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Water, War, NGOs and Environmental Peacebuilding

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Vicky Ramirez

on 26 November 2013

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Transcript of Water, War, NGOs and Environmental Peacebuilding

Water, War, NGOs & Environmental Peacebuilding and the Guarani Aquifer
Road Blocks
Mistrust from the people in Latin America towards the United States, neo-imperialism, conspiracy theories
George W Bush
Eco-millionaire Douglas Tompkins
NGO/Consulting and Investigative Mechanism

Discussion Questions
Guarani Aquifer: Water, War, NGOs and Environmental Peacebuilding
By: Vicky Ramirez and Jessica Finegan
Water and the Rise of Water War
NGOs/Environmental Peacebuilding
David Katz: Any level of conflict between parties involving water
Preserve access
Obtain additional
Aggravate existing water conflict
Conceptualization of
Symington, A. & Sfinarolakis V. (2010). Tekoha: Land without Evil. Retrieved from: https://d2pq0u4uni88oo.cloudfront.net/projects/2744/posts/35864/video-15070-h264_high.mp4
Economic: Conflict over water does not make economic sense
Cornucopian: Innovation will mitigate 'scarcity'
Lack of empirical evidence in which water directly causes conflict
Overstating risk of water wars by interest groups
Historical trend does not predict future
Conflict and cooperation over water resources are not mutually exclusive (Katz)
Economic: many economically irrational wars occur nevertheless
Natural resource scarcity and violent conflict thesis
Conflict will exacerbate with population growth, industrial development, and climate change (Katz) particularly desertification and forced migration patterns
Guarani Aquifer
Historical Context
Triple Alliance War
Governance and Corruption
Indigenous Rights
State Actors
Non-State Actors (NGOs)
225,500 km 2
5.9% territory
Supply source
Potentially uncontrolled drilling and extraction
Subject to pollution effects from other countries
Begun privatizing water systems
839,800 km 2
9.8% territory
Recharge and supply area
Between 300-500 cities are partially or entirely supplied by the Aquifer
Point and non-point source pollution
Uncontrolled drilling and extraction
71,700 km 2
17.6% territory
Recharge and supply area
About 200 wells
Point and non-point source pollution
Uncontrolled drilling and extraction
Subject to pollution from other countries

45,000 km 2
25.3% territory
Recharge and supply area
347 wells for public supply, irrigation, and thermal tourism
Point and non-point source pollution
Uncontrolled drilling and extraction
Subject to pollution impact from other countries
In 2004, voted a referendum constitutionally outlawing the outsourcing of water to the private sector
2002-2009: Guarani Aquifer System Project
World Bank, Organization of American States, Global Environmental Facility
$27 Million project
sustainable water resource management
transboundary water management
energy use

2010: Guarani Aquifer Agreement
First signed under the influence of the United Nations (UN) Resolution 63/124: the Law of Transboundary Aquifers
sovereignty, the equitable and reasonable use of water resources, the obligation not to cause harm, cooperation, and the exchange of data and information.
NGOs and Environmental Peacebuilding
Guarani Aquifer is the largest transboundary groundwater system, stretching 1.2 million square kilometers over Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uguguay
“the wars of the next century will be over water” World Bank Vice President Ismail Serageldin, 1995
Global Water Forum. The Agreement on the Guarani Aquifer: Cooperation without conflict. Retrieved from http://www.globalwaterforum.org/2013/09/02/the-agreement-on-the-guarani-aquifer-cooperation-without-conflict/

Karin E. Kemper , Eduardo Mestre & Luiz Amore (2003) Management of the Guarani Aquifer System, Water International, 28:2, 185-200

Katz, D. (2011). Hydro-political hyperbole: Examining incentives for overemphasizing the risks of water wars. Global Environmental Politics,11(1), 12-35.

Newton, J. T. Case Study of Transboundary Dispute Resolution: The Guarani Aquifer

Organization of American States (2004). Moving Forward the Water Agenda: Issues to consider in Latin America, Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment, Policy Series May (2) 1.

Sindico, F. (2011). The Guarani Aquifer System and the International Law of Transboundary Aquifers. International Community Law Review, vol. 13 (2011), pp. 255-272.

Symington, A. & Sfinarolakis V. (2010). Tekoha: Land without Evil. Retrieved from https://d2pq0u4uni88oo.cloudfront.net/projects/2744/posts/35864/video-15070-h264_high.mp4

The World Bank Group (2013). Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development of the Guarani Aquifer System Project. Retrieved from

Trottier, J. (2003). Water Wars: The Rise of a Hegemonic Concept. Exploring the Making of the Water.

Twite, R. December 2004. “The role of NGOs in promoting regional cooperation over environmental and water issues in Israel and Palestine – successes and limitations.”

In Palestinian and Israeli Environmental Narratives, ed. Stuart Schoenfeld. York University, Toronto: York Centre for International and Security Studies.
Water Facts. Retrieved from http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/water/

Zohar, A., Schoenfeld, S., & Alleson, I. (2010). Environmental Peacebuilding Strategies in the Middle East: The Case of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. Peace and Conflict Review, 5(1), 46-62.

Water Development
“water should be brought where it is needed”
“stabilizing distortions and rationalizations of complex realities, inconsistent desires, and arbitrary distributions of valued resources”

Violent Conflict “Legitimacy of the use of violence”
Any group carrying out violent acts strives to label them as acts of war in order to secure that legitimacy.

Water Wars
“and if we are not careful, future wars are going to be about water and not about oil” (Annan, 2001).

Water Peace
that states face water scarcity rationally and cooperate in order to solve these problems.
(Sustainability, equality, cooperation)

Which side of the water war argument do you support? Why?
Will the next world war be over water?
If water is compared to oil, can there be room for environmental peacebuilding over oil management?
What kind of conflict can be deemed acceptable in order to call violence (structural) water war?
Should water be a public good or privatized?
Who should regulate the natural resource? (Case of NGOs)
Conflict and Peace: Water
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