The Source, Annual Review 2020

Declining productivity on the wetland would exacerbate the growing political instability in Mali


Together with our partners, we accepted the Luxembourg Peace Prize for the Water, Peace and Security Partnership (WPS) in early 2020. This ground-breaking initiative was awarded for Outstanding Environmental Peace. It was founded in 2018 to identify and address water-related security risks by providing data, analysing risks and proposing solutions through capacity development and dialogue support. Data is fundamental to understanding where and how water shortages translate into social consequences, enabling decision-makers to take early and coordinated action.

The delta and its ecosystems are vital for food security in Mali as well as the wider region.

emptied of water. The result was one of the great famines of the 20th century. The fear today is that the same pattern may repeat itself in the coming decade – but thanks not to the vagaries of the weather but to the short-sightedness of human engineering.

there has been silence, with speculation in 2020 that Chinese banks might be getting cold feet, because of the environmental and livelihood concerns raised by Wetlands International and others. In theory, say the academics, releases of water from the dam could be tailored to ensure the wetland still benefits from some flooding. According to modelling, an “environmental flow regime” representing 58% of natural flow conditions, and mimicking its flood pulse might be enough. But the researchers warn that “if this is not done, then there will be the risk of the ecosystem collapsing.” Experience around the world where such environmental flows from dams have been proposed, suggests that when dam operators are taking decisions about when to open and close their sluice gates, the demands for hydroelectricity come first, those of irrigation second, and those of everyone else a poor third. The only floods in living memory in the delta to compare with those of 2020 happened in 1969. Right after that, drought swept across West Africa, and the delta largely

Water availability can be an indicator for growing tensions and potential conflicts, as in Niger

WPS partnership coordinator Susanne Schmeier participated in the award ceremony by video call.

Partners Altenburg and Wymenga

International Water Management Institute (IWMI)

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

One of the outputs of the WPS was the Global Early Warning Tool that uses machine learning to predict where violent conflicts are likely to occur. security-partnership-awarded-luxembourg-peace- prize-in-the-environment-category/

University of Ottawa

Wolfs Company

Donor Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Mali



Wetlands International Annual Review 2020

Wetlands International Annual Review 2020

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