Aalto University Water & Development Research Group / European Commission Directorate General Environment / European Commission Directorate General International Cooperation and Development / European External Action Service / Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland / United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Water diplomacy: Promoting peace and equity

Wednesday 28 August | 16.00-17.30 | Room: L12

Water security is critical for all societies. Yet, growing water scarcity and changing climate makes water security increasing political, increasing tensions between both water user groups and neighboring countries. While water cooperation - in transboundary basins and other contexts - has been promoted as the main approach to ease such tensions, it is not always enough. As water cooperation builds on the parties’ willingness for collaboration, it is often inadequate approach for highly politised contexts and situations.  Water diplomacy can strengthen water cooperation and promote equitable water management in two ways: by providing diplomatic instruments for water-related settings, and by bringing water into broader (geo)political discussions. Diplomatic instruments such as negotiations, mediations and arbitrations should therefore be actively deployed to prevent water-related conflicts.  This event introduces EU’s new Council Conclusion on Water Diplomacy (2018), and discusses the possibilities that water diplomacy can bring to complement existing transboundary water cooperation mechanisms such as those under UNECE Water Convention. The event includes also practical tools and actions, and source of financing (e.g. Middle East, Africa and Central Asia) of recent diplomatic efforts for dispute resolution. The event includes keynote speeches as well as panel discussion, with sufficient time for interactive discussions.


16:00 Welcome by moderator
Seppo Rekolainen, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland  

16:05 EU’s Council Conclusion on Water Diplomacy
Maria-Del-Carmen Marques-Ruiz, EEAS  

16:15 Good practices and lessons learned in water diplomacy under the Water Convention
Sonja Koeppel, UNECE  

16:25 Role of diplomacy in building transboundary water cooperation in Western Africa
Niokhor Ndour, Ministry of Water and Sanitation, Senegal  

16:35 Small Group Discussion

16:45 Panel Discussion: How to 'do' Water Diplomacy?
Facilitator: Antti Rautavaara, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland
Maria-Del-Carmen Marques-Ruiz, EEAS 
Claudio Bacigalupi, DG DEVCO
Sonja Koeppel, UNECE 
Juan Carlos Pomareda Muñoz, Peru 
Niokhor Ndour, Ministry of Water and Sanitation, Senegal  

17:15 General Discussion with audience
Moderator Marko Keskinen Aalto University, Finland 

17:25 Summary and wrap-up by moderator

17:30 End of session