People swimming in Ganges Daniel Berehulak | getty images

Het beheer van het waterbeleid

AMMAN – De Wereldwaterdag van dit jaar, op 22 maart, biedt een kans de nadruk te leggen op wat in veel landen een grimmige werkelijkheid is geworden: de beschikbaarheid van vers drinkwater is steeds vaker een bepalende strategische factor in regionale en mondiale aangelegenheden. Tenzij waterbronnen met buitengewone zorg worden beheerd kunnen de gevolgen verwoestend zijn.

Vorig jaar onderstreepte het World Water Development Report van de Verenigde Naties opnieuw hoe de groeiende kloof tussen vraag en aanbod tot conflicten kan leiden. Het World Economic Forum heeft watercrises de meest zorgwekkende mondiale dreiging genoemd, gevaarlijker dan terreuraanvallen of financiële ineenstortingen, en waarschijnlijker dan het gebruik van massavernietigingswapens. En uit onderzoek door de Strategic Foresight Group is het belang gebleken van verstandig beheer: Landen die gezamenlijk het beheer voeren over waterbronnen zullen minder snel met elkaar in oorlog raken.

Het Midden-Oosten is een tragisch voorbeeld van wat er kan gebeuren als er geen regionale samenwerking is. Irak, Syrië en Turkije hebben om iedere vierkante meter van de rivieren de Tigris en de Eufraat gevochten. Als gevolg daarvan hebben al deze landen verliezen geleden. Niet-statelijke spelers controleren nu belangrijke delen van de twee rivierbeddingen. En watertekorten hebben de vluchtelingencrisis in de regio (die zelf de apotheose van slecht bestuur is) verergerd.

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