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Posted: Friday 22 March, 2024 at 11:33 AM

OAS Highlights the interconnection of water and peace for a better world

By: Staff Reporter,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts -- As the world observes World Water Day today (Mar. 22), the Organization of American States (OAS) emphasizes the close relationship between water and peace.


    This year’s theme, ‘Water for Peace’, underscores the United Nations' recognition that water can either foster peace or instigate conflict. The UN notes that scarcity, pollution, and unequal access to water can heighten tensions between communities and nations.


    The OAS Secretariat addressed the significance of water as a vital contributor to peace, development, and regional integration. It highlighted the implementation of over 170 projects, mobilizing approximately one billion US dollars to support member states in sustainable and coordinated watershed management.


    Water remains critical amid climate change challenges, including scarcity. The Federation currently grapples with declining water levels year after year.


    The OAS acknowledges that while efforts have fostered transboundary cooperation and peace, global warming poses new and complex threats. Around 80% of OAS member states are affected by water scarcity issues, it noted, with half of the region's population residing in areas of extreme climate vulnerability. Thus, addressing the water-climate-ecosystems-energy-human rights nexus becomes imperative.


    In response, the decision has been made to transition the Federation towards desalination. Just earlier this week, the government held a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a desalination plant donated by the United Arab Emirates.


    Water diplomacy has played a pivotal role in establishing agreements forming the basis of transboundary basin organizations. These include the Tri-national Commission, the Guarani Aquifer Agreement, the Intergovernmental Coordinating Committee of the La Plata Basin Countries, and the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization. Collaborating with these entities, the OAS aims to ensure that water management fosters development and social well-being, serving as the cornerstone of peace in the region.


    Achieving peace around water necessitates diplomacy focused on forging operational agreements in transboundary basins and shared ecosystems. Amidst the climate crisis affecting the Americas and beyond, diplomatic commitments should prioritize social well-being through innovative and integrated water resource management and governance.




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