Distance learning course on International Water Law and the Law of Transboundary Aquifers

The Geneva Water Hub’s Platform for International Water Law in collaboration with DiploFoundation, have the pleasure to launch the second edition of its Distance learning Course on International Water Law and the Law of Transboundary Aquifers.



Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace - Secretariat

In September 2017, the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace launched the final recommendation Report in Geneva and in New York. The Report was then presented at the 2018 World Water Forum in Brasília, 18-23 March 2018. The Geneva Water Hub acted as Secretariat of the Panel. The Strategic Foresight Group, a think tank based in Mumbai, supported the work of the Panel.


Publication of the book "Maintien de la paix et de la sécurité internationales et la gestion des ressources en eau"

The book "Maintien de la paix et de la sécurité internationales et la gestion des ressources en eau" edited by Noura Kridis, is the result of a Workshop organised by the Faculty of legal, political and social sciences of Tunis, in collaboration with the Platform for International Water Law of the Faculty of Law and the Geneva Water Hub. The event was held in February 2016.


Summer School in Water Governance: Frameworks and Negotiations

The Geneva Water Hub is leading the organisation of the University of Geneva Summer School in Water Governance. If you are a professional acting at strategic levels and aiming to develop analytical skills on water governance processes, please check out this oportunity. The next edition will take place in June 2019.


Webinars in International Water Law

As part of the 2016 and 2017 editions of the online course on “International Water Law and the Law of Transboundary Aquifers”, the Platform for International Water Law of the Geneva Water Hub, in collaboration with DiploFoundation, organized a series of webinars. International experts from different disciplines, including law, political science and natural sciences, participated in these webinars.


Water Talks Series n°4 - Prof. A. Wolf

Aaron T. Wolf is a professor of geography in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University, USA, whose research and teaching focus is on the interaction between water science and water policy, particularly as related to conflict prevention and transformation. A trained mediator / facilitator, he directs the Program in Water Conflict Management and Transformation, through which he has offered workshops, facilitations, and mediation in basins throughout the world.  He is the author, most recently, of The Spirit of Dialogue: Lessons from Faith Traditions in Transforming Conflict.


Policy Brief n°7 - Community management of rural water supply in Malawi: part of the sustainability problem, not the solution

Community management has been seen since the 1990s as the key to ensuring clean water supply in rural villages in low-income countries. Community management approach is ‘the idea that communities should operate and maintain their
own water supply systems’ (Schouten and Moriarty, 2003). The core of the community management model is the Water Point Committee, typically a group of 6 to 10 villagers elected or otherwise delegated by their community to take responsibility for a water point such as a borehole with handpump, a protected spring, or a gravity-fed tap.


"A Matter of Survival"

The Geneva Water Hub, as Secretariat of the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace, is proud to present “A Matter of Survival”, the final recommendation Report of the Panel. The Report was officially launched and presented to the public in Geneva on 14 September 2017. The recommendations were also presented in New York City on 18 September 2017, during a Working Ministerial Dinner entitled "Water cooperation as a tool for conflict prevention". Speakers included H.E.


Palgrave Studies in Water Governance

The Geneva Water Hub is proudly coordinating and co-branding with Palgrave-Macmillan publisher the new series “Palgrave Studies in Water Governance”. Looking at the issues of water governance through the perspective of the social sciences, books in the Palgrave Series in Water Governance take a global perspective on one of the key challenges facing society today: the sustainable development of water resources and services for all.


Water Talks Series n°4 - Dr. F. Farinosi

Fabio Farinosi is scientific officer at the EC Joint Research Center in charge of research on socioeconomic and bio-physical dynamics in water related issues. He holds a PhD in science and management of climate change and a MSc in environmental economics. He worked extensively on the assessment of the impacts of deforestation and climate change on water resources in the Amazon, with focus on the consequences for agriculture and hydropower generation in Brazil. Prior to this, he worked as researcher in environmental economics, natural resource management, and disaster risk reduction at research institutions in Europe and Asia.


Water Talks Series n°4 - Prof. T. Bernauer

Thomas Bernauer is a professor of political science at ETH Zurich. His research group is located at ETH Zurich’s Center for Comparative and International Studies (CIS) and the Institute of Science, Technology and Policy (ISTP). His research and teaching focuses primarily on international environmental, trade, and technology policy. In 2005, he received the Don K. Price Award of the American Political Science Association for his book “Genes, Trade and Regulation” (Princeton University Press, 2003), and in 2012 an ERC Advanced Grant for survey and experimental research on the sources of legitimacy in global environmental governance. Since 2015, he is the founding director of ETH Zurich’s Institute of Science, Technology and Policy (ISTP).


