1.5 Contribute to Cooperation and Peace through water

< Priority for Action 1.4 Back to list Priority for Action 2.1 >
Priority for Action 1.5
“Contribute to Cooperation and Peace through water”
Coordinator: UNESCO PCCP
Core group members
International Network of Basin Organisations
Organisation pour la mise en Valeur du fleuve Sénégal
Organization of American States
Global Environment Facility
Scientific-Information Center of Interstate Coordination Water Commission of Central Asia

There are approximately 276 transboundary river basins on the planet with a geographical area corresponding to almost half of the earth’s surface.  Almost three billion people in 145 countries live in this area. Furthermore, globally, groundwater is estimated to provide about 50% of current drinking water supplies, of which 274 are transboundary aquifer systems.  The number of identified transboundary aquifers is growing based on further investigations. Given these realities, there is a need to develop the conditions necessary for sound and sustainable cooperation between people, groups, and states. Moreover, the global challenges of climate change, population growth, economic development, and urbanization are straining the world’s water resources in new, less predictable ways.  These challenges may exacerbate the existing political tensions over transboundary water management, which arise due to countries’ competing requirements for development. On the other hand, water can be a catalyst for cooperation and peace between countries, regions and communities (e.g. the many international river commissions, joint infrastructure projects, and capacity-building programmes). 

Within this context, the goal of the Priority for Action 1.5 Contribute to cooperation and peace is to ensure that water and its management contributes to cooperation and peace-building at all levels, from the local to the global. PFA 1.5 is part of the World Water Council’s framework for the 6th World Water Forum within the Strategic Direction pertaining to “Well-being for all.” Within this overarching goal, PfA 1.5 is focused on transboundary cooperation, the prevention of conflicts and tensions at all levels, and the development of water security and hydro-solidarity.

PfA 1.5 is organized into three broad issue areas: legal arrangements, joint management practices and institutions, and education and capacity building. Each issue is composed of three targets aimed at enhancing cooperation and peace as related to water and its management.

The first issue, legal arrangements, is focused on enhancing and strengthening the legal framework to support cooperation regarding transboundary waters. Three goals comprise this issue; these goals seek to increase political acceptance and implementation of water law at all jurisdictional levels, to generate new agreements while enhancing existing agreements related to transboundary surface and/or groundwater, finally, to improve the cooperative mechanisms for more effective management of transboundary aquifers. 

Joint management practices and institutions have been critical for development of successful management and cooperation between and within countries. Thus, the goals of the second issue area are to increase institutional and technical capacity for sustainable management of water resources, develop pragmatic solutions to water-related issues through engagement of stakeholders at the level of the conflict, and create sustainable finance mechanisms to support transboundary institutions. 

Education and capacity building, the third issue, positively affect the achievement of all targets across sectors. The targeted audiences are government decision-makers, water and dispute-resolution professionals, civil society, educators, and students in water-related disciplines. The goals consist of the development of methods to share data and monitoring programmes, contributing toward an increase in professional training in transboundary water management and conflict resolution, and the establishment of partnerships between basin organizations to facilitate knowledge and information exchange.

TARGET TSG Coordinator(s) Regional Links*
Target 1: Increase the political acceptance and implementation of the principles of existing international, regional and local water law (i.e. principles, customary law, state practice, conventions, bilateral or multilateral agreements, significant judicial decisions and writings, etc.) in the international community International Union for Conservation of Nature
Target 2: Increase the number of new agreements and revise/enhance the quality of existing agreements related to transboundary surface and/or groundwater International Network of Water Environment Centres for the Balkans Africa
Central Asia
Target 3: By 2020, develop or improve cooperation mechanisms for joint management of transboundary aquifers considering the UNGA Resolution 63/124 on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers International Association of Hydrogeologists - Internationally Shared Aquifer Resources Management
Target 4: By 20xx, increase the number of institutions within transboundary basins and/or aquifer systems capable of ensuring sustainable management of water resources International Network of Basin Organisations
Target 5: By 20xx, in local and international conflict situation develop pragmatic solutions to water related issues through cooperation and dialogue involving the principal actors at the level of the conflict International Committee of the Red Cross Central Asia
Target 6: By 20xx, create sustainable financial mechanisms to finance transboundary water institutions Global Environment Facility
Target 7: By 20XX, develop mechanisms to share and monitor information at transboundary level especially on: (i) Scientific and social data for information systems: contribution to an online inventory and establishment of a water observatory and (ii) Indicators and guidelines for programmes monitoring the quality of cooperation and impact of the lack of access to water on cooperation and peace-building Euro-Mediterranean Water Information System Central Asia
Target 8: By 20xx, contribute to increasing the training in transboundary water management and conflict resolution of a number of key groups such as 1. Decision makers, 2. Senior and high-level water professionals, 3. Junior water professionals, 4. Media professionals and 5. Public at large UNESCO-IHE
Target 9: By 20xx, establish and support programmes of ‘peer-to-peer’ twinning between basin organizations, water centres and other concerned institutions, to foster knowledge and exchange EU Twin Basin Project
< Priority for Action 1.4 Back to list Priority for Action 2.1 >

Get involved and contribute!

Visit our Platform of Solutions to send your contribution to the relevant Target and Solutions Group.


* This column indicates when thematic and regional targets are matching and have a good potential for mutual contribution and partnership.

Bulle En

Post-Forum Highlights

The Forum outcomes

Submit your solution - solutionsforwater.org

Join our mailing list