Water and resources
Petersberg Declaration [Part One] [Part Two]
Deutsche stiffung für internationale entwicklung
German foundation for international development
Fondation allemande pour le développement international
Fundacion alemana para el desarollo internacional
lst Petersberg Round Table
International Dialogue Forum
Global Water Politics
Cooperation for Transboundary Water Management
Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Federal Foreign Office (AA)
Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation
and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
The World Bank
Development Policy Forum/DSE
In history, systems of power and control have sometimes been built on a wellplanned and centralized system of water management, not only in pharaonic Egypt, but also in India and the Near East. The availability of water, and access to its utilisation, are crucial to the economic well-being not only of individuels, but also of entire regions, and are thus the cornerstone of peaceful coexistence.
Today, water is even more important than in the past: more and more people need it. The peaceful management of global water resources must be organized. This calls for a global approach: global water politics. Water is the key natural resource for future prosperity and stabilité. At the same time, water is a scarce public good which is gaining strategic significance. Existing water shortages will be exacerbated, and new ones will arise: over the next 25 years, the number of people in countries where water is scarce will increase sevenfold. A race for water is looming. This must be managed peacefully.
Generally speaking, the most important freshwater reserves are not under the control of one single state. There are numerous conflicts of interest over water: for instance between industri~el use and private consomption, between expenditure on supply (i.e. costs) and price, between upstream and downstream riparians, between poor and rich. These conflicts of interest develop both within and between states. The actors need to reach agreement now. The actions of one player affect the situations of others, and vice versa. More efficient and harmonized water management is impérative. Thus might we steer a course into the future.
Conflicts over water use cannot be ruled out. Water must not become a catalyst of regional conflicts, but should rather be channeled as a force for regional intégration. At the same time, water presents an opportunity for closer global and regional cooperation between states. One highly positive example of a centralized approach is the integrated management of transboundary river systems. There are more than 200 transboundary river systems worldwide. They form the largest freshwater reserves. Harmonized management of these resources, through regional coopération among riparian states, is crucial to the benefit people derive from them. For some two-thirds of these systems, cooperative arrangements are already in place which are designed, implemented and monitored by river commissions,. Their success will be a key factor in resolving the water crises of the future. This Dialogue Forum will discuss some of the salient cases in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, in order to identify joint approaches. This will also take place with a view to applying those approaches to other problem regions.
The future management of freshwater reserves will also require global coordination. Commensurate with that requirement, incrcased international attention has been paid recently to the issue of global coordination. Examples include the speech made by the French President at the Special General Assembly of the United Nations on Rio +5 in june 1997, the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and the focus on water under the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD). The Federal Republic of Germany is one of the largest donors in development coopération for water management. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is currently providing some DM 7 billion in support of water projects in developing countries. This International Dialogue Forum aimed to draw-up recommandations, concerning the German Government's position within the international debate. In the established tradition of the Development Policy Forum, the meeting addressed those issues on the international agenda where an informal exchange of expériences can help identify common ground, and draw-up recommandations for further action. In this setting, the Development Policy Forum aimed primarily to provide a neutral platform for informal policy dialogue amongst leading experts and poli-cymakers.
A small distinguished group, comprising Ministers from various spheres, high-ranking policymakers, experts from research institutions, representatives of international organisations, the private sector and non-governmental organisations from all parts of the world, held discussions on the significance of transboundary water management and current problems of water scarcity. These issues were then considered in more depth in case studies. Building on that, issues of security, development, environment and public-private partnerships were then be discussed separately in consultative groups, following the case studies.The results will be further pursued with respect to German membership of the Global Water Partnership, and of international and European committees.They will be put forward at the next CSD meeting in April 1998.
