© Water, Peace and Security Partnership
Developing solutions to water-related issues
The Stockholm World Water Week organised annually by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) is a leading conference on global water issues. World Water Week is the place to explore new ways of managing water and tackle humanity’s greatest challenges: from food security and health to agriculture, biodiversity, security and climate. This year, the event’s theme was “Seeing the Unseen: The Value of Water”, bringing together professionals, experts, innovators and entrepreneurs from various sectors and countries with the aim of developing solutions for water-related challenges.
The need for climate- and conflict-resilient communities
The online session "Improving security and climate resilience with participatory processes” was held on August 24th 2022. It aimed at taking the discussion on water, energy and food insecurity and its implications for local, national and regional stability and peace further by identifying opportunities and ways for participatory processes with local communities. The opening speech given by Ilaria Mussetti representing the European Union (EU), highlighted how participatory processes are needed for peaceful, climate-resilient communities to manage their lands, natural resources, and ecosystems. She underlined that the EU stands believes in the principle that there is never a one-size-fits-all solution for peacekeeping, and this is especially true for the heterogeneous societies of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Context-adapted tools in the service of decision-making
He highlighted the importance of the participatory approach during which the tool was developed, as it raised awareness, created spaces for dialogue between actors, and contributed to a common understanding of the interactions between natural resources, climate change, and security.
Impressions from the intervention area
The session then embarked on a panel discussion that aimed to understand how the participatory process works and what its added value compared to other approaches. Panellists from the Sahel region as well as the international development cooperation community discussed how the employment of advanced analysis tools can facilitate an intricate understanding of fragile contexts. The panel discussion was moderated by Susanne Schmeier, where Audrey Légat from Deltares elaborated on the importance to engage the local communities in the conflict resolution and decision-making process via appointing co-moderators and co-creators while gathering information and data for the tool.
Aminata Attinine Assane, the Mayor of Farray in Niger highlighted that the results of the Frexus project are already visible. Farmers and herders in her commune had ongoing conflicts over natural resources (especially water), but via jointly identifying the problems and thanks to dialogue, the conflict parties feel heard and there are less fights and deaths between the two livelihood groups.
Similarly, Jean Abdias Compaoré representing the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) highlighted that the added value of the participatory approach is a cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder dialogue on conflicts and the impacts of climate change. He mentioned that the different levels can be linked through a systemic conflict analysis to identify and categorise local and cross-border conflicts as well as the actors and propose integrated and regional solutions.
Key messages and outlook
The highlights of the session were touched upon by Alexandre Mesnil, the Regional Coordinator of the Frexus project. He emphasized that the keyword of the participatory approach is its flexibility, which offers a shared vision as the base of conflict resolution. He pointed out that as we already have the capacities and tools to understand complex and fragile contexts. Conflicts around water, energy, and food insecurity, exacerbated by climate change can be addressed by actions that have been developed in and adapted to their local context, so it is time to act and move forward with the effective implementation of corresponding measures.
The discussion was thoroughly documented and will yield an outcome document that provides the target audience with hands-on insights on how to move from a sound understanding of a fragile situation to the implementation of corresponding measures that improve security and climate resilience for local communities.
Additional Resources to find out more about the Frexus project
- FREXUS – Improving security and climate resilience in a fragile context through the Water-Energy-Food Nexus
- Policy Brief // From forecast to prevention: Acting on resource-related conflict risks
- Fact Sheet // Frexus: Improving security and climate resilience in a fragile context through the WEF Nexus
- The Frexus project // A response to resource conflict in the Sahel region
- Review // Fragility Forum 2022 on the topic of Water-Climate-Conflict Nexus