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Third Party Mediation of International Water Disputes The experience of the Indus, Jordan, Yarmouk, Euphrates, and Tigris Rivers

Congress: 2008
Author(s):

Keyword(s): Mediating International Water Dispute; Indus River; Jordan River;
AbstractThe existing literature suggests that the presence of a third party has an important impact on the management of international river disputes. Not only does the exact impact remain vague, but there is also little systematic examination of the link between a mediator and the management of water disputes. This paper fills in the gap by arguing that the presence of a third party can possibly assist to avert a particular conflict but it cannot sustain stable cooperation. The best that a mediator can do is to contribute to the rise of unstable cooperation. This is an important contribution, because lacking a mediator states can resort to military means to manage their water disputes. To arrive at stable cooperation, however, states require an effectively designed river commission to manage water disputes as they arise. To illustrate this argument the paper draws on the role of the United State and World Bank in managing the Jordan and Indus River systems. It also uses the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers to illustrate the grave consequences of a lack of mediator to facilitate the management of water disputes.
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