Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Water conflict and water cooperation in the Mideast

An ultra-upbeat view of water issues in the Mideast, from the Peninsula (Qatar): Water could be a source of conflict but could also be a source of cooperation, speakers at the 11th Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade said during a session on ‘Water Security in the Middle East’ yesterday at Doha Sheraton.

A major report on water security, ‘The Blue Peace: Rethinking Middle East Water’, which was prepared with input from almost 100 leaders, ministers, senior officials and experts from Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories was discussed during the session.

The report, which is the result of a consultations process in seven countries over the last 18 months, aims to provide a comprehensive, long-term and regional framework for thinking about water in the region in light of a number of challenges mainly regional conflicts and climate change. This framework recognises the potential of water to deliver a new form of peace, while presenting long-term scenarios of risks of wars and humanitarian crises.

Sundeep Waslekar, President, Strategic Foresight Group (SFG), India said the region will be facing acute water crisis in the next decade with the significant depletion of water in major bodies of water in the region such as the Jordan River, Dead Sea, and Tigris and Euphrates.

SFG carried out the report which was sponsored by Switzerland and Sweden. “Water resources are declining and the decline is very much linked to decline in political wisdom, spirit of cooperation, dialogue and mutual trust,” said Waslekar….

Roughly 100 kilometres from its source, Tigris is already an important river for agriculture just outside Diyarbakır in southern Turkey. Shot by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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