water diplomacy

A second batch of South Korean water engineers will leave for Libya later this month to help the war-torn nation restore its water supply services...."Rather than focusing on post-war reconstruction projects, it is time for us to do 'public diplomacy' to win the hearts of Libyan people."

November 7, 2011

We formed The Water Initiative (TWI) because the global water crises requires local, customized solutions. TWI co-creates customized and sustainable drinking water solutions through innovative partnerships with municipalities, businesses and local micro-entrepreneurs in developing and developed countries.

Through WaterCredit, we have explored the application of microfinance to water and sanitation needs. The potential of microfinance to democratize access to capital is paralleled by the potential of technology and social media to democratize access to information.

Laos and Myanmar...are grappling with decisions on whether to build massive hydropower dams on the two significant rivers. The projects could put fragile ecology and associated livelihoods at risk, but the dams could help the two countries reap billions of dollars by exporting the megawatts to China and Thailand, two neighbors with rapidly growing energy demand.

Scarcity of water in Asia could become a thorny issue for the region and trigger major conflicts, an expert says. To avert a water war...a cooperative Asian framework among river basin states is needed, with the aim of working toward a common ownership of shared resources. But China seems to have an aversion to such a multilateral approach to water.

Vice-President Hamid Ansari has underscored the need to be non-emotive in resolving water issues. Stressing on the need for display of “great wisdom and patience”...he said absolute positions would only create problems. “Resolving water disputes requires preventive diplomacy and regional collaborative mechanisms.''

Water is fast becoming a cause of competition and discord between countries in Asia, where per capita freshwater availability is less than half the global average. The growing water stress threatens Asia’s rapid economic growth and carries risks for investors potentially as damaging as non-performing loans, real estate bubbles and political corruption.
By having its hand on Asia’s water tap, China is therefore acquiring tremendous leverage over its neighbours’ behaviour.