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New study links water management to successful peacebuilding

According to a new study on Water and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, tackling water management early on is vital for long-term peace and sustainable development in war-torn countries. The study explores how effective water management can mitigate tensions over water resources and restore trust among divided communities. Early intervention in the water sector can also help societies set the foundation for more equitable and sustainable water use and, in turn, support better economic recovery.


Countries are beginning to see water management as critical for peace and development. Of the 55 countries affected by major conflicts between 1990 and 2013, the study shows that 30 addressed water management in their post-conflict constitutions.


UNEP Executive Director and UN Under-Secretary-General Achim Steiner says that the sound governance of water resources “is vital for promoting peace and stability and is among the highest priorities during post-conflict recovery and peace building”.  “Water, sanitation and the related infrastructure”, he says, “are critical to economic development and the recovery of livelihoods in the aftermath of war”.
Water and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding is the fourth in a six-volume series addressing the challenges and opportunities of managing natural resources for post-conflict peacebuilding around the world. Produced by the Environmental Law Institute, UNEP, the University of Tokyo, and McGill University and in partnership with Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, the book includes 19 case studies on water management in 28 conflict-affected countries and territories in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East, and draws on the expertise of 35 researchers and practitioners.


This work was made possible through the generous support of the Government of Finland, the United States Agency for International Development, the European Union, the EU-UN Partnership on Land, Natural Resources and Conflict Prevention, and other partners.


The book may be ordered at or through  
More information on the environmental peacebuilding initiative is available at

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