Transboundary Water Cooperation over the Brahmaputra River: Legal Political Economy Analysis of Current and Future Potential Cooperation

The Brahmaputra River (also called Yarlung-Tsangpo in China; Jamuna in Bangladesh; and Manas River in Bhutan) is one of the largest rivers in South Asia. The river originates in the Tibetan area of China and flows through four countries, including China, Bhutan, India and Bangladesh, before reaching the sea at the Bay of Bengal. It provides an important source of livelihoods for the riparian populations, many of whom use the river for agriculture and fisheries. The river also encompasses a huge potential for hydropower electricity generation with some dams planned or already operating within China, Bhutan and India. The use of its water resources has become the source of contention between different users in some parts of the river, involving multiple jurisdictions and countries. Sharing of water resources over several jurisdictions can potentially create conflict among various actors.

Recognizing importance for water cooperation over the Brahmaputra, this report analyses key factors that affect transboundary water cooperation. It also analyses potential area of future cooperation, termed as Zone of Possible Effective Cooperation (ZOPEC). Eight cases of current cooperation action situations over the Brahmaputra river were analysed, based on field research within four riparian countries and literature review. The Multi-Track Water Diplomacy Framework was used as analytical core. The research results were validated through a stakeholder workshop. With inputs from riparian stakeholders, the research explored ZOPEC for the Brahmaputra River.

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Transboundary Water Cooperation over the Brahmaputra River: Legal Political Economy Analysis of Current and Future Potential Cooperation (*pdf)

Transboundary Water Cooperation over the lower part of the Jordan River Basin: Legal Political Economy Analysis of Current and Future Potential Cooperation

Water conflict and cooperation surrounding riparian countries among the Jordan River has been one of the most contentious issues in the Middle East, at times leading to the use of military force. This is particularly true in the lower part of the Jordan River Basin, where there has been a shift in territory and power, closely linked to the management of, and contention over, water. Access to clean and sufficient water is critical in the Middle East, not only for human health, the environment and economic development, but also for establishing stability and sustaining peace.

While there are many studies analysing current water contention over the lower part of the Jordan River, there is a gap in a comprehensive analysis of factors affecting various cooperation taking place within the basin, linking analysis to future potential areas of cooperation. This report is the result of a research project aimed at filling this gap. Five key cooperation action situations that take place within the lower portion of the Jordan River basin are analysed. The analysis was conducted using a Multi-Track Water Diplomacy Framework as the core of its analysis. These analyses, along with existing proposals for possible future solutions, were used to develop the Zone of Possible Effective Cooperation (ZOPEC) for the lower part of the Jordan River Basin.

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Transboundary Water Cooperation over the lower part of the Jordan River Basin: Legal Political Economy Analysis of Current and Future Potential Cooperation (*pdf)

Multi-Track Water Diplomacy Framework: A Legal and Political Economy Analysis for Advancing Cooperation over Shared Waters

The twenty first century faces challenges of water governance. In addition to challenges of providing access to water for all, multiple layers of actors from global, national, local, traditional and non-traditional sectors are expected to increase their influences over decision-making on distribution of fresh water. Access to water is an important global agenda as one of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Recognizing importance of cooperation for improved management of water resources, the ‘Water Diplomacy (WADI): Making Water Cooperation Work’ project aims to analyse the key determinants contributing to water cooperation. Multi-Track Water Diplomacy Framework was developed as an analytical tool to identify key factors that can affect past, current and future potential water cooperation. The framework uniquely allows analysis of water cooperation at multiple tracks, also allowing analysis of water cooperation vis-à-vis water-food-energy-transport nexus.

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Multi-Track Water Diplomacy Framework: A Legal and Political Economy Analysis for Advancing Cooperation over Shared Waters (*pdf)