woman carrying water Noah Seelam/Stringer

La guerra, la paz y el agua

WASHINGTON, DC – En la actualidad, la India enfrenta su peor crisis hídrica en años: se estima que 330 millones de personas (un cuarto de su población) sufren los efectos de una grave sequía. Etiopía también sufre su peor sequía en décadas, que ya ha sido un factor de la pérdida de varias cosechas y causado una carencia de alimentos que afecta a una décima parte de su población. En tales circunstancias, aumenta el riesgo de que se produzcan conflictos sobre los recursos.

En el pasado, seguías de esta envergadura han llevado a conflictos y hasta guerras entre comunidades y estados vecinos. Uno de los primeros de los que hay  registro en la historia moderna ocurrió hace unos 4500 años cuando la ciudad-estado de Lagash (ubicada entre los ríos Tigris y Éufrates en el actual Irak) desvió agua de su vecina, Umma. La competencia por el agua gatilló violentos conflictos en la antigua China y generó inestabilidad política en el Egipto faraónico.

Hoy en día es poco común que se produzcan guerras reales sobre los recursos hídricos, gracias al aumento del diálogo y la cooperación transfronteriza. Sin embargo, al interior de los países la competencia por un agua escasa causa cada vez más inestabilidad y conflictos, especialmente a medida que el cambio climático aumenta la gravedad y frecuencia de condiciones climáticas extremas. Como detallamos en nuestro informe ““High and Dry: Climate Change, Water and the Economy” (“A nuestra suerte: cambio climático, agua y economía”), cuando la disponibilidad hídrica se vuelve errática y limitada, disminuye el crecimiento económico, aumenta la migración y se generan conflictos civiles, lo que a su vez impulsa más aún flujos migratorios potencialmente desestabilizadores.

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