Drops of Peace: The role of water management in peacebuilding

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: This thesis aims to develop a theory on the role of water in an intrastate peacebuilding process, which is an area of research that has not yet been explored. The notion presented and which drives the following argumentation is that water with its practical, essential, local and cooperative characteristics could be an important factor in a peacebuilding context. The theoretical discussions take as a starting point previous research on hydropolitics, which discusses water as a source of conflict or cooperation and hybrid peacebuilding, a theory which denotes the interaction between the international efforts and local level agency in a post-conflict society. The role of water in a peacebuilding process can be divided into three areas; economic development, trust- and confidence-building cooperation on a local level and strengthening state legitimacy. Afghanistan is discussed as an illustrative example of water management in a peacebuilding process. The findings from the case study indicate that before water can generate larger peaceful relations the security situation needs to be stabilized. They also show that there is potential for water to act as an important driver in a peacebuilding process, thus paving way for further research.

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