Navigating the COVID-19 crisis for the water and peace agenda - A white paper
The COVID-19 virus has severely impacted the functioning of the various socio-economic-political systems governing our world. The widespread “lock-down” (confinement) of billions of individuals has shed light on the degree of resilience of contemporary societies, as well as on the weaknesses of a system that we thought immutable. This external shock has undermined mechanisms that had become structuring for several decades, paving the way for identifying new ways of living, interacting, and governing, and bringing to light fragilities at different levels (from local to global). Examples of these are: the abrupt end of an economic growth supposedly ensuring stability, or the debates about the response provided by democratic and/or authoritarian systems. Finally, it is key to note the strengthening of the nationalistic isolationist rhetoric and of “deglobalisation” with a view to ensure safety as well as the loss of significant influence of the advocates of multilateralism.
Most of the dynamics mentioned above did not wait for COVID-19 to become a reality. However, the current crisis has contributed to strengthening polarized rhetoric and accentuating trends already observed.
With this in mind, the Geneva Water Hub has defined six main lines of emphasis concerning its action and relevance in the context of the current period. These lines of force offer perspectives to position the strategic agenda of the Geneva Water Hub and guide its different lines of action. They provide an opportunity to produce a common and coherent narrative to address the challenges of the water, peace, humanitarian response, and sustainability nexus.
Our reflection will not tackle the issues of drinking water supply or of sanitation and hygiene, as these issues are already discussed in detail by many bodies and organizations. While stressing the importance of basic services related to water (whether in time of crisis or not), we focus on the positioning of the Geneva Water Hub regarding “its core business”, namely water as an essential instrument for peace and cooperation. This document is likely to constantly evolve, and it will be revised depending on the evolution of the sanitation and political situation.
Read the full paper below.