Global Governance of Water - Human Security and Water Resources -
(in order of presentation)
|Water and Human Security
Prof. Ramesh Thakur
Water is indispensable, irreplaceable but also getting increasingly scarce. Its supply is in steep decline because global freshwater consumption has been rising at more than double the rate of population growth. Some 80 countries accounting for 40 percent of the world's population are already suffering serious water shortages. The proportion will rise to two-thirds by 2025 if present trends are not checked. The nature of water problems around the world ? water shortages, water pollution, water conflicts and so on - impact upon the well being of billions of people and in many situations it undercuts human security. In such circumstances, water becomes a security, environmental and governance problem.
The talk on water and human security will firstly address the issue of human security and explain how it is different from traditional concept of security such as national security. For instance, a country would not tolerate thousands of its citizens being killed every year by a foreign army. Why should the deadly effects of air and water-borne toxins be treated differently?
The reformulation of national into human security is simple, yet has profound consequences for how we see the world, how we organize our political affairs, how we make choices in public and foreign policy, and how we relate to fellow human beings from many different countries and civilizations.
This paper lies at the intersection of two trends in international discourse: the rise of environmental consciousness and the conceptual broadening of security studies. Against this backdrop, I will discuss the different meanings of environmental security; highlight the water and conflict dimension; and, finally elaborate on the linkages between water and human security.
I will conclude by pointing out that while there are indeed different kinds of problems in the developed countries as compared to the developing countries, neither group is immune to the consequences of environmental damage caused by the other. The need for global governance in addressing the problem of water and human security in our times is more pressing than ever.
|An Adaptive Management Approach to TIA for International Waters
Carl Bruch, Esq.
Transboundary impact assessment (TIA) seeks to improve decisions by providing processes for informed and participatory decisionmaking. While international law, policies, and institutions increasingly require TIAs (and particularly transboundary environmental impact assessments), little attention has been paid to determining whether the assessments accurately predict the potential impacts of a project.
Adaptive management, including its environmental corollary of adaptive ecosystem management, provides a conceptual framework for improving TIA methodologies. Adaptive management recognizes that in complex and nonlinear natural and social systems, such as the context presented by international waters, it is impossible to have sufficient information to make a final decision. Instead, an incremental and provisional approach is necessary.
Pursuing an adaptive management approach to TIA for international waters has two major implications. First, the TIA methodology must be regarded as provisional. As experience is gained using TIA, it is necessary to evaluate the lessons learned to improve the TIA methodology for future TIAs. Through this iterative approach, TIAs may be improved. The second major implication is that the assessments and mitigation measures are necessarily provisional. As a result of these two aspects, ongoing monitoring is essential. It not only provides a basis for comparing predicted with actual impacts (thus informing the subsequent improvement of TIA methodology), but it also can inform project proponents, financial supporters, and regulatory authorities as to whether further actions may be necessary.
As a first step toward improving TIA methodologies pertaining to international waters, it is necessary to compare impacts predicted by TIAs with the actual impacts. Nakayama and others have started to compare predicted and actual impacts for domestic projects, highlighting lessons learned about environmental impact assessment (EIA). Similar efforts are necessary for TIA to highlight areas where TIA methodologies are fairly accurate, as well as areas that require further improvement.
This presentation considers two general aspects of TIAs that could be examined: the substantive analytic predictions (and comparing those with the actual impacts) and the TIA processes and procedures. Potential indicators for each aspect are suggested to stimulate discussion, as well as general considerations for the comparison.
Global Governance of Water and the Blue Revolution - Can we achieve better outcomes from land and water policies?
Prof. Ian Calder
Co-authors: Charles Batchelor, Gavin Quibell, Ashvin Gosain, Graham Jewitt, Jan Bosch, Andy Large, Jaime Amezaga, Rob Hope, Phil James, Ellie Simpson, James Garratt, Robin Bailey & Celia Kirby
Forest, land and water policy instruments are being developed throughout the world to improve water regimes, environments and poor people's livelihoods. Sadly, the implementation of these policies in development programmes often is having the opposite effects.
