Addis Ababa University Hosts Workshop on Water Diplomacy for Peace

ADDIS ABABA – Scholars from Addis Ababa University’s Africa Center for Excellence for Water Management and the College of Natural and Computational Science convened a workshop today to observe World Water Day 2024, focusing on the theme “Leveraging Water for Peace.” The event brought to light the critical importance of water management in trans-boundary contexts, emphasizing the potential of water as a conduit for cooperation and peace among nations.

According to Ethiopian News Agency, Director of the Addis Ababa University Research Office, the global dependency on trans-boundary water sources is vast, with over 3 billion people relying on water that crosses national borders. Despite this, only a fraction of the 153 countries sharing such resources have functional cooperation arrangements. Professor Tadesse highlighted the urgent need for cross-border water cooperation, particularly in Africa where the majority of water catchments cross national boundaries and could incite conflicts if mismanaged.

The workshop underscored the critical role of water management in ensuring peace, with effective cross-border cooperation seen as a keystone for sustainable development. This approach necessitates comprehensive strategies involving measurement, information sharing, and the fostering of trust among nations sharing water resources. Professor Tadesse advocated for a holistic approach to water management that respects human rights and promotes the use of water as a stabilizing force across sectors.

Associate Professor Yacob Arsano, specializing in political science and international relations, pointed to the necessity of addressing water management not only at local and personal levels but also at political levels. He stressed the importance of national, regional, transboundary, and global water governance regimes in preventing mismanagement and protecting water resources across entire basins, citing the Nile Basin as a critical example of the challenges and opportunities in trans-boundary water management.

Professor Tileye Feyissa, Dean of the College of Natural and Computational Science, echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the imperative to address water-related issues in a manner that benefits all parties and guarantees access to safe water. With over 2 billion people globally lacking access to safe water, the situation is most dire in Africa, necessitating collaborative efforts to overcome these challenges. Professor Feyissa highlighted the importance of a cooperative, win-win approach to managing shared water resources amidst rising populations and limited resources.

The workshop at Addis Ababa University marks a significant contribution to the discourse on water diplomacy, underscoring the need for comprehensive and collaborative efforts to leverage water as a means of fostering peace and sustainable development across borders.