GENEVA WATER HUB : Commitment to water, peace and cooperation

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The mission of the Geneva Water Hub is in line with the theme of the 9th World Water Forum to be held in Dakar in 2021. A Forum that the Geneva Water Hub considers as a key and unique moment to concretely place water and peace on the global, regional and local agendas in all its dimensions (legal, financial, societal, and good national, regional and international governance). The Geneva Water Hub considers it essential to include the voice and strategic visions of local populations at the heart of debates supporting global thinking. The Geneva Water Hub will be present at the forum to carry with its partners, including the Pôle Eau de Dakar, the World Observatory for Water and Peace, which is currently being deployed.

Without fresh water, there can be no public health, no food security, no industry and no sustainable development. There is simply no life. Water is a resource unequally distributed on the planet, subject to great tension by a development that is increasingly thirsty and polluting, inefficient in its use and little aware of the importance of environmental protection. In addition, climate change is disrupting the water cycle, increasing its instability (between floods and droughts), thus becoming an additional factor that threatens food security, energy security, public health and all vital water-related services.

For several years, the WEF has positioned a water crisis as one of the major risks at the global level. Water professionals and scientists from all over the world, as well as politicians are warning that a water crisis is imminent. Water scarcity is affecting more and more countries, hindering their development possibilities and is a source of tension with neighboring countries (illustrated in particular by the tensions around the many large dams under construction). The scarcity of this resource, interacting with social, economic, environmental and governance factors, is a destabilizing factor, a source of migration and generates conflicts of use at different levels, whether cross-border or at the regional or local level. 

A global water crisis is first and foremost a crisis of governance, as UN-Water stated in 2015 in its annual report. However, water is also a powerful vector for cooperation and peace, as evidenced by the many treaties that have been signed for better water management. Basin agencies are emerging as pillars of development at the regional level. Promising models for institutionalizing cooperation around water exist, particularly with regard to transboundary basins in the West African region. 

It is with this vision that the Geneva Water Hub's commitment to water, peace and cooperation is inscribed. Secretariat of the High-Level World Panel on Water and Peace co-sponsored by 15 countries, the Geneva Water Hub, located in the heart of International Geneva, is a University of Geneva center with a global reach, collaborating with many partners in different regions. It is also at the center of the "Blue Peace" movement. In addition to its research, training, advocacy and think tank functions, the Geneva Water Hub supports the engagement of cultural actors through its Art for Water and Peace platform to carry out its mission, as illustrated by the Symphony for Water and Peace and the upcoming creation of the River Symphony which will bring the dynamic between local and regional development (supported by OMVS) in the Senegal River Basin.

Geneva Water Hub