict.”
New U.S. interagency partnership to promote drought resilience
On November 15, 2013, the Obama Administration announced a new National Drought Resilience Partnership to help communities better prepare for future droughts and reduce the impact of drought events on livelihoods and the economy. As a collaborative effort between seven agencies, “the Partnership aims to align Federal drought polices across the government and help communities manage the impact of drought by linking information (monitoring, forecasts, outlooks, and early warnings) with drought preparedness and long-term resilience strategies in critical sectors such as agriculture, municipal water systems, energy, recreation, tourism and transportation.” Partnership agencies include NOAA, UDSA, Department of the Interior, Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, EPA, and Department of Energy.
New state-wide group to support collaboration amongst Vermont watershed organizations
The formation of a new group called Watersheds United Vermont was announced in early November. The group will increase the communication and coordination of the more than 30 watershed organizations across the state that work on similar initiatives (such as water quality monitoring and education or outreach) by providing a platform for them “to learn from each other, to bring up the capacity of [smaller groups], and to cross-pollinate great ideas” about watershed-based efforts. This will help many of them that are working under limited resources to achieve project goals previously unmet.
Go here to see the North Country News article on Watersheds United Vermont and listen to the WAMU radio clip about it.