Typically forest, land and water policies in developing nations aim at maximising pro-poor benefits but generally do not pay much attention to the impacts on water availability. The practical upshot is that changes in land use, which may be promoted as part of watershed development programmes or for carbon credits, may actually reduce the access to water of vulnerable groups. In arid areas, where water is already scarce, it is not unusual for good quality water to be used solely for productive uses (e.g. irrigation or forestry) even though the basic human needs requirements of vulnerable groups are not being met fully.
Large-scale afforestation is being promoted in China under the Sloping Lands Conversion Programme and in India, within watershed development projects. Payments for Environmental Services and Clean Development Mechanisms schemes are promoting forestry activities in many countries. By contrast, in South Africa, the Working for Water Programme, together with Stream Flow Reduction Activity, Allocation Equity and Green Water schemes aim to mitigate adverse impacts of land use change (often in connection with fast growing plantation trees), Figure 1. Although these programmes can and do bring significant benefits, poor planning along with the misguided belief that these interventions are entirely benign all too frequently result in a situation where the benefits of these projects are being captured by elite social groups at the expense of the poor and/or environmental sustainability.
Reduced water availability tends to have its greatest impact on the most vulnerable sectors of society. If progress is to be made towards improving the access of the poor and vulnerable to safe domestic water supplies and towards meeting the other Millennium Development Goals, integrated approaches to land and water resource planning and management must be adopted. These approaches need to be based on stakeholder dialogue, sound management principles and good science.
This paper discusses the social impact and the problems associated with many current watershed development projects. It calls for the promotion of an improved framework for implementing the "Blue Revolution" which both helps "bridge" the gap between the research and policy communities and takes account of new policy developments in relation to "green" water and "allocation equity".
Global systems and regional water security: staple food production, trade and development
Prof. Tony Allan
The purpose of the paper will be to demonstrate that there are a number of economic processes that have the capacity to ameliorate local water scarcity. A number of arid and semi-arid regions and economies encountered water scarcity in the past thirty years. Many more will encounter water scarcity in the next three decades. The analysis will review briefly three ameliorating processes - first, the global role of virtual water in water scarce regions, secondly, the impact of socio-economic development on water management options and thirdly, the cultural specificity of water demand management policies. All three processes have the characteristics of being economically invisible and politically silent in the easily politicised management of water. Their impacts, however, are determining with respect to solving local water deficits.
The main focus of the paper will on the extent to which virtual water in trade has successfully met the past and current needs of water deficit regions. There will be an attempt to evaluate the role of virtual water in meeting the future needs of water scarce regions during the demographic transition of the twenty first century.
It will be shown that the water, food and trade nexus is not easy to model because of the dynamics of the political economies in the North and the South. Water sector policy-making is subject to evolving discourses which can easily de-emphasise the underlying environmental and economic fundamentals. The paper will conclude that invisible and silent virtual water will provide the food water for water scarce regions. Its invisibility and silence will, however, have the effect of attenuating the pace of water policy reform with respect to water use efficiency and the consideration of the environmental services provided by water. A range of demographic, economic, social and political theory will be used to frame the discussion.
The paper will conclude with a brief discussion of the relevance of the role of the above processes in the Tigris-Euphrates region.
