In the early 21st century, many of the world’s most critical waterways face unprecedented socio-economic and environmental pressures. Due to the combined impacts of expanding economies, growing populations, continuing global climate change, and ineffective management, water use in certain transboundary river basins now increasingly approaches or even exceeds available renewable supplies. Sharpened competition between countries and communities dependent upon common water sources, in turn, could undermine regional stability and threaten international security. The Stimson Center has identified eight of these “conflict basins” for further analysis, seeking to illuminate the emerging governance challenges and to advance cooperative strategies to manage vital shared water resources.
The Stimson Center is currently conducting research on the Niger, Indus, Nile, and Mekong river basins – as well as on civil society initiatives to improve collaboration on transboundary rivers worldwide – and plans to extend this effort to the other conflict basins in the future.