The objective of this report is to provide a comprehensive, long-term and regional framework for thinking about water in the Middle East, which can be implemented with specific policy decisions, beginning in the immediate future, by individual countries or small groups of countries without waiting for all the countries in the region to move forward.
Such a framework recognises the potential of water to deliver a new form of peace – the blue peace – while presenting long term scenarios of risks of wars and humanitarian crisis.
The report takes a comprehensive view of rivers, tributaries, lakes and underground water bodies. It is based on the recognition of linkages between watercourses. It is not only impossible for any one country to manage a water body in isolation from other riparian countries but it is also impossible to manage a water body without examining its linkages with other watercourses in the region.
The report takes a long-term view. The countries that are friendly today may be antagonistic tomorrow and the ones which are enemies today may be friends tomorrow. The history of merely last ten years in the Middle East demonstrates how quickly the geopolitical scene changes. The political equations of today cannot be assumed to remain constant during the next decade and beyond. Our vision, therefore, should not be imprisoned by the current context. We have to anticipate alternative political trajectories for the next couple of decades in order to find solutions that are sustainable in the long run.
The report provides a regional perspective. Since watercourses, both surface and underground, do not understand political boundaries, it would be natural to have a regional approach to water management. The nation centric approach is unnatural and therefore unsustainable.