The Middle East as a region does not need any help fueling conflicts. Unfortunately, it does that pretty well on its own.
Which is why the future threat of water scarcity in the region is not only an environmental concern, but a scary political scenario as well. Water scarcity in a geographic area notorious for lack of cooperation could easily develop into a water war.
But not everyone sees this problem as a recipe for violence. Some see it as an opportunity for peace.
Enter the idea of hydro-diplomacy.
Fadi Comair, the Director General of the Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW) in Lebanon recently wrote a book on the subject titled “Water Management and Hydro-Diplomacy in the Middle East” which suggests that the waters of the Jordan River Basin should be equitably managed by a single, multinational water authority.
Comair concluded his book with optimism, writing that since water is a mutual necessity that can foster greater cooperation, it “will then be the force of understanding for the application of a ‘peace culture’ in the Middle East.”
Professor Hussein Amery from the Colorado School of Mines in the United States and Professor Aaron Wolf from Oregon State University are also hopeful about the possibilities for hydro-diplomacy and jointly published a book titled “Water in the Middle East: A Geography of Peace” (2000).
The dedication in that book summarizes their positive outlook and the authors’ personal hopes as reflected in their joint project: “To our children, Hisham and Yardena, Laila and Eitan, in the hopes that the day will come soon when they can picnic on the banks of the Litani, then spend the afternoon boating on the Sea of Galilee.”
Couldn’t have said it any better.
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