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Transboundary Water Governance and International Actors in South Asia: The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Basin

Paperback - 23 May 2019
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Description

International organisations such as the World Bank began to intervene in the transboundary water governance of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna river basin in the mid-2000s, and the South Asia Water Initiative (SAWI) is its most ambitious project in this regard. Yet neither SAWI nor other international initiatives, such as those of the Australian and UK governments, have been able to significantly improve transboundary water interaction between India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

This book identifies factors that contribute to water conflicts and that detract from water cooperation in this region. It sheds light on how international organisations affect these transboundary water interactions. The book discusses how donor-led initiatives can better engage with transboundary hydropolitics to increase cooperation and decrease conflict over shared freshwater resources. It is shown that there are several challenges: addressing transboundary water issues is not a top priority for the riparian states; there is concern about India's hydro-hegemony and China's influence; and international actors in general do not have substantial support of the local elites. However, the book suggests some ways forward for improving transboundary water interaction. These include: addressing the political context and historical grievances; building trust and reducing power asymmetry between riparian states; creating political will for cooperation; de-securitising water; taking a problemshed view; strengthening water sharing institutions; and moving beyond narratives of water scarcity and supply-side solutions.

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