Title: Strengthening Water Diplomacy in Transboundary Basins
Event type: Seminar
Date: 2011-08-22
Time: 15:30 - 18:45
Convenor: International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), University of Dundee, Global Water Partnership (GWP), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
Room: K23

Policy dialogues on transboundary waters increasingly stress concepts of shared waters and sustainable development of transboundary basins based on benefit sharing. Yet, in many regions, sovereignty remains the paramount concern of national governments' agendas for international waters, in spite of legal tools (eg. the 1997 UN Watercourses Convention) and strong technical tools. This clash in paradigms - between the sovereignty objections of Ministries of Foreign Affairs and sharing objectives of water technocrats - is shaping the balance between stalemate and progress. Understanding this balance will help identify strategies needed in different contexts to overcome constraints and build cooperation.

This seminar will feature regional showcases of water diplomacy to contrast how the agenda on international waters is being shaped in different regions. Discussion of experience of the UN Watercourses Convention will be complemented by cases demonstrating cooperation built from the level of transboundary communities upwards. Based on lessons learned from different approaches, participants will identify priority actions for strengthening water diplomacy and enabling cooperation in management and development of transboundary basins.



Welcome and introduction


Keynote speech: Transboundary waters: A Diplomat's perspective. Mr Shafi Sami, former Bangladesh Ambassador to India, former Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh


Regional cases. Mekong and the Nile. John Metzger and Simon Thuo, GWP


Panel discussion: Contrasting the sovereignty paradigm with joint water management and benefit sharing


Coffee break


Tools for water diplomacy: Strengthening the multi-Level governance of transboundary waters. Speaker tbc.


Regional examples of transboundary water cooperation. 


Panel discussion: How can water diplomacy be strengthened? What tools are needed to improve both bottom-up and top-down approaches? Panelists (tbc).


Synthesis and wrap-up

18:45 Close of seminar


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