White Paper on Water Diplomacy in the Middle East Reveals Key Insights

A comprehensive White Paper authored by Dr. Marwan Alraggad, alongside Mahmoud Tabakshalli, delves into the critical challenges and opportunities in water diplomacy within the Middle East. The paper, supported by esteemed water diplomacy experts including Prof. Dr. Ahmet Mete Saatçı, Eng. Maysoon Zoubi, and Prof. Dr. Elias Salameh, was funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) as part of the Blue Peace initiative in the Middle East (BPME).

The paper highlights the escalating stress on transboundary water basins across the Middle East, exacerbated by disagreements among countries and sectors. This stress threatens water supply across communities and regions, calling for urgent solutions. The Blue Peace Middle East Initiative, founded in 2011, aims to transform water from a source of conflict into a tool for cooperation and peace. Through Track II diplomacy, the initiative has achieved significant milestones, including the establishment of the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace (GHLP) and the creation of the Blue Peace Index by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Despite these efforts, challenges persist, particularly in transboundary water cooperation and data exchange among riparian countries. The paper emphasizes the need for a hybrid approach of Track I and Track II diplomacy, labeled as Track 1.5, to build upon the existing Blue Peace structure. The initiative's three-tier structure, chaired by HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, could be further optimized with specific working groups. Additionally, the paper recommends creating confidence-building tools, such as joint projects and disaster risk reduction plans, to enhance regional cooperation.

The White Paper concludes with a call for cooperation and coordination among countries, advocating for an inclusive dialogue that involves all relevant stakeholders. By addressing these challenges and implementing the suggested recommendations, the region can move towards achieving water peace and sustainable management of this invaluable resource.

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