"Blue Peace": Financing Peace Through Water

BERN, Switzerland

A collaboration under the banner of the Blue Peace Movement, and in consultation with the Swiss Development Corporation, Geneva Water Hub and the United Nations Capital Development Fund among others, proposes a new approach to financing transboundary and multisector water projects.

The Blue Peace Movement arises from the recommendations of the Global High-Level Panel for Water and Peace in its assessment, “A Matter of Survival” (2017).

Blue Peace, in the context of water utilization, means achieving “equity for all users and participants through the political will to agree on multisectoral and transboundary investments and uses (including preservation) of water through an active negotiation by all interested parties based on the reality of water availability,” according to the "Blue Peace: Invest In Peace Through Water", released February 20.

The aim of the paper is to show that a new generation of financial instruments supporting multisectoral and transboundary investment plans can profit from a Blue Peace approach in terms of reduced risks for financial investors and therefore facilitate easier access to finance for transboundary water organizations and municipalities in both developed and developing countries. This in turn will activate a much needed knowledge exchange among transboundary partners as well as with external supporters, triggering a process geared towards better social inclusion, cooperation enhancement leading to peaceful societies and the establishment of sustainable and circular economies.

The Blue Peace Framework as it applies to finance is a specific recommendation from the 2017 report to use water as an entry point for transboundary cooperation: transform water from a potential source of crisis into a potential instrument of cooperation and peace through concrete actions.

Blue Peace "Masterplans"; Blue Peace "Bonds"

The suggested financing concepts deploy an innovative “Blue Peace approach” that calls for the introduction of “masterplans” for the management of water. Such masterplans would, in effect, be a multi-sectoral and trans-boundary joint investment plan. masterplans would include infrastructure investments, data, monitoring, marketing and other soft investments required for a service provision such as electricity and drinking water. “A masterplan is based on a shared ownership, pre-negotiated and approved by authorities (from all concerned countries) through an iterative process between technical and political levels, thus creating an enhanced accountability between the parties involved”.

Optimally, the report calls for the introduction of Blue Peace Bonds that would attract funding on multiple local public and private levels and would de-risk investment in any one projeject.

A Blue Peace "Index"

Also on Februay 20, the Swiss Development Corporation Global Program Water (GPW) announced a partnership with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to develop a Blue Peace Index and to support a research program to promote the idea of Blue Peace and its global movement. As a benchmarking index, the Blue Peace Index will allow measure the complexity of sustainable management of shared water resources and promotion of transboundary cooperation. A pilot version of the index is set for release in the summer of 2019.

Background Reading

On the first anniversary of the 2017 publication of the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace Report “A Matter of Survival”, OOSKAnews caught up with François Munger, Director of the Geneva Water Hub, which acts as Secretariat to the Panel. In an audio interview, Munger described the rationale for the Global High Level for Water and Peace and how the Global Panel Report “A Matter of Survival” contributes to global thinking about water, peace and security linkages.

This article has been updated to correct an error in the publication date of "A Matter of Survival". The Report was produced in September 2017, not 2016 as previously reported.

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