Tobias Ide, Adrien Detges. 2018. International Water Cooperation and Environmental Peacemaking. Global Environmental Politics. October 2018

DOI: 10.1162/glep_a_00478

Proponents of the environmental peacemaking approach argue that environmental cooperation has the potential to improve relations between states. This is because such cooperation facilitates common problem solving, cultivates interdependence, and helps to build trust and understanding. But as of now, very few cross-case studies on environmental peacemaking exist. Furthermore, much of the available literature understands peace in negative terms as the mere absence of acute conflict. This article addresses both shortcomings by studying the impact of international water cooperation on transitions toward more peaceful interstate relations. To do so, we combine information on positive water-related interactions between states with the peace scale, a recent data set measuring the degree of positive and negative peace between states. For the period 1956–2006, we find that a higher number of positive, water-related interactions in the previous ten years makes a shift toward more peaceful interstate relations more likely. This is particularly the case for state pairs that are not in acute conflict with each other.

Tobias Ide. 2018. The Impact of Environmental Cooperation on Peacemaking: Definitions, Mechanisms, and Empirical Evidence. International Studies Review, March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/isr/viy014

The literature on environmental peacemaking claims that groups in conflict can put aside their differences and cooperate in the face of shared environmental challenges, thereby facilitating more peaceful relations between them. This study provides the first comprehensive review of the widely dispersed empirical evidence on such environment-peace links. In order to do so, it distinguishes three understandings of peace and identifies four mechanisms connecting environmental cooperation to peace. The results suggest that environmental cooperation can facilitate the absence of violence within states as well as symbolic rapprochement within and between states, although such links are strongly dependent on the presence of several contextual factors. The most relevant mechanisms connecting environmental cooperation to peace are an increase in understanding and trust and especially the build-up of institutions. By contrast, environmental peacemaking is unlikely to have an impact on substantial integration between states or groups. Based on these findings, the article offers four suggestions for future research: (i) assess the relevance of environmental cooperation vis-à-vis other (presumably less context-dependent) drivers of peacemaking, (ii) pay more attention to the mechanisms connecting environmental cooperation to peacemaking, (iii) focus on the interactions between and the different time horizons of the three understandings of peace, and (iv) study the downside of environmental peacemaking to provide a more nuanced assessment and identify further relevant contextual factors.

Selina Ho. 2017. Introduction to ‘Transboundary River Cooperation: Actors, Strategies and Impact,’ Water International 42(2):97-104. February 2017

DOI: 10.1080/02508060.2017.1279042

This special issue is a collection of analytical and empirical articles that seeks to answer two related questions: Under what conditions do riparian countries cooperate over transboundary waters, and how do various actors/stakeholders facilitate or hinder cooperation? It is widely acknowledged that both cooperation and conflict exist on a spectrum in relations among riparian states. Conflict among riparians, however, tends to grab the attention of policy makers, academics and the media more than cooperation. The aim of this special issue is to refocus the discussion on riparian cooperation, by using a range of international relations theories to explain the conditions that promote cooperation, including rationalist, institutionalist, constructivist, realist and international political economy perspectives. They were carefully selected from papers written and presented by a team of leading scholars at a workshop organized by the Centre on Asia and Globalisation, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, 21–23 May 2015.

Specifically, this special issue looks at the roles of various stakeholders or actors in promoting or hindering cooperation in transboundary river basins around the world. These stakeholders include states, at both the national and subnational levels, and non-state actors, such as international organizations, non-governmental organizations, civil society, private and state-owned enterprises, and even individuals. By focusing on the various actors involved in international river basins, we seek to understand the motivations of different actors and groups, the strategies they use to promote cooperation, and the extent of their impact on the management of international rivers. The special issue also facilitates cross-regional comparisons of transboundary rivers by drawing cases from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States. The problems of cooperation vary across regions, due to differences in geography, climate, resource endowment and economic, political and societal systems. Not only are the findings important theoretically and empirically, they also have significant policy implications: by identifying the conditions that facilitate cooperation among riparian stakeholders, the articles will help policy makers formulate policies that encourage cooperation, reduce conflict, and thus promote peace and stability among countries that share rivers.