|Overview of the Euphrates/Tigris River Basin Management Issue
Prof. Mitsuna Kobayashi
Of the annual flow of 49 billion m3 of the Tigris River, 52% originates in the southeastern part of Turkey, while 48% come from northeastern Iraq, and the most of the river course lies in the territory of the latter country. The Tigris headwaters in Turkey are located in the remote border region where traditionally there had been no large-scale development activities. As a result, Iraq has enjoyed the use of most of the Tigris water till date. However, in recent years Turkey has started a large project (GAP Project) in this Kurdish-dominant region, in order to develop hydropower and irrigation for agriculture. As for the Euphrates River, 89% of its annual flow of 35 billion m3 comes from eastern Turkey and 11% from northern Syria. The river flows through the plain of Syria and goes into Iraqi desert before reaching the sea. Turkey constructed three major dams in the upper basin of the Euphrates, the total capacity of which amounts to 46.8 billion m3. With these dams which can remain filled over many years, Turkey as an upstream country stands in an advantageous position among the basin countries. In the past these three basin countries held negotiations regarding guaranteed quantities of water discharge from Turkey to Syria and Syria to Iraq. However, so far they have failed to come to any lasting agreement over the criteria of water allocation, measures to be taken in the time of drought and cost sharing. Thus the issue of water sharing of this river basin remains unsolved on their political agenda. Syria and Iraq insist that water should be allocated according to the already vested water right which in turn should be attributed to the past water demand, while Turkey claims that the right of the headwater country should be recognised to reserve the available resources within its border for the future development needs of the country. Syria also has demanded that Iraq should increase the amount of water withdrawal from the Tigris and ease its dependence on the Euphrates water. From a simple engineering viewpoint, it might appear desirable to control the water flow in the upstream region of Turkey to reduce the loss by evaporation. However, if the water is largely taken and used for agricultural development in Turkey, the discharge to the downstream countries will be significantly reduced while salinity in water and soil will increase, and thus the two downstream countries have opposed to Turkey’s hydrological development activities in the upstream region.
The water quality issue is also a major problem between the upstream and downstream countries. In arid regions substances dissolved in irrigation water inevitably accumulate in the soil, and to sustain farming activities such measures are taken as farmland drainage and drip irrigation, as well as conversion to salt-resistant crops. In order to remove salinity from the soil and reuse drained water, supply of low-salinity irrigation water is necessary. For sophisticated and efficient use of water resources in arid areas it is necessary to do desalinization treatment of water either on the draining side or on the in-taking side, but the cost for such treatment does not make the farming itself economically viable. Hence, the water quality issue as a bone of contention. Unless desalinization treatment is introduced, farmers of arid areas (of Syria and Iraq) where water use is restricted can do nothing but to move to new farmland with relatively unsaline soil and the deserted farmland keeps expanding. On the other hand, Turkey insists that it should be far more efficient in terms of agricultural productivity to allocate more water for farming in Turkey rather than investing water into the infertile desert with accumulated salt and gypsum. A number of international projects have been proposed in the past for improved water resources sharing in the Middle East. However, in reality peace and trust among countries involved need to be constructed before hoping for any viable solution.
In the lower stream of the Euphrates/Tigris river basin in the Iraqi lowland, most of the marsh has disappeared due to the decrease in floods and the marsh draining project (promoted during the era of Saddam Hussain). It is reported that hundreds of thousands of people, who used to live semi-nomad life in the marsh area, were forced to become settled farmers in vain, and eventually became refugees. Moreover, this marsh area used to be an important resting point for migratory birds, but, as the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) has expressed its concerns, the unique ecosystem of the marsh has been being rapidly deteriorated. However, the situation of today's Iraq is such that the priority has been given to improvement of basic human needs (BHN) rather than conservation of marsh ecosystem. It is the author's hope that the basin countries will strive together and reach a reasonable agreement to make the most of the water resources for the benefit of the entire region.
|Support for Environmental Management of Iraqi Marshlands - UNEP Iraqi Marshland Project
UNEP has recently launched a multi-million dollar project to support the sustainable development and management of the Iraqi Marshlands, within the framework of the UN Iraq Trust Fund. This project, funded by the Government of Japan, is being implemented by the International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) of UNEP Division on Technology, Industry, and Economics, located in Osaka and Shiga, Japan.
The project has the following immediate objectives:
1) To monitor and assess baseline characteristics of the marshland conditions, to provide up-to-date information, and to disseminate tools needed for assessment and management.
2) To build capacity of Iraqi decision makers and community representatives on marshland management, including: policy and institutional aspects, technical subjects, and analytical tools.
3) To identify environmentally sound technology (EST) options that are suitable for immediate provision of drinking water and sanitation, as well as wetland management, and to implement them on a pilot basis
4) To identify needs for additional strategy formulation and coordination for the development of longer-term marshland management plan, based on pilot results and cross-sectoral dialogue.