"Network Governance and Conflict Resolution Between Domains, Sectors and Levels in Vietnam’s Urban Water Management"

Dr Fischer explains, for example, how the water sanitation situation has generally improved in Vietnam over the last decades, however, waste water treatment plants are constructed but do not work properly and faecal sludge management (FSM) is newly regulated, but poorly and not yet implemented.


"Negotiation, Tinkering and Bricolage: Analysing Strategies in Everyday Agricultural Water Politics"

Dr Kemerink-Seyoum attempts to identify and shed light on spaces of negation, tinkering and bricolage in everyday agricultural water use. Such spaces offer an interesting opportunity to contribute to theories on human agency and in particular how objects, such as the water itself, water infrastructure or water legislation, co-shape human-technology-nature relations. Furthermore, a better recognition and explicit nurturing of such spaces can support alternative ways for reconciling conflicts over water.


Policy Brief n°6 - Everyday Politics of Water: From Water Reform Policies to Water Resource Configurations in Rural Africa.

Often to the disappointment of policy makers, water flows in agriculture seldom follow policy directives. Especially given the notoriously capricious nature of water, relatively little is known what happens between government's policies on paper and everyday water management practices within rural waterscapes. This paper zooms in on this ‘grey’ area, in a concerted attempt to identify and shed light on spaces of negation, tinkering and bricolage and how this affect the implementation of agricultural water policies.


Bibliography - “Participatory Water Governance in Africa: Community Management of Rural Water Supply”

This bibliography presents short summaries of some of the key publications (~1990-2016) on Participatory Water Governance in Africa. The primary focus is on community management of rural water supply for domestic use, but some sources that focus on urban water supply, irrigation, and integrated water resource management (IWRM) have been included where they contribute important insights.  Sources are broadly grouped thematically and by date.


The Geneva Water Hub MOOC offer

The Geneva Water Hub is proud to co-organize three massive open online courses (MOOCs) now available on the Coursera platform.


MOOC n°3 - International Water Law

The MOOC on International Water Law is now available in English!

Water scarcity, climate change, a growing population, the increasing demand on hydropower and the consequences of environmental degradation all lead to more frequent transboundary impacts. These international effects, combined with the consumptive nature of certain water uses, make agreements between States on the utilisation of shared water resources necessary. Otherwise, the multiple demands on, and the uneven distribution of, freshwater across regions can lead to tensions and disputes. This topic, which dominates current political and economic discourse, affects everyone who is passionate about, or who wishes to shape, our planet’s future.


MOOC n°2 - Ecosystem Services: A Method for Sustainable Development

The Geneva Water Hub is proud to co-organise MOOC n°2 - Ecosystem Services: A Method for Sustainable Development. It strengthens the Geneva Water Hub’s offer in free open online courses alongside the one on Water Management and Policy and the planned one on International Water Law (March 2017).


Bibliography - "Everyday Politics in Agricultural Water Management"

Following is a selection of major peer-reviewed contributions that deal with water governance issues. It gives a specific insight into everyday politics within the agricultural water management realm. A brief comment introduces each reference to facilitate users’ reading.


Water Talks Series n°3 - Dr. Alan Nicol

Dr. Alan Nicol is a development professional specializing in the interface between water resources management and development. He is a political scientist by background and has more than 20 years of experience in the Nile basin, including working, researching and consulting for a range of national, regional and international organizations.


Water Talks Series n°3 - Prof. David Blanchon

Le parcours de recherche de Prof. David Blanchon s’inscrit dans le champ de la géographie environnementale, autour des questions de la gestion de l’eau, dans une approche qui s’intéresse tout autant aux problèmes relevant traditionnellement de la géographie « physique » (comme la géomorphologie fluviale) que de la géographie « humaine », comme les politiques de développement ou la gestion de l’eau en milieu urbain.


Water Talks Series n°3 - Prof. Jérémy Lucchetti

Prof. Jérémy Laurent-Lucchetti uses the tools of applied microeconomic to investigate topics related to political economy, environmental economics and development economics. After his PhD from the University of Montreal (HEC Montreal) he held a post-doc position at the University of Bern and was a visiting researcher at the Toulouse School of Economics.


Water Talks Series n°2 - Dr. Manuel Fischer

Dr. Manuel Fischer is Researcher at the Department of Environmental Social Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), and lecturer at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Bern. Dr. Fischer studies complex policymaking processes, policy networks and new institutional arrangements, with a focus on water and environmental policy.


