Chapter 4: The hydropolitical dynamics of cooperation in Southern Africa: A strategic perspective on institutional development in international river basins

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The dominant hydropolitical literature on transboundary rivers relates to conflict. This is not an accurate version of reality for the Okavango River basin. This chapter introduces two concepts of security and two concepts of peace, linking all four into a more nuanced approach. Experience from transboundary rivers in Southern Africa shows that where institutions such as OKACOM exist, they reduce the conflict potential by institutionalising rules and procedures, thereby creating confidence and reducing uncertainty. The securitisation of water resource management is generally undesirable, because it stunts institutional development by undermining the extent to which hydrological data is shared between all riparian states. Consequently, if conflict is to be mitigated, then the management of transboundary rivers needs to be desecuritised, or placed in the normal political domain where it can be openly debated, a healthy condition that results in viable policies.

Publication Title:

Transboundary rivers, sovereignty and development: Hydropolitical Drivers in the Okavango River basin

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Book or Magazine Section

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