Global High Level Panel On Water And Peace Activities: Update

7 Nov 2019 by Staff - Water Diplomat

At October's Budapest Water Summit, the Global High Level Panel on Water and Peace (GHLPWP) gathered two years after the publication of its milestone report "A Matter of Survival"formally launched in Geneva and presented in New York at the UN General Assembly in September 2017. The event was facilitated by the Geneva Water Hub acting as the Secretariat of the Panel. Public and private side events were held.

In the closed session, Members of the Panel overwhelmingly agreed on the positive accomplishments reached since the report's publication in 2017. They acknowledged the added value of the Geneva Water Hub’s work, and its wide network of partners. They also discussed options for the design and generation of new concrete initiatives following the report's wide dissemination in new languages such as Arabic and Hungarian.

During the public session the audience benefited from a number of interventions reflecting on key achievements. Among others, the Geneva list of principles for the protection of water and water related infrastructure during armed conflicts, was presented as one of the flagship products developed upon the recommendations of the Panel. The list is today in an advanced stage of completion. It reflects the work of a wide number of eminent actors in the field under the leadership of the Geneva Water Hub.

The setup of the Global Observatory for Water and Peace (GOWP), as the most visible and mobilising initiative was the subject of intensive exchanges. The GOWP aims at, carrying on the work of the Panel and, fostering new approaches to hydrodiplomacy. Its deployment is currently unfolding in a network of organisations gathering two key competences, namely analytical skills pertaining to hydropolitics as well as a convening power to achieve progress on sensitive issues. Strong supportive statements were made towards the implementation of the GOWP at various regional levels. Institutional representatives from the Americas, Africa and the Arab region among others, voiced their political will to provide concrete help at various levels of the process.

Serigne Mbaye Thiam, Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation of Senegal, stated that his country will “spare no effort” in translating the recommendations of the Panel into realistic, achievable and concrete actions. He further emphasized the relevance of the recommendations that have been endorsed by the UN-World Bank Global High-Level Panel on Water. Senegal was elected on October 15, 2015 as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and declared its mandate (2016 to 2017) under the theme of “Water, Peace, and Security”. The country has already met the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) and is actively committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Goal 6 on water and sanitation. In March 2021, Dakar will host the 9th World Water Forum that will focus on water, security, peace and development. As a further commitment of his government to advance global water issues and, more specifically, those in Africa, the Minister declared that his country will establish and host the African node of the GOWP.


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, and 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 15 countries who co-convened the Panel were Cambodia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Estonia, France, Ghana, Hungary, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Oman, Senegal, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland with the Geneva Water Hub acting as Secretariat. The Panel was tasked with focusing on four main themes: identify legal, economic, financial and institutional mechanisms to incentivize multi-sectoral and transboundary water cooperation; examine how to cope with and prevent water-related conflicts, namely transboundary and inter-sectoral — possibly exploring potential mechanisms to promote hydro-diplomacy; promote effective implementation of the global water conventions; promote best practices in water cooperation.