Will tensions and disputes among states sharing international water courses and lakes turn into active conflicts? Addressing this question, the book shows that these concerns are more prominent due to the locations and underlying political dynamics of some of these large rivers and the strategic interests of major powers.

Written by a combination of leading practitioners and academics, this book shows that states are more prone to cooperate and manage their transboundary issues over the use of their common water resources through peaceful means, and the key institutions they employ are international river basin organizations (RBOs). Far from being mere technical institutions, RBOs are key mechanisms of water diplomacy with capacity and effectiveness varying on four key interrelated factors: their legal and institutional development, and the influence of their technical and strategic resources. The basins analyzed span all continents, from both developed and developing basins, including the Columbia, Great Lakes, Colorado, Senegal, Niger, Nile, Congo, Jordan, Helmand, Aral Sea, Mekong, Danube and Rhine.

Contributing to the academic discourse on transboundary water management and water conflict and cooperation, the book provides insights to policy-makers on which water diplomacy engagements can be successful, the strengths to build on and the pitfalls to avoid so that shared water resources are managed in a cooperative, sustainable and stable way.

chapter |24 pages


Do river basin organizations make a difference in water diplomacy and conflict management?
ByAnoulak Kittikhoun, Susanne Schmeier

chapter 1|24 pages

The legal role and context of river basin organizations

ByOwen McIntyre

chapter 2|23 pages

Water diplomacy and collaborative governance in the Great Lakes Basin

ByVictoria Pebbles

chapter 3|19 pages

Water diplomacy and shared resources along the United States-Mexico border

ByMaria Elena Giner, Gabriel E. Eckstein

chapter 4|17 pages

Process aspects of the development of shared waters agreements

The Columbia River Treaty
ByKim Ogren, Aaron T. Wolf

chapter 5|17 pages

International river basin organizations and benefit-sharing arrangements in the Columbia and Senegal international river basins

Past, present, and future
ByRichard Kyle Paisley, Riley T. Denoon, Marguerite de Chaisemartin

chapter 6|16 pages

The Niger Basin

Is development raising the stakes of cooperation?
ByLuca Ferrini

chapter 7|22 pages

Water diplomacy and conflict transformation in the Nile River Basin

The key role of the Nile Basin initiative over the past 20 years
ByAna Elisa Cascão, Wubalem Fekade, Malte Grossmann, Abdulkarim Seid

chapter 8|16 pages

Managing abundance

CICOS and the Congo
ByTobias von Lossow

chapter 9|22 pages

Water diplomacy in the absence of a river basin organization

A case study in Jordan, Israel, and Palestine
BySamer A. Talozi, Natasha Westheimer

chapter 10|21 pages

Water diplomacy in the Helmand River Basin

Exploring the obstacles to cooperation within the shadow of anarchy
ByMohsen Nagheeby, Alistair Rieu-Clarke

chapter 11|20 pages

Prolonging or resolving water conflicts in Central Asia?

The International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea
ByJenniver Sehring, Saghit Ibatullin

chapter 12|16 pages

The Mekong River Commission as a water diplomat

ByAnoulak Kittikhoun, Denise Michèle Staubli

chapter 13|17 pages

China in international institutions for water governance

ByLei Xie, Zha Daojiong

chapter 14|18 pages

Managing disagreements in European basins

What role for river basin organizations in water diplomacy?
BySusanne Schmeier, Ivan Zavadsky

chapter 15|10 pages


Managing tensions and sharing benefits—international rivers in conflict and cooperation
ByDavid Grey, Anoulak Kittikhoun, Susanne Schmeier