2022 Geneva Peace Week - Digital Series - Reshaping the approach to water cooperation for peacebuilding
Water is central to peacebuilding efforts. In order to address people’s vulnerability, ensuring cooperation and proper management of water resources at local levels is key to support transboundary water cooperation and coordination on the international scene. Cooperation on water at different levels is even more needed in fragile settings and complex emergencies. History has shown that water is mostly a vector for cooperation and a useful tool on which to base a peacebuilding approach. This is also true in contexts like the West African region where cooperation around water helped to overcome tensions.
A multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral approach is the most adapted response to enhance water cooperation at different scales. This should be built taking into account humanitarian response and development and building coordination between the water and the peace sectors. The needs and experience of the local populations in sharing water resources must be taken into account in the decisionmaking process at the domestic and regional level as well as by donors to develop inclusive solutions. In this regard, new peacebuilding actors such as river basin organizations have a role to play in the peace sector, to bridge the interventions related to development and humanitarian response in fragile contexts.
Today an inclusive and transversal approach for peacebuilding, acknowledging water as a factor of tension but also as a factor of peace, is becoming increasingly relevant. This innovative outlook is highlighted by the guest speaker from the MFA of the Kingdom of Netherlands, the World Bank, ICRC, the Peace Nexus Foundation, IPAR (a Senegalese Think Tank) and a Youth Parliamentarian for Water in the video below.
Aliou Demba Kebe, Peace Nexus Foundation, Directeur du programme Afrique de l’Ouest
Aliou Demba Kebe has more than 20 years of experience, including more than 15 years in conflict zones, in the formulation, management and coordination of international development, conflict prevention and management and peacebuilding programmes. He has worked for many local and international organisations, including USAID, AED, FHI 360, Oxfam, EU, SIDA, ECOWAS, Fondation AJWS, the Government of Senegal, and the NGO Afrique Enjeux.)
Dr. Laure Tall, IPAR, Agroécologue, Directrice de la Recherche
Agroecologist, Dr Laure TALL holds a PhD in ecology from the University of Montreal (Quebec, Canada). She was a researcher at the Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA) from 2014 to 2020, and director of the Laboratoire National de Recherches sur les Productions Végétales of ISRA from 2019 to 2020. Dr Tall conducts research on ecological intensification and the impact of climate change on agrosystems. She works closely with the Geneva Water Hub and the Senegal River Basin Organisation.
David Kaelin, ICRC, Urban services and policy advisor
David Kaelin is an environmental engineer (from Switzerland, EPFL). He worked first in research and development in Switzerland, with academia, public and private sectors. He has over 15 years of direct field experience in contexts of conflicts and fragility, implementing and delivering large scale humanitarian program. David has just now joined the ICRC headquarter as an urban services and policy advisor with a focus on programming in urban protracted crisis, humanitarian diplomacy, and policy, in particular with regards to conduct of hostilities and protection of civilian populations.
Ambassador Nathalie Olijslager: Program Director for the UN 2023 Water Conference, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ambassador Olijslager started her career with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Department for European and Economic Cooperation after receiving her master’s degree in international economic relations from Leiden University (The Netherlands) and a one-year stint at Beloit College (Wisconsin) as a Fulbright Scholar. She then headed to Pretoria, South Africa, as deputy head of Economic Affairs, where she was also involved in the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. In 2003, her assignment took her to the Dutch Embassy in Budapest, Hungary, as the head of Economic Affairs. From 2007-2010, she was employed at the Ministry of Economic Affairs as a senior policy advisor in the Department for International Business. From 2010-2013, she was head of Business Environment and Market Development at the Department for Sustainable Economic Development with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague. In December 2013, she was appointed as Consul General of the Netherlands in Miami, she held this position until 2017 when she was nominated as DPR/Ambassador at the Permanent Mission Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations and other international organizations at Geneva.
Anders Jagerskog, World Bank, Senior Water Resources Management Specialist
Anders Jägerskog Ph.D is Senior Water Resources Management at the Water Global Practice at the World Bank. His work focuses on the Middle East and North Africa region. Previously he was Counsellor for regional water resources in the MENA region at the Swedish Embassy in Amman, Jordan; Director, Knowledge Services, at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) where he headed the Transboundary Water Management Unit and was work area leader for applied research. He managed the UNDP Shared Waters Partnership which facilitates and promotes dialogue and cooperation on transboundary water resources. He is Associate Professor (Docent) at Peace and Development Research, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg where his work focuses on global water issues. He worked for Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs; at the Embassy of Sweden, Nairobi and at Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). In 2003 he finished his PhD on the water negotiations in the Jordan River Basin at the Department of Water and Environmental Studies at the Linköping University, Sweden. He has published over 100 scientific articles, book chapters, debate articles and reports on global water issues.
Noémie Plumier (Youth Advisor at the Water and Climate Coalition), Strategic Partnership Facilitator at the World Youth Parliament for Water (ISW)
Noémie just graduated with a Master’s Degree of International Environmental Law. Last year, she obtained a Master's Degree in International Relations. Noémie has been involved in WASH missions for several NGO’s in various countries mainly in Africa and the Caribbean for over 8 years. She is currently co-coordinator with Carolina Tornesi-MacKinnon (President of the WYPW) in the UN-Water Task Force for World Water Day and World Toilet Day campaign 2023. She presented at the Second High-Level International Conference on the International Water Decade in Dushanbe, the "303030 Youth Target". With the support of her global volunteer network and other water youth organisations, she strongly advocate for meaningful Youth inclusion and participation in decision-making processes at all levels.