Gulf Security and Regional Watercourses Management: Implications for the United Arab Emirates

Gulf Security and Regional Watercourses Management: Implications for the United Arab Emirates

  • 28 March 2004

Dr. Bertrand Charrier discussed the major challenges of
watercourses for the immediate and long-term future.
Mechanisms and institutions to manage disputes over this
precious resource could increasingly become a source of
tension – and even conflict – between states and sectors.
The Tigris-Euphrates river basin has sustained human
civilization for millennia, but in the past 50 years, it has
suffered the consequence of wars and massive infrastructure
projects have permanently altered the flow of the rivers. In
this once thriving region there are now areas, particularly
in Iraq, where more than 50 percent of people do not have
access to drinking water or proper hygiene and agricultural
systems are in ruin. Water-borne diseases, including cholera,
are endemic and the former breadbasket of Western Asia
now relies on food imports and donations. As the population
in the Tigris and Euphrates basin is growing almost as fast
as the environment is deteriorating, it is a matter of utmost
urgency that long-term solutions are found before the
water crisis causes further breakdowns in community and
regional security. The rehabilitation of Iraq’s natural water
resources must also be considered within the framework.
Any solutions should provide incentives for trans-boundary
cooperation as well as alternative societal approaches to
regional water-stress and allow for the potential role of third
party mediators. This is the only way to ensure there will be
clean water for the present generation, to preserve the river
system for the future, and to secure peace and long-term
stability in the region.

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Sunday 28 March 2004

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Sunday 28 March 2004

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