Yet global coordination institutions and their mechanisms can only be effective to the extent that real progress is made in actually achieving their goals. This is the prime yardstick of success. The transboundary management of river systems is a major instrument for implementation of sustainable integrated waterresource management. The Federal Republic of germanyis able to look back on a rich and diverse body of expérience with this instrument in the context of the European intégration process, both along the Rhine, and on the Danube. Its application presupposes interdependent political action. In the first instance, this will involve actors in the region, such as governments, the population and industry. External support can then also be provided. This International Dialogue Forum proceeded on the basis of these German expériences, carefully considering their significance for other regions, and the need for German support to the integration processes in those regions. This support becomes effective when it combines development policy instruments with both security and foreign policy, and with environmental policy measures. Not least, appropriate partnerships between the public and the private sectors are required, for instance in the financing of energy projects,but also in conflicts over use involving pressure groups of the population. The International Dialogue Forum paid due regard to this interdependence of policy domains. Seen in this light, water is then no longer just the problem, but also becomes a part of the solution.
Dr. Gudrun Kochendörfer-Lucius
Development Policy Forum
Villa Borsig, Berlin
Dr. Heinz Bühler
German Foundation for
Rapporteurs: Stephen Lintner, World Bank Manuel Schiffler, DIE, Berlin
The Development Policy Forum (EF) of the German Foundation for International Development (DSE) initiated an International Dialogue Forum on "Global Water Politics-Cooperation for Transboundary Water Management" at Petersberg, near Bonn, from 3 to 5 March 1998. The Forum was a collaborative effort of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); the Federal Foreign Office (AA); the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU); the World Bank; and the EF/DSE.The meeting noted the importance of Bonn as a center for international cooperation in development and environment issues. The Forum included the participation of a small distinguished group, comprising Ministers from various spheres, high ranking policy makers; experts from research institutions; and representatives of international organisations, the private sector and non-governmental organisations from all over the world. The recommandations of the Forum will be used as a reference document for German Government participation in international and European activities. It is also planned to present the recommandations at the International Conference on Water and Sustainable Development which will take place in France later this month, and at the 6th Meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development in April 1998.
2. Water-A Catalyst for Cooperation.
Recognizing that water is a key natural resource for future prosperity and stability, the Forum focused on review of mechanisms and instruments to support the use of water as a catalyst for regional cooperation rather than a source of potentiel conflict. This is especially important since the need for coopérative management of shared water resources will increase significantly with the demands from expanding populations and economic growth. It was recognized that the availability of water and access to its utilisation, is crucial to the economic well being not only of individuels, but also of entire regions. In this context the Forum examined the potentiel contributions to the cooperation process that could be provided through complementary measures to address the security, development, environment and public-private partnership aspects of international water resources management. The participants at the Forum agreed that water alone is not a source of conflict, rather that it contains the potentiel for conflict in conjonction and in interaction with other causes.
The Forum provided an opportunity for informal policy dialogue and discussion of international experience in the cooperative management of internationally shared surface and groundwater resources. Special attention was given to the provisions of the United Nations "Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses" which defines international watercourses, and in the European contexte the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) "Convention on the Protection and Use of TransboundaryWatercourses and International Lakes." The Forum was opened by addresses from the Ministers of the three cooperating German ministries, the Managing Director of the World Bank, Director of the Development Policy Forum and the Director General of the DSE. Four representative regional case studies examined the experience with river basin management of the Rhine and Danube Rivers in Europe; emerging water resources management issues in the Southern Africa Region; progress in cooperative management of the Mekong River in Southeast Asia; and entrent issues in international water management in the Middle East with a focus on the Jordan River basin.The case studies provided an opportunity for the exchange of experience by participants from a variety of regions. Four consultative groups reviewed key issues related to water and security; w~ater and development; water and environment; and water and public-private partnerships. The groups developed an integrative view of entrent conditions and emerging trends in these areas. The Minister for Water Affairs and Forestry of the Republic of South Africa, who serves as the Chairman of the World Commission on Dams, also addressed the Forum.
Recommendations for Further Actions
4. Complementary Actions.
The participants in the Forum identified a series of complementary actions which should be taken by a range of cooperating parties to promote the improved management of shared water resources, including their environmental aspects. The Forum focused on évaluation of how principles and plans could be more effectively used to provide the basis for implementable actions resulting in improved water resources management at the regional level.
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