Blue Peace Bulletin - "Water And Violence: Interview With Danilo Turk"

10 Sep 2019 by OOSKAnews Correspondent

The Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace was launched in 2015 with the task of developing a set of proposals aimed at strengthening the global framework to prevent and resolve water-related conflicts, facilitating the use of water as an important factor of building peace and enhancing the relevance of water issues in national and global policy making. The Panel submitted its Report “A Matter of Survival” to the United Nations and the international community in September 2017.

On the second anniversary of the release of the report, the September issue of Mumbai think tank Strategic Foresight Group's (SFG) "Blue Peace Bulletin" carries an interview with Danilo Turk, Chairman of the Panel and former President of Slovenia, on various aspects of the Panel’s recommendation on protecting water resources from violent conflicts.

Describing the achievements that he has seen post the recommendations of the GHLP and next concrete measures he would propose towards protection of water resources, Turk says:

"The report has helped in raising the awareness about the global drama of water.

This was clearly visible last year in all the international events related to water and in particular at the High Level Political Forum of the UN. That Forum discussed water as a central element of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Agenda 2030. The International Decade of Water Action started by the UN General Assembly in March 2018 is also a result of the same awareness. This awareness raising has to continue and intensify. At the same time, one has to understand that international water cooperation belongs to those issues that are easier to discuss than to do. So, the practical policies still leave much to be desired. I hope that the EU water diplomacy will provide a further push forward. Financing of trans-boundary water projects represents another area where further progress is much needed and possible...My friends in the Geneva Water Hub are engaged in an in depth research on the ways to mobilize financial resources for trans-boundary water projects. The work on the Blue Fund for the Congo River is continuing. And there is progress in the building of the Global Observatory on Water and Peace as a network of actors in this domain. Progress has been made in West Africa, the Middle East and in the Americas. So, in short, we are in the midst of the process. We see the seeds planted by the Global High Level Panel on Water and Peace producing the first shoots and we can hope for a good growth and, eventually, a good harvest".


Further Reading: Other SFG “Blue Peace Bulletins” can be DOWNLOADED HERE

“Water and Violence: Yemen”, released January 2019:

In “Water and Violence: Yemen”, Strategic Foresight Group examines the issue of protecting water in Yemen.

“Water and Violence: Ukraine”, released February 2019:

Strategic Foresight Group’s “Water and Violence: Ukraine”examines the prospects of securing critical water infrastructure in Donbass? What can be done by the relevant actors and the international community?

“The Middle East Blue Strike List”, released March 2019:

This “Middle East Blue Strike List” Bulletin provides details of 51 attacks that have taken place between 2012 and 2018 in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. The attacks are categorized by Strategic Foresight Group into three types, either “Direct Target”, “Weapon” or “Indirect Target”, based on the kind of attack.

“Water and Violence: Mali”, released April 2019

Strategic Foresight Group's "Water and Violence: Mali" describes how, while Mali’s water infrastructure is yet to be used as a tool of violence during the on-going conflict, that conflict has had an impact on access to water leading to constant clashes between ethnic groups in the country.

"Water and Violence: Somalia", released May 2019

In the drought and conflict-stricken country of Somalia, water is often indiscriminately targeted or used as a weapon of war primarily by Al-Shabaab. Destruction of water infrastructure, blocking of access to rivers and other water sources, poisoning of wells of both civilians and peacekeepers are among tactics deployed by the terror group. “Water and Conflict: Somalia” argues for a holistic and coordinated response by the Somalian government, key countries such as Ethiopia, regional actors like the African Union and the AMISOM peacekeeping forces could go a long way in helping the nation grapple with their water woes and protecting their dwindling resources.

“Blue Peace Bulletin: Regional Water Protection Frameworks", released June 2019

There are a plethora of legal instruments including the Geneva Conventions that address the issue of protection of water resources especially during armed conflicts. However, implementation is relegated to the realm of domestic polices of state parties. The protection of water resources and related infrastructure more often than not require collective, regional or basin level measures by states. This Blue Peace Bulleting is therefore an attempt to lay down guidelines that states can adopt towards cooperative and collective security measures to protect water resources and infrastructure against acts of violence by terror groups or during international and non-international armed conflicts.

"Blue Peace Bulletin - - Protection Of Water: Local Solutions", released July 2019

This Bulletin analyzes the positive impact of traditional conflict resolutions mechanisms in order to understand the manner in which similar local solutions can be adopted to prevent or curb other localized disputes, describing instances where people have had faith in traditional means of conflict resolution over water related disputes as compared to established international practices, outlining circumstances where traditional means of conflict resolution may be favored.

"Water and Violence: The Euphrates", released August 2019

The August Bulletin examines the region around the Euphrates River and the possible role that it could play in finding a future solution in Syria.