The Source, our Annual Review 2019

Early warning tool predicts conflicts linked to wetland degradation

economic, social and demographic factors to predict conflict. The WPS Global Early Warn - ing Tool is unique because it combines these factors with environmental variables linked to water, such as rainfall, water scarcity and crop failures, to understand the full picture. Jane Madgwick, CEO, Wetlands International, who spoke alongside Minister Kaag at the event said: “Healthy ecosystems like wetlands underpin community livelihoods and jobs in the most water-stressed countries. Keeping these wetlands in good condition helps to sustain human well-being and peace. Under- standing the dynamics of how people interact with ecosystems is key because if certain thresholds, like water flows, are crossed then this can start to diminish the natural produc- tivity and so trigger local tensions. Predictive tools like WPS Global Early Warning Tool are effective when used in conjunction with cul - tural and scientific knowledge on ecosystem functionality. That is why this project involves a broad partnership of organisations and com- bines insights not only from the sky but also from the ground. ” WPS partners The Water, Peace and Security (WPS) Partner- ship involves six partners: IHE Delft, World Resources Institute, Deltares, The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, Wetlands Inter- national and International Alert. It is funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The initiative is intended to become an open network that can bring together knowledge, capacities and activities directed at scaling up preventative action in the context of water stress-induced conflict, migration, or other forms of social destabilisation.

What if we could predict and prevent violent conflicts linked to water insecurity and wet - land degradation? Wetlands International is part of the Water, Peace and Security Partner- ship, which in December 2019, launched a groundbreaking new tool (WPS) with this very aim, predicting the risk of violent conflicts connected with water, up to 12 months in ad- vance. The WPS Global Early Warning Tool, launched at the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva in the presence of Sigrid Kaag, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, uses machine learning to fore- cast exactly where organised violence is likely to occur. It will support development, disaster response and defense experts to help defuse conflicts before blood is shed.

Water scarcity can multiply potential for conflict

Rising water insecurity, resulting from growing demands for water and poor water manage- ment, as well as more uncertain rainfall due to climate change, is certainly not the only driver of conflict, but it is an important and often overlooked one. A quarter of the world’s popu- lation lives in extremely water-stressed areas. Water scarcity, pollution and floods, can multi - ply the potential for conflict between different groups of people who use the same natural resources. Tensions rise as people fight for their livelihoods, to protect their families, their crops or herds. Conversely, conflict resolution measures that help communities to share land and water resources can help to restore peace.

Previous early warning tools have only fo- cused on vulnerabilities such as political,

The Sahel is one of the regions where the Early warning tool can be highly valuable.



Wetlands Annual Review 2019

Wetlands Annual Review 2019

Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online