“Most of the actual violence around water today is not occurring with armies marching out on the field of battle…[it] is more diffuse, more at the community level, more small scale, but quite real and quite important for us to try to address,” says Ken Conca
, professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland during this conversation with ESCP Director Geoff Dabelko. Though the world remains fixated on future “water wars,” we “should not forget the actually existing violence in the world today,” he says.
Conca underscores the need to address the multiple forms of violence around water. Factors that incite these conflicts include lax consultation with local communities over large infrastructure projects as well as changes in access to water due to economic or environmental dynamics.
Conca suggests new principles that promote water as a global human right future may be part of the solution to these drivers of conflict. Such conflicts may be avoided by broadening the current conversation, allowing for new approaches to infrastructure development, and applying techniques of effective dispute resolution, particularly at the international level.