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Decolonising water diplomacy and conflict transformation: from security-peace to equity-identity

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Mohsen NagheebyORCiD, Professor Jaime AmezagaORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Water diplomacy and conflict transformation are dominated by an interest-based paradigm, where attention is given solely to achieving security and peace. We intend to critically challenge this paradigm – which is mainly dominated by the views of the Global North – by emphasising two other important but often overlooked elements: equity and identity. We argue that diplomacy within the contemporary paradigm is easily manipulated by the broader security and peace interests of foreign powers in a manifestation of global and regional geopolitical rivalry. We conclude that pro-security-peace water diplomacy is an inefficacious remedy, and posit instead that equity and particularly identity should be placed at the heart of water diplomacy and conflict transformation. While introducing a new alternative definition, we call for a paradigm shift, from security-peace to equity-identity orientation, to give space for the voice of the Global South in the analysis of hydropolitical relations. This approach affords additional insights into and explanations for hydropolitical patterns, and helps us to define new strategies for decolonising water diplomacy in practice.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Nagheeby Mohsen, Amezaga Jaime

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Water Policy

Year: 2023

Volume: 25

Issue: 8

Pages: 835–850

Print publication date: 01/08/2023

Online publication date: 19/07/2023

Acceptance date: 04/07/2023

Date deposited: 06/09/2023

ISSN (print): 1366-7017

ISSN (electronic): 1996-9759

Publisher: IWA


DOI: 10.2166/wp.2023.043


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