Early Career and Young Professionals –
Transboundary Water Governance in the Arab World
26 January 2021
This webinar, brought by IWRA’s Early Career and Young Professionals Task Force, focused on “Transboundary Water Governance in the Arab World”.
Distinguished panellists discussed the complex situation of transboundary water resources and their governance, particularly in the Arab World. They highlighted ways that populations and states in this area can become dependent on these resources. The issue of the Nile, where the country’s who contribute the most water to the river have not historically been heavy users, was first showcased. This creates conflict and resolving this concern has been difficult. The panellists considered that the shareholders need to find mutually beneficial solutions.
The case of the Euphrates river, the longer river in Western Asia, was also presented. The river has a declining flow, both for environmental drivers including climate change but also poor governance. This requires that each riparian addresses their domestic water infrastructure and governance – requiring both financial and political support.
Moreover, panellists focused on the utility of legal frameworks and instruments for the management of water resources. There are a number of rationales for the development of such frameworks – for example, a unified vision for the region and to support gaps in local technical and human resources. However, is it not clear if these potential frameworks would be sufficient to bridge existing differences or would be substantial improvements over existing instruments. The panellists suggested that potential instruments should focus on surface waters but be adaptable for aquifers.
Finally, other presentations considered water diplomacy in the context of the lower Jordan river shared between this country and Palestine. While there is no multilateral agreement on the use of the river, there are a number of references to this water, such as the Oslo Accords. However, as Palestine is not a party on this Accord, it has largely been excluded from these agreements, where extra legal actions were taken as well as protests. Without institutional support, it was agreed, diplomacy happens in alternative states or places, which can be insufficient sometimes.
Overall, the panel concluded that, throughout the region, regardless of the specific transboundary resource, there are pressing concerns and require work to develop frameworks and change to existing mindsets for more sustainable water management.
With over 250 registered attendees, this IWRA Early Career and Young Professionals Task Force webinar on “Transboundary Water Governance in the Arab World” webinar was a very successful event. The Association thanks its panellists and the moderator for their participation and engagement: Emilie Broek, Project Manager, Youth for the Rhine & Coordinator, NL IHP-HWRP Committee Secretariat; Rasha Hassan, Postgraduate Student, Water and Coastal Management UNIBO, University of the Algrave; Imad Antoine Ibrahim, Research Assistant/ Research Associate, Qatar University; Natasha Westheimer, Independent Expert, Israeli-Palestinian Water Management; and, the moderator, Bassel Daher, Assistant Research Scientist, Texas A&M Energy. This webinar was presented by Scott McKenzie, PhD Candidate, University of British Columbia.
Click on the presentations below to access them:
- The Nile Has Got Bread for Everyone
- Addressing the Complex Context Behind the Drying Up of the Euphrates River
- Draft Legal Framework for Shared Water Resources in the Arab World: Is it Really Needed?
- Water Diplomacy in the Jordan River Basin