Water DiplomacyShafiqul Islam
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“This book offers a water diplomacy framework that challenges conventional wisdom in water resources research and practice. It focuses on networks rather than systems and value creation rather than zero-sum thinking. The selected readings, commentaries, and simulations provide essential grounding that is invaluable to water resources students, researchers and professionals.” - Helen Ingram, University of Arizona and Founding Warmington Endowed Chair, University of California at Irvine. "Water management, both in terms of quantity and quality, leaves much to be desired in nearly all countries of the world. Thus, all over the world we see tensions developing between various stakeholders of different water uses. An important question is howathese tensions can be diffused peacefully and in a timely manner? In this must read book, Islam and Susskind address this complex question and discuss the processes and alternatives that can be successfully used in a logical and easily understandable manner“ - Asit K. Biswas, founder and president, Third World Centre for Water Management, Atizapan, Mexico, and Distinguished Visiting Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School for Public Policy, Singapore. ”This is an unusual book in several respects. Notwithstanding a lot of lip-service to the need for interdisciplinary research and integrated policies in the water sector, such endeavours are rarely undertaken in full seriousness by disciplinarily trained end disposed academics. The two authors, and their network and programme, are certainly an exception to that observation. Here is brought together solid science from the natural/hydrological and the social/political sciences to address one of the major challenges of our time: the management and governance of complex water resources problems and conflicts. It is one of the very first efforts to rethink existing reductionist approaches to water across the boundaries of the natural and social sciences by putting the notion of 'complexity' centre-stage, particularly the ontological complexity of water resource processes (their non-linearity and unpredictability), and the societal complexity of the contested management and governance of water resources, requiring an adaptive and (non zero sum) negotiation-based approach in networks. The epistemological complexity of water knowledge comes to the fore much less - in that sense the book is firmly located in the tradition of problem solving oriented water studies. Illustrative of this is also that in the main text of the book explicit theorisation of 'social power' or 'social relations of power' is hardly found, notwithstanding the centrality of 'politics' in the overall approach. The book is also unusual in the sense that it provides an excellent teaching tool, by including and commenting on key readings for the 'water diplomacy framework' that is developed and advocated, and by the narratives and the Indopotamia role play simulation that are part of the book. All in all this book is a very original effort to push the thinking and policy making on water resources management in the direction of a more realistic and contextualised 'strategic action' perspective, away from standardisation and rational planning, and it is certain to spark a lot of, most welcome, discussion and debate." - Peter P. Mollinga, Professor of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London.