Policy Brief n°4 - Transboundary Governance of the Senegal and Niger Rivers: Historic Analysis and Determining Factors Identification

The Senegal River Basin Development Organization (OMVS) and the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) are recognized as examples of international watercourse governance best practices. Thanks to a set of skills that goes beyond the restrictive framework of flows management, they constitute genuine agencies for economical and social development. Despite their proximity, these organisations differ as their respective path to success undergone highly contingent features. Therefore we propose to compare the evolution of governance with respect to the Senegal and Niger watercourses in order to highlight common factors that led to coordination success as well as specificities of each case. We thereby ensure the tranposability of each model.


Monthly Water Map n°3 - Governance at the Basin Level: Senegal and Niger Rivers

The Organisation pour la mise en valeur du fleuve Sénégal (OMVS) and the Autorité du bassin du Niger (ABN) are recognised for their good practices in transboundary cooperation. Both institutions are characterized by robust cooperative frameworks on political and financial dimensions, information exchange, coordination mechanisms and public participation. As highlighted by the following visuals, the proper functioning of these institutions is tributary to multiple factors, but the level of uniformity between the parties seems to be a key facilitator of effective coordination. The illustrations bring a visual insight of the differences between the Senegal and the Niger River Basins’ components and contexts.


MOOC n°1 - Water Resources Management and Policy

As of 4 Januars 2016, the "Education and Knowledge" component of the Geneva Water Hub has made the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on Water Resources Management and Policy on the Coursera platform available in English. This course is a first of a series, it is free of charge and freely accessible.

Water management nowadays faces new challenges, such as climate change or the influence of anthropogenic activities. Public or private actors in this field have to develop new competences to better manage the water cycle “at large”.

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Policy Brief n°5 - The Status of Common Facilities and Benefit Sharing in the Senegal and Niger River Basins

The Senegal River Development Organisation (Organisation pour la mise en valeur du fleuve Sénégal (OMVS) in French) and the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) have put into place specific regimes on the management and rational use of water resources. In order to concretize the concept of community of interests and right, both basin institutions have developed specific arrangements on the management of facilities and benefit sharing, taking into account the particularities of the two basins.


Bibliography - Hydropolitics

Following is a selection of major peer-reviewed contributions that deal with water governance issues. It gives a specific insight into the concept of hydropolitics. A brief comment introduces each reference to facilitate users’ reading. The concept of hydropolitics (the geopolitics of water) first emerges in a book in 1979 (Waterbury, 1979). In the 1990s and 2000s the concept was further detailed but rare definitions were provided (Elhance, 1997; Turton, 2002). In the literature, the concept was applied to analyse conflict and cooperation in several transboundary river basins mostly in the South.


Water Talks Series n°2 - Prof. Margreet Zwarteveen

Professor of Water Governance at IHE Delft and the University of Amsterdam. Approaching water governance from perspectives of equity and justice, she defines water governance as the practices of coordination and decision making between different actors around contested water distributions. She is concerned both with looking at actual water distribution practices and with analyzing the different ways in which water distributions can be regulated (through technologies, markets and institutions), justified (decision making procedures) and understood (expertise and knowledge).


Serious Games

Serious games are an educational tool aiming at developing skills or teaching formal contents through a playful interface. The following list sheds light on five easily accessible serious games, each one highlighting a specific dimension of water governance with original and relevant materials. They are mostly freely accessible, online games.


Water Talks Series n°2 - Prof. Géraldine Pflieger

Géraldine Pflieger is associated professor in urban and environmental policies at the University of Geneva (Political Sciences and International Relations Department and Institute for Environmental Sciences) and Environmental Governance and Territorial Development Hub (P/IGEDT) Director. She also heads the UNESCO Chair in Hydrolitics.


Monthly Water Map n°2 - Hydropower Along the Nile

The following visuals highlight and help to better understand the hydropower expansion along the Nile River. The main factors explaining such development in the sector are: 1) Riparian countries lack access to grid electricity although demand is increasing with rising economies and population;


Case Study n°1 - Co-evolution Between Mega-Cities’ Development and the Vulnerability to Floods: Lessons from the Yangtze and the Yellow River

This first Case Study explores interlinkages between urban development patterns and the vulnerability to floods. These co-evolution processes are illustrated by the case of two adjacent watersheds, the one of the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang) and the one of the Yellow River (Huang He).