Jacob Petersen-Perlman, Jennifer C. Veilleux, Aaron T. Wolf. 2017. International water conflict and cooperation: challenges and opportunities. Water International 42(2):1-16, January 2017

DOI: 10.1080/02508060.2017.1276041

Though awareness of the nature of water conflict and cooperation has improved over time, the likelihood of water conflicts could increase as populations continue to grow and climate change continues to manifest. This article details the nature of water conflict and water cooperation. We discuss how water conflicts can be resolved, how water can be seen as a vehicle for change between states, and future directions that can be taken in transboundary water conflict research.

Peter Michael, Jürgen Scheffran, Tobias Ide. 2016. Conflict and cooperation in the water-security nexus: a global comparative analysis of river basins under climate change. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews Water 3(4).

DOI: 10.1002/wat2.1151

Adequate fresh water availability is an important factor for human security in many parts of the world. In transboundary river basins, decreased water supply due to local environmental change and global climate change and increased water demand due to growing populations and continued economic development can aggravate water scarcity. Contrary to the claim that water scarcity may result in an increased risk of armed conflict, there is no simple relationship between freshwater availability and violent conflict. Other crucial factors need to be taken into consideration that also directly influence resource availability and personal human well‐being. In this review, we assess the scientific literature on conflict and cooperation in transboundary river systems. Most international river basins are already jointly managed by the riparians, but successful management in times of climate change necessitates the inclusion of more factors besides mere allocation schemes. On the basis of a substantial body of literature on the management of transboundary watersheds, an analytical framework of the water‐security nexus is developed that integrates the physical and socioeconomic pathways connecting water availability with conflict or cooperation. This framework is subsequently applied to two transboundary river basins—the Nile River and the Syr Darya/Amu Darya—as they represent two world regions that could become future water hot spots. An improved understanding of the developments leading to water conflicts and their interaction can help to successfully reduce the risk of water conflicts in these regions and to move toward increased cooperation among the riparians of transboundary river systems.

Karina Barquet, Päivi Lujala, Jan Ketil Rød. 2014 Transboundary conservation and militarized interstate disputes. Political Geography 42:1–11, September 2014

Advocates of transboundary conservation argue that borderlands can be a source of cooperation between neighboring states that previously engaged in conflict. It has been stated that, by opening negotiation channels based on environmental issues, jointly managed cross-border protected areas can promote and reinforce harmonious relations between contiguous states. We explore this assertion by empirically testing how transboundary protected areas (TBPAs) are related to militarized interstate disputes (MIDs) between contiguous states. Through the use of global data on protected areas and MIDs, we find that TBPAs tend to be established between countries that have previously been engaged in MIDs. We also find some evidence that TBPAs can be related to a more peaceful co-existence between neighboring countries in Africa, Middle East, and Asia.

DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2014.05.003

Ahmed Baha’ El-Deen Abukhater, Water as a catalyst for peace: Transboundary water management and conflict resolution. Routledge. January 2013

DOI: 10.4324/9780203081112

Examining international water allocation policies in different parts of the world, this book suggests that they can be used as a platform to induce cooperation over larger political issues, ultimately settling conflicts. The main premise is that water can and should be used as a catalyst for peace and cooperation rather than conflict.nbsp;nbsp; Evidence is provided to support thisnbsp;claimnbsp;through detailed case studies from the Middle East and the Lesotho Highlands in Africa. These international cases – includingnbsp;bilateral water treaties and their development and formation process and aftermathnbsp;-nbsp;are analyzed to draw conclusions about the outcomes as well as the processes by which these outcomes are achieved. It is demonstrated that the perception of a particular treaty as being equitable and fair is mainly shaped by the negotiation process used to reach certain outcomes, rather than being determined mechanistically by the quantitative allocation of water to each party.nbsp; The processes and perceptions leading to international water conflict resolutions are emphasized as key issues in advancing cooperation and robust implementation of international water treaties.nbsp;The key messages of the book are therefore relevantnbsp;to the geo-political and hydro-political aspects of water resources in the context of bilateral and multilateral conflicts, and the trans-boundary management of water resources, which contributes insights to political ecology, geo-politics, and environmental policy.