Equity in the context of bilateral, international water allocation treaties in arid regions : an interdisciplinary, transformative approach to conflict resolution
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The persistence of water conflicts in many arid regions is not simply a matter of water shortages, but rather the lack of equitable agreements that govern the allocation of disputed water resources to mitigate the adverse impacts of hostility and resentment. As such, equity is at the heart of many trans-boundary water disputes. Mindful of the dynamics and implications of inequitable water allocation on inter-state relationships and overall regional stability, this research aims at eliciting and developing theoretical criteria for equitable distribution of water (process equity) responsible for creating equitable outcomes and perception. This research makes the distinction between “process equity” and “outcome equity” and their impact on attaining and sustaining water security, peace, and hydro-stability. These parameters of equitable processes will be developed through a review of current literature addressing the issues of water equity in arid regions, coupled with case study analyses and cross-case comparisons and semi-structured interviews of key water negotiators. These key cases will be selected through a systematic screening methodology that analyzes nine pertinent cases. Collectively, employing these methods will yield in-depth analysis and findings applicable to other international water dispute cases in the context of arid regions. Proposing an alternative strategy that views water as a catalyst for peace and cooperation rather than conflict and altercation, this research further advocates for the development and adoption of an interdisciplinary, transformative approach to conflict resolution to advance water disputes to plausible and implementable agreements. Aiming to inform the theory and practice of hydro-diplomacy along disputed water resources, this approach encapsulates three key components, including rules of engagement, mechanisms of engagement, and neutral third-party mediation. Water satiety is identified as a major characteristic of equitable water allocation agreements that ensure the level of satisfaction of all involved stakeholders and the extent to which acceptable agreements, durable implementation, and sustainable relationships among co-riparians are attained and maintained.