[Answered] Evaluate the significance of international cooperation in water diplomacy for fostering regional stability and peace. Illustrate with examples the historical and contemporary relevance of water as a resource in international relations.

Introduction: Contextual Introduction

Body: Significance of water diplomacy and relevance of water as a resource.

Conclusion: Way forward

Under the ‘World Water Assessment Programme UNESCO released the 2024 edition of the flagship United Nations World Water Development Report, “Water for Prosperity and Peace” as a part of UN-Water on the occasion of World Water Day, on March 22, with the theme “Leveraging water for peace” highlighting the significance of international cooperation in water diplomacy.

Significance of water diplomacy in regional stability and peace

  • Scarcity Feeds Conflict: Since freshwater is a limited resource, rivalry for it can quickly turn into hostilities between nations, particularly those that share aquifers or rivers. Conflict is avoided by international cooperation, which guarantees equitable and sustainable water distribution.
  • Common Problems, Common Solutions: Water-related problems, such as pollution, flooding, and droughts, have no national boundaries. All stakeholders gain from cooperative efforts in flood management, infrastructure development, and water quality monitoring since they foster a sense of shared responsibility.
  • Building Trust Through Cooperation: Water diplomacy encourages communication and mutual respect among countries. Collaborating on water management fosters cooperation and communication, which improves the climate for settling other political disputes.

Historical Examples

  • A potential confrontation between India and Pakistan was avoided by the World Bank-brokered Indus Waters Treaty (1960), which outlined the rights of water sharing for the Indus River system.
  • Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan have been at odds over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River. The goal of ongoing international negotiations is to create a cooperative framework for dam operation and water sharing.

Contemporary Relevance

  • The Mekong River Commission, established by riparian countries in Southeast Asia, promotes joint water management, mitigating floods and droughts while ensuring sustainable development for all members.
  • The Middle East, a water-scarce region, is increasingly turning to water diplomacy initiatives like the Blue Peace Middle East, which utilizes water cooperation as a tool for regional peacebuilding.


The global community requires an advanced model of cross-border water governance, which advocates for fair and efficient allocation of water resources among nations that share them. While significant strides have been made over the ages in promoting peace, the looming threat of freshwater scarcity poses a grave risk to our collective welfare and stability. This imperative is particularly vital in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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