Water management and peace promotion in the Middle East
Water as a source of peace
Since 2009, Switzerland has been involved in a new type of cooperation which combines peace promotion and the sustainable management of water resources in the Middle East. This region is
experiencing a major crisis caused by the decline in quality and the progres-sive drying up of numerous common water resources. An independent report has now stated that the sustainable management of
cross-border water resources on a political level could not only avoid natural disasters and human tragedies but could even develop into a means of promoting peace.
Moreover, water reserves and dams rarely correspond to the political frontiers drawn by human beings. The management of these resources must therefore also be a cross-border activity. With this in mind, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Political Affairs Division IV (Human Security) have launched a Swiss water initiative in the Middle East. Supported by the Swedish government, this initiative aims to transform the water crisis in the Middle East into an opportunity for the countries concerned. They will have to unite and to strengthen their peaceful links through the concerted and sustainable management of water resources. As a result, this issue is raised to the level of high politics rather than being confined to national water management organisations.
But for this blue peace to become a lasting reality, all aspects of water management (supply, pollution, cleaning, etc.) have to be dealt with in a cross-border approach.
Three meetings and a report as the basis of future cooperation
In 2009, a group of independent Indian experts, the Strategic Foresight Group (SFG), was mandated by Switzerland to reflect on this issue. With its support, a series of consultations and meetings took place in 2010 in Montreux (Switzerland), Amman (Jordan) and Sanliurfa (Turkey).
Bringing together a hundred experts and leaders from the Middle East, these consultations pave the way for future collaboration. On the basis of these discussions, they produced a report entitled The Blue Peace : Rethinking Middle East Water. This document, presented in Geneva on 10 February 2010, evaluates the main challenges facing the cross-border management of resources. In their efforts to find pragmatic solutions, they drew up a list of 10 recommendations for the short medium and long term.
Creation of a Cooperation Council for Water Resources in the Middle East
|The project in brief
FDFA / Political Affairs Division IV
Land / Region
Strategic Foresight Group
To promote peace through an innovative transnational water-management approach
Populations of Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Israel and of the Occupied Palestinian Territory
Blue Peace Report :
Total budget :650'000.- (SDC and Swedish government)
SDC : CHF 325’000.-
SDC Water initiative
Political Affairs Division IV PA4@eda.admin.ch
Additional Information and Documents
- Speech by Martin Dahinden on the launch of "The Blue Peace Report"
Download (PDF, 24 KB) : [en]
- The Blue Peace - Rethinking Middle East Water: Complete report
Download (PDF, 3128 KB) : [en]
- The Blue Peace - Rethinking Middle East Water: Highlights
Download (PDF, 280 KB) : [en]
- Report “The Blue Peace: Rethinking Middle East Water”
- Near and Middle East
Near East (Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Occupied Palestinian Territory) Yemen (Horn of Africa) ...
- Interview special
representative for the Middle East
Interview with Jean-Daniel Ruch, ambassador and special representative for the Middle East in Politi...
- Interview with water specialist
Interview with François Muenger, head of the Water Initiatives division of the SDC following the pub...