Karin Aggestam, Anna Sundell

This article analyses the nexus of technocracy-peacebuilding and its implications on water conflicts and hydropolitics. It is a conceptual exploration, which advances an interdisciplinary approach by combining theories from two distinct research fields: peacebuilding and transboundary water management. It probes the argument that synergies between water management, development and peacebuilding frequently lead to technocratic and functional solutions. As empirical case illustration, the transboundary project, the Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance (RSDSWC) is analysed regarding its peacebuilding and peace promoting potential. Three concluding remarks are drawn from the conceptual and empirical analysis. First, strong emphasis on technocratic solutions is inclined to favour supply-oriented options rather than solutions based on ethics of sustainable development and right-based distribution. Second, functional solutions to water conflicts downplay at times complex hydro-political and asymmetrical relations between adversaries. Third, wider trends of privatisation in the water sector coincide with similar developments in the field of peacebuilding where new transnational actors are gaining influence as “new peacemakers”, which are likely to have long-term consequences on power relations and the resolution of water conflict.

DOI: 10.1080/02626667.2014.999778