Policy Brief n°3 - The Reconfiguration of Water Policies in Central Asia: A Reflexion on the IWRM Implementation in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan

In the framework of Political Geography of Water, this contribution examines the logics of water policies implementation in Central Asia. Reflecting on the interactions between water policies, political power, and hydraulic territories, it analyzes the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) implementation - the global water paradigm promoted by the development organizations since the mid-1990s - its logics and rationales, in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan at the basin / local level (Middle Zeravshan Valley, Uzbekistan / Arys Valley, Kazakhstan).


Water Talks Series n°2 - Prof. Frances Cleaver

Frances Cleaver if Professor of Human Geography at the University of Sheffield, UK, and her research interests focus on understanding the everyday ways that institutions work to shape the processes and outcomes of water governance, particularly at the local level. She has been developing the idea of institutional bricolage to explain why many local institutions (like waterpoint committees or water user associations) are hybrid arrangements which incorporate elements of tradition, practical norms and power relationships, as well as elements derived from bureaucratic models and state driven development.


Bibliography - Water Conflict and Cooperation

Since the beginning of the 1990s, there is a growing number of publication related to water as causal factors for armed conflicts in water scarce regions. After several publications criticizing this “water wars” literature, articles have focused on different intensity of water conflicts and on water cooperation with a very large number of articles published in the last few years. Academics and research centers, such as the Pacific Institute, use and develop these concepts but also international organizations and NGOs that try to implement water cooperation mechanisms in such conflicts.


Water Talks Series n°1 - Prof. Joyeeta Gupta

Joyeeta Gupta is professor of environment and development at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research of the University of Amsterdam and UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft. She is also a member of the Amsterdam Global Change Institute. She is editor-in-chief of International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics and is on the editorial board of journals like International Journal on Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Policy, International Journal of Water Governance.


Policy Brief n°2 - Entry into force of the Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (1997)

The entry into force of the Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (United Nations 1997 Convention) on 17 August 2014 constitutes a major milestone for water international law development.


Policy Brief n°1

Multilevel governance
International Geneva as a hub for water governance

Policy Brief n°1 - Multilevel governance: International Geneva as a Hub for Water Governance

Geneva is one of the world’s major hubs for world governance and multilateral diplomacy. With its high concentration of international organisations, non-governmental organisation and permanent missions, Geneva plays a leading role in the active governance of the world’s most pressing issues and challenges. This is represented across all sectors and water governance is no exception. Many of the principal actors who are engaged on water governance policy and cooperation, those both locally and globally focused, are situated in the Geneva area.


Bibliography - Water Security

Water security could be broadly defined as a water system that provides enough water, in terms of quantity and quality, to human or non-human users. Water security is ensured if users are safe from water access and water-related risks. This notion appears central in water governance narratives and is often linked to notions such as the water nexus and integrated water resource management (IWRM). The idea of water security initially came from practitioners, and later on academics took interest on it. The notion was already used to a great extent in 1990’s, but since 2004-2005 water security became a key notion to water governance and related publications rose sharply.


L'eau est-elle géopolitique ?

Is Water Geopolitical?

Mr Jean-Christophe Victor addresses the questions around water in the world. His approach is both quantitative – consequences of water stress, minimum management, cropping patterns, improved irrigation techniques – and qualitative. Access to water – is this a source of tension or outright war? Pollution and is this a factor in social unrest?


Water Talks Series n°1 - Dr. Jeremy Allouche

Jeremy Allouche has 14 years of experience in managing and designing projects in the fields of water governance, security and development, and international political economy analysis. He previously worked at the University of Oxford, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), ETH Lausanne, the Swiss Graduate Institute of Public administration, and at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. He has been in charge of international research projects and therefore has experience of managing large research and policy consortia.


Monthly Water Map n°1 - Geneva Water Actors

The database leading to the following visuals aims at characterizing the main actors of the “Geneva international” in the water sector. As of early October 2014, the database counts 52 actors, characterized by 88 numeric and alpha-numeric variables. The three main data sources are Internet search, semi-directed interviews and various exchanges with certain actors. This collection is not exhaustive, and is still growing, but our analysis already leads to convincing results which can be interpreted as guidelines to focus the Geneva Water Hub’s activities.




Bibliography - Hydro-hegemony

This selection is about the concept of hydro-hegemony developed in 2006 by Mark Zeitoun and Jeroen Warner. It is defined by basin scale hegemony or control over transboundary waters, consolidated by one actor. The London Water Research Group has developed and put into practice this concept. This group gathers water professionals and scholars to facilitate the analysis of transboundary water management, policy and politics. We present here the main publications on hydro-hegemony from this group.