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SOME ASPECTS OF THE TRANSBOUNDARY WATER RESOURCES RELATED CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Congress: 2008
Author(s): Anna Movsisyan
Anna Movsisyan, Division of Water Sciences, UNESCO, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France, phone : +33 1 45684001, e-mail: a.movsisyan@unesco.org Armine Simonyan, Millennium Challenge Account Armenia SNCO, 4 Melik-Adamyan str., Yerevan, 0010,

Keyword(s): Transboundary water resources, water management, water sharing, water conflicts
AbstractNowadays over 200 transboundary water systems exist in the world, with their basins shared by two or more riparian states. This figure increased in the end of the XX century due to the establishment of newly independent states following the breakup of the former Soviet Union. Around 40% of world's population lives and as much as 60% of population depends on these international water systems, which also includes majority of the freshwater bodies. Transboundary water disputes potentially may occur whenever demand for water is shared by any sets of interests, be they political, economic, environmental, or legal. Conflicts over shared water resources occur at various levels, starting from individual farmers up to the nations that share international waterways. Transboundary waters share certain characteristics that make their management especially complicated, most notable of which is that these basins require a more comprehensive and profound understanding of the political, environmental, economic, cultural, and social aspects of water. Within this framework, water resources, including their allocation, scarcity and quality, have been named as the factor most likely to lead to intense political pressures, while threatening the processes of sustainable development and environmental protection. Water ignores political boundaries, evades institutional classification, and eludes legal generalizations. Worldwide, water demand is increasing, groundwater level is dropping, water bodies are increasingly contaminated, as well as water supply, sewerage and treatment infrastructure is ageing. Transboundary water issues are currently considered as a priority at state, national, and international levels. Although wars over water have not occurred, there are numerous evidences showing that the lack of pure freshwater has been tied with poverty and led to intense political instability. In the paper authors have discussed the complex relationships between people with various cultural backgrounds and different political, social and environmental conditions, and their approaches toward water resources management and resoluion of disputes. Authors discussed the socio-economic, cultural, ecological and other values to be incorporated into the planning and management of water resources under conditions of water stress in order to improve cooperation and solve water-related conflicts.
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