This presentation will first provide a brief overview on the demise of the Iraqi Marshlands, with critical problems and priority needs identified thus far. The presentation will then introduce the UNEP project, including its expected outputs and benefits. Finally, efforts towards longer-term management of the Iraqi Marshlands will be discussed.
|The Euphrates River - General Syrian Perspective
The Syrian Arab Republic which is divided hydrologically into seven water basins is facing acute water stress in five water basins. Only the Euphrates Basin and the Coastal Basin are currently in surplus of water. The high population growth, the economic development and the poor water management are the factors that are playing a crucial role in shaping the Syrian perspectives towards the Euphrates River. Historically, Syria asserted its entitlement to its water share from the Euphrates River in all negotiations with its riparian countries, namely Turkey and Iraq. However, the overuse of groundwater has attenuated the demand of water from the Euphrates River. Currently Syria perceived the Euphrates River as a panacea for the water shortages in other basins and is cultivating engineering tools for inter-basin transfer of water. Hence, creating a solution for an equitable share of the Euphrates River within the framework of the international law is a priority in the Syrian Political Agenda.
Iraqi Water Resources... The challenge and response
Prof. Mukdad. H. Ali
Iraq has a very sensitive geographical situation which characterized by low rain fall with extremely high evaporation figures in most of the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers basin. Most of the Iraqi surface water resources originate from Turkey and Iran. The long term average annual volume of Euphrates River water passing the Syrian/Iraqi border is about 23.19 BCM (97% from Turkey). The long term average annual volume of the Tigris River water passing the Turkish/Iraqi border is about 19.35 BCM while the long term average annual volume of the Tigris in Iraq reaches up to 43.95 BCM (66 % from Turkey and Iran). Findings of different mathematical models indicates that the annual volume of the Euphrates river water crossing the Syrian border will be decreased to 6.8 - 9.2 BCM with appreciable increase in their salinity after the completion and full operation of all Turkish dams within the coming 10 years. In the mean while, the annual volume of the Tigris River water discharge will remain on its expected levels .The expected new mean annual volume of water that the Iraqis will get is one third from the Euphrates River than what they are getting now, which is equal to 40 % of their basic needs to meet the demand on water resource to keep their development programs going on. However since the development programs in Iraq, almost, totally, depend on the surface water crossing the Iraqi borders, Iraq always worries now and in the future about the continuity of the river flow within both rivers throughout the Iraqi territories. For this reason Iraq desperately need to settle this issue with the neighboring countries which has lasted for more than 80 years reaching no where in their negotiations. The Iraqis need more water than what they are getting now because of the sharp increase in their development programs over the last three decades due to the sharp increase in their population (the average rate of increase in population in Iraq is equal to 3.0 %). The available land for agriculture is much more than the actually irrigated lands because of the shortage in the required amount of water for irrigations.
The on-going decline in the quantity and quality of surface water, due to many local and regional reasons, puts a real constrain on the rate of growth of the population, expansion in the industrial activities and in the agricultural practices, as well as in the domestic use of potable water in Iraq. The status of legislation, financial supports, and infrastructure impede the effective characterization and management of water resources in Iraq. The present situation put real pressure on the decision makers concerning the need for agreement with the neighboring countries to solve the disputes over the water resources, more water conservation programs, and effective regional cooperation, water resources data and experience exchange between the three countries. Thus the collaborative and cooperative manner from neighboring countries is deeply needed to achieve mutual understanding about the water issue and sincere exchanging of ideas to develop potential regional scope of communication and collaboration in the field of water resources.
The author will explain many problems concerning the water resources in Iraq, the measures taken by the Iraqis to meet their demand for the water and try to draw a picture on the recent positions taken by each of these countries during their long lasted negotiations. Finally the author would like to throw lights on many ideas and some solutions to be examined in order to achieve the needed goals in controlling the water issue in the region for the benefit of their nations and deflating the water crises in this unsettled part of the world, the Middle East.
***Last updated: 20th October 2004***