Water and Diplomacy (WD2022)

This course is designed to tackle the interdisciplinary gaps in the natural science and technology field by addressing the social, political, and economical aspects and related technical considerations in water resources engineering and management. This can broaden students insights on how the decisions made based on the technical investigations can affect the society, national, and international relations. Such courses can help engineering students to consider more serious consequences in their current and future works. As the world's population grows, the competition to acquire more water from common-pool resources is heightened. This has led to many social and political conflicts, particularly in transboundary water resources and large rivers. Managing large rivers is incredibly challenging as they are transboundary, with different upstream and downstream water interests. In many river basins, for example, that of the Zambezi, the Mekong, Indus, Tigris and Euphrates, headwater regulation and increased water use have altered downstream flow, with effects on ecosystems, navigation, fisheries, and agriculture. Most of the upstream development results in the downstream challenge and raises the conflict between nations with significant socio-economical impacts. To Adress these, an interdisciplinary studying field is emerged called “socio hydrology” to deal with the interaction between water and people for ‘Social sustainability in water’. “Water Diplomacy” refers to the use of diplomatic instruments to address existing or emerging disagreements and conflicts over shared water resources to solve or mitigate those for cooperation, regional stability, and peace.
WD2022 Poster

Goals and contents of the course

This short course focuses on “Water Diplomacy” and  will discuss how it will be associated with water scarcity, water conflict, or water cooperation on a regional and international scale. Besides “Water Diplomacy”, an introduction to “socio hydrology” and social sustainability in water resources will be provided.  In the end, we expected the participants could broaden their insights on the

  • Social impact of water resources development,
  • What are the major conflicts in transboundary water resources?
  • How water conflict interacts with the inhabitant and lead to socio-ecommical impact.
  • What is the social sustainability of water resources
  •  How water diplomacy can diminish the water-related conflict in regional and international conflict

Type of the course:

The course includes four hybrid lectures with short exercises and an open discussion on different case studies with some hands-on practices.

Contact person Dr Ali Torabi Haghighi

The type of course

The course includes four hybrid lectures with short exercises and an open discussion on different case studies with some hands-on practices. Additional homework and learning diary are required for the course credit

Lectures 1 16.6.2022

  • Prof. Reza Ardekanian: ‘Water diplomacy’ I 9:00-11:00
  • Prof. Majid Labbaf Khaneiki: ‘Social Hydrology’ (11:15-12:00)
  • Dr. Tamara Avellán: ‘Social sustainability in water’ (13:15-14)
  • Prof. Reza Ardekanian: ‘Water diplomacy’ II (14:15-15:00)
  • Round table discussion on water diplomacy and social impact of water resources development (15:00-16:00)

The teacher instroductions

Prof. Reza Ardekanian, Sharif University of Technology, Iran

  • He is a faculty member of the Civil Eng. Dept. at Sharif University of Technology, Tehran-Iran. Regarding his background, he has a long governmental experience in the field of water management as he spent more than three decades in the Ministry of Energy in Iran as the General Manager of the National Water Resources Management Company, and also he is the former minister of Energy. He also worked as the Founding Director of the United Nations University Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and Resources (UNU-FLORES) since 2012.

Prof. Majid Labbaf Khaneiki, University of Nizwa, Oman

  • Majid Labbaf Khaneiki is a human geographer who specializes in water history and social aspects of water in local communities, where water establishes a nexus of political, social, and economic structures. Over the past years, he has been working as senior researcher for the International Center on Qanats and Historic Hydraulic Structures, a UNESCO category two center (UNESCO-ICQHS). He has also conducted or cooperated with over 20 research projects on water issues in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, India and Azerbaijan.

Dr. Tamara Avelan, Water Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, University of Oulu, Finland

  • Tamara Avellán worked as the Head of the Water Resource Management Unit at the United Nations University Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resource (UNU-FLORES). She has worked intensively on sustainable water resources management in relation to ecological stresses and human induced environmental changes. She recently joined the Water Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit at the University of Oulu as a docent.