News

World Bank Assesses Climate Resilience of Transboundary Water Treaties

World Bank1 June 2014: The World Bank has released a Policy Research Working Paper, titled 'Climate Change, Conflict and Cooperation: Global Analysis of the Resilience of International River Treaties to Increased Water Variability,' which identifies allocation provisions and institutional mechanisms that can mitigate potential conflicts between basin States in the face of increasing water variability caused by climate change.

The paper, authored by Shlomi Dinar, Florida International University, US, David Katz, University of Haifa, Israel, Lucia De Stefano, University of Madrid, Spain, and Brian Blankespoor, Development Economics Research Group, World Bank, finds that climate change will potentially destabilize transboundary river basins.

It outlines the linkages among climate change, water variability and security; identifies elements in treaty design that could reduce conflict; and assesses the resilience of treaties ratified between 1948 and 2001, examining the effect of institutional and allocation mechanisms under conditions of variability on cooperation and conflict over time.

The outcomes of the analysis carried out in the paper reinforce existing studies that demonstrate that water variability is a driver of cooperation. However, the authors: identify a threshold beyond which cooperation diminishes when variability becomes extreme; and find that flexible and specific allocation mechanisms contribute to cooperation, as do non-allocative institutional mechanisms. The authors further emphasize that treaty design must be carefully considered as the types of mechanisms chosen affect the resilience of basin States to cope with water variability. [Publication: Climate Change, Conflict and Cooperation: Global Analysis of the Resilience of International River Treaties to Increased Water Variability]