International boundaries fail to divide water resources neatly. Almost 40% of the world’s people live in river basins shared by more than two countries. This represents almost half the world’s land (excluding Antarctica), and 60 per cent of the world’s fresh water.
This also suggests that these resources are best managed at the international level. There are several multilateral institutions managing shared river basins across the world. An important example is the ‘ZAMCOM Agreement,’ signed by seven countries to manage the Zambezi river waters in a coordinated, efficient and sustainable manner. The following videos capture what led to the signing of the agreement in 2004, and how it has been working out so far.
There are as many instances of conflict over transboundary waters, as cooperation. And there is much to learn from both. The following videos highlight two very different examples.
Contexts of conflict vary (international/intra-state/…), as do their intensity (political tensions/ physical violence/…). However, constructive dialogue is always the starting point for resolution.