Hydro-diplomacy: An invaluable concept for sharing water across borders

IUCN is taking the lead in organising the conference: ‘Hydro-diplomacy: A Tool for Sharing Water Across Borders’. This conference will take place on 31 October in Chiang Rai, Thailand, where talks will be held and solutions shared on managing water across boundaries. More than 120 diplomats, political scientists, economists, and water resources professionals from more than 25 countries will discuss complexities and ways forward in hydro-diplomacy, in particular in trans-boundary river basins. The outcome of the conference will be a monograph on hydro-diplomacy.

Map of Chiang Rai, Thailand

Key Issues:

Creating Dialogue: “International river basins are home to 40% of the global population. Hydro-diplomacy is a tool for states to balance interests related to national sovereignty while strengthening regional cooperation with countries sharing common resources. Hydro-diplomacy is invaluable to ensure that shared water resources are managed efficiently, sustainably and equitably”, says Ganesh Pangare, Head IUCN Asia Water Programme.

Collaboration: “Collaborative governance between independent countries is necessary in formulating long-term strategies for sustainable management of international river basins and water resources. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to fostering and implementing collaborative governance. Hydro-diplomacy must be tailored to the unique characteristics of its implementing parties, as well as to the nature of the river basin and the communities involved”, says Mark Smith, Director IUCN Global Water Programme.

Water Governance: “With more than 270 trans-boundary rivers and lakes worldwide, the UN has rightly recognized the importance of good water governance by dedicating 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation. Hydro-diplomacy has a tremendous role to play in this context and goes well beyond the science of water management, by involving sovereignty, political security and economic considerations”, says Alejandro Iza, Director IUCN Environmental Law Centre.


Aban Marker Kabraji, Regional Director, IUCN Asia
Dr. Alejandro Iza, Director, IUCN Environmental Law Centre
Ganesh Pangare, Head IUCN Asia Water Programme
Mark Smith, Director IUCN Global Water Programme

The hydro-diplomacy conference is an initiative of the IUCN Global Water Programme, held in collaboration with and support from IUCN’s ‘Ecosystems for Life: A Bangladesh-India Initiative’, ‘Mekong Water Dialogues’ and ‘Building River Dialogue and Governance’ (BRIDGE) projects.

Press  Materials and Events
#    Media Advisory: Tuesday 9 October
#    Press Conference: Wednesday 31 October
#    Press Release: Wednesday 31 October

About IUCN
IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. IUCN works on biodiversity, ecosystem services, climate change, energy, human livelihoods and greening the world economy by supporting scientific research, managing field projects all over the world, and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice. www.iucn.orgwww.iucn.org/water; www.waterandnature.org

About Building River Dialogue and Governance (BRIDGE) Project
The BRIDGE (Building River Dialogue and Governance) Project aims to build water governance capacities through learning, demonstration, leadership, and consensus-building, in particular in trans-boundary river basins. The BRIDGE Project is financed by the Water Diplomacy Programme of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC). For more details please visit: www.iucn.org/asia_water

About Ecosystems for Life: A Bangladesh-India Initiative
Ecosystems for Life: A Bangladesh–India Initiative (E4L) is a unique attempt to create spaces for research and dialogue on matters that are critical to the people of the region. Millions of people in the Bangladesh-India sub region are dependent on the three major river systems – Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna. It is envisaged that an understanding of trans-boundary ecosystems in a basin context can help create opportunities for interventions on human well being, the environment and conservation. The project is supported by Embassy of Kingdom of Netherlands, Dhaka, Bangladesh. For more details please visit: www.iucn.org/E4L

About Mekong Water Dialogue
The Mekong Water Dialogues is coordinated and facilitated by IUCN and supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. It was initiated to work with countries of the Mekong Region - Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam - to improve water governance by facilitating transparent and inclusive decision-making to improve livelihood security, human and ecosystem health. For more details, please visit: www.iucn.org/asia/mekong_dialogues

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