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Politics of sustainable ecosystems: seminar at World Water Week 2018!

The emerging politics of sustainable ecosystems

Co-convenors: Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), the World Bank, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and Planetary Security Initiative


A new form of geopolitics embracing cooperative solutions for ecosystem and freshwater distribution management is essential. Environmental consequences, high-value ecosystems, and sustainability security are often hidden from view of global politics. This session draws attention to the political economy benefits of resolving ecosystem challenges through progressing the SDG 6 debate – freshwater ecosystems are essential to human health, environmental sustainability and economic prosperity – and the security implications of escalating resource use. These combined challenges move us dangerously close to the ‘planetary boundaries’. Ecosystems and water bodies are reaching ‘closed’ status, and increasing infrastructure investments in developing countries necessitates trade-offs. Shared ecosystems create subnational, national or regional interdependencies with public goods-neglect or overexploitation leading to cooperative and/or conflicting outcomes. The broader socio-political context and relations between communities, sectors, or countries are the determinants. An emerging consequence is increased migration as people seek to live closer to critical, healthy natural resources.


Cooperatively managed, shared water systems, integral to broader ecosystems, can provide reliable services to its dependents. Conversely, inappropriate management, or conflict between sectoral policies, can lead to security challenges, particularly when ecosystems limits are being tested. New partnerships are needed to agree a flexible formula for equitably sharing aquatic resources. Their common objective? Security for all stakeholders, while adapting to changing conditions, foremost those resulting from climate change. This seminar will consider good practice in cooperation and management of joint systems alongside situations which have led to or increased the likelihood of conflict. Concrete, policy-relevant approaches will be encouraged.

Please read more on how to engage and submit your abstract here.


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