Policy Papers

Global water governance and international security

22 Feb 2017

Publication Thumb


AED 10

According to the World Economic Forum, the top five international security threats are large-scale involuntary migration, extreme weather events, failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation, interstate conflict with regional consequences and major natural catastrophes. Efforts to develop Global Water Governance (GWG) have been hindered by problems with the two existing GWG frameworks: the Nexus Approach and Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), which for several reasons do not offer an adequate GWG framework. Both the Nexus and IWRM approaches are arguably overambitious, partially because key concepts within them such as ‘development’ and ‘security’ remain vague and thus hard to operationalize. Therefore, a host of problems remain including efficiency, cooperation, water resource commodification, institutions and laws among others.

Paradoxically, the urgent need for a global governance scheme on fresh water comes when there are increased levels of uncertainty about the ability of global governance institutions to ensure security, provide accountability and address questions about their future roles. The water crisis is therefore a governance crisis.