The Water, Peace and Security partnership is now completing a two-year pilot phase (2017–19) and developing a plan for scaling-up (2020–24). At the international level, the WPS partnership works on developing cutting-edge tools, raising awareness, sharing knowledge and providing training. At the country and regional levels, the WPS partnership works with stakeholders in specific high-risk areas. The WPS partnership supports stakeholders active in these areas with tools, services and advice and always partners with local stakeholders for regional engagement work.
The involvement of the WPS partnership in a specific region with high water-related security risks can come at the request of local, national or international actors active in the region. WPS involvement can come in three forms:
- Engaged role: supporting and engaging in local water-related conflict risk reduction through analysis, training, mobilisation and dialogue processes. This would be through a local presence of WPS partners or other partners that can host WPS.
- Supporting role: providing analysis, awareness-raising and training as needed by stakeholders, but without direct involvement in local dialogue processes on the ground, except on an ad hoc, auxiliary basis.
- On-demand services: WPS and its partners can be requested to provide on-demand services, such as specific analyses, training sessions, assistance in using our tools or the sharing of other expertise, in order to support processes led and implemented by others.
The first country where WPS began to engage is Mali, in the Inner Niger Delta. Here WPS works through Wetlands International and International Alert, who both have ongoing programmes in Mali. The work centres on issues of livelihood loss in the Inner Niger Delta, conflicts between different ethnic groups in the basin and the increasing presence of armed groups and jihadism. These issues are associated with reduced annual flooding of the Niger River, which local farming, fishing and herding communities rely on for their livelihoods. Annual flooding is negatively impacted by development plans that aim to increase the use of water for irrigation to expand agri-business and cash crops for export.
Activities undertaken so far by WPS in Mali:
- Development of a stakeholder analysis and an engagement strategy for Mali and discussions with various relevant stakeholders on the topic of water and security.
- Development of a water resources model of the Inner Niger Basin.
- Development of a qualitative (and preliminary quantitative) model of human responses (such as conflict and migration) to variations in inundation levels of the Inner Niger Delta. This was done through a participatory modelling workshop with stakeholders in Mali. This process also helped raise awareness and spark dialogue on human responses to water problems.
- Delivery of a water, peace and security training workshop in Mali (national level) for officials from various government ministries, embassies and civil society.
- Publication of a policy brief on the linkages between water and security in Mali.
These activities have raised awareness and sparked discussions amongst stakeholders from various ministries (national level) and local groups (local level) on the links between water and security. In the coming years, WPS intends to build on this work and further support dialogue and participatory planning to address the threats identified.
Through a collaboration between WPS and the International Organization for Migration in Iraq, a water resources and water quality model has been developed by Deltares for southern Iraq. The partners have also modelled the relationship between local hydrology and internal displacement. An online tool was developed to allow users to explore various scenarios and strategies for southern Iraq. WPS is now exploring how it can build upon this experience and expand its involvement in Iraq. As WPS partners have no presence on the ground in Iraq, our role is currently limited to supporting other stakeholders.
WPS is planning to expand its work to other regions. The choice of region depends on demand, the added value of WPS and available resources. We are looking now into opportunities in East Africa and the Horn of Africa.