Hydro-diplomacy : Detailed report of The Bridge Tank’s High Level Panel on hydro-diplomacy

Two months after holding its high-level panel on hydro-diplomacy in Paris, on December 6th, 2022, The Bridge Tank looks back on the discussions and captivating ideas brought to the table by the conference’s participants. These are the ideas and contributions that we shall bring to the fore during the UN Water Conference in New York from March 22nd to 24th, 2023, where The Bridge Tank’s side event proposal on hydrodiplomacy just got labelled into the officlal program.

Expanding on the main conclusions of the day’s discussions and following the launch of the World Water for Peace Conference, The Bridge Tank is happy to release the conference proceedings with a verbatim report of each one of the sessions of the conference.

Words of Introduction

This opening session set the stage for the day, giving the floor to the High Patrons and conveners of the conference.

This introduction provided an assessment of the existing international & United Nations system on questions of water. It also introduced existing hydro-diplomacy initiatives and experiences from non-conflictual and integrated water co-management efforts, which have contributed to a renewed and enlarged practice of hydrodiplomacy.

Moderator: Joël RUET, Chairman, The Bridge Tank, Interdisciplinary Institute for Innovation, Ecole Polytechnique

  • Irina BOKOVA, Co-chair of the Global Commission on Science Missions for Sustainability, International Science Council (ISC), Former Director General, UNESCO and Board Member of The Bridge Tank
  • Erik ORSENNA, Chairman, Initiative for the Future of Great Rivers (IAGF Initiative pour l’Avenir des Grands Fleuves), Academician at Académie Française
  • Hamed SEMEGA, Board Member, The Bridge Tank, Former High Commissioner, Senegal River Basin Organisation (OMVS)

For the session’s full verbatim report:


Session 1: Testimonies of progressive water politics

The first thematic session of the day gave the floor to political decision makers from around the globe, allowing them to share and discuss their experiences with water and its management. This provided an insight into existing practices and offered new ideas towards more progressive water politics and a renewed approach to hydro-diplomacy.

Moderator: Stéphane GOMPERTZ, Board Member, The Bridge Tank, former Ambassador for COP21 French Presidency

  • Hakima EL HAITE, Board Member, The Bridge Tank, former UNFCCC Champion for climate, Minister of Environment, Morocco & Host of COP22 (on Zoom)
  • Runa KHAN, Founder & Executive Director, Friendship NGO, Bangladesh (on Zoom)
  • Brice LALONDE, Former UN Under Secretary, Former Minister of Environment, France
  • Sidi TOURE, Minister, Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries, Côte d’Ivoire (pre-recorded address)
  • Diaka SIDIBE, Minister, Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation, Guinea (pre-recorded address)

For the session’s full verbatim report:

Brice Lalonde
Runa Khan (on Zoom)
Hakima El Haite (on Zoom)

Session 2: Water & Development

This second session on water and development turned to international aid and development actors. Their concrete experiences and field knowledge allowed for a dynamic dialogue around existing development initiatives and the challenges faced as part of their activities on water-related topics.

Moderator:  Marie-Laure VERCAMBRE, General Director, French Water Partnership

  • Annukka LIPPONEN, Chief Specialist on Water Resources Management, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland
  • Claus SORENSEN, Former Director General, European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) (on Zoom)
  • Mats KARLSSON, Former World Bank Vice President & Former State Secretary for development, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden
  • Lars Andreas LUNDE, Head of Norad’s Section for Nature and Climate, The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) (on Zoom)
  • Pascal DELISLE, Head, Economic, Development, Environment and Digital Issues, European External Action Service (EAES), Geneva (on Zoom)
  • Lionel GOUJON, Head of division, Water and Sanitation Division, French Development Agency (AFD)
  • Eric KUINDERSMA, Senior Policy Advisor Water Governance, Waterschap Rivierenland, The Netherlands

For the session’s full verbatim report:

Marie-Laure Vercambre
Lionel Goujon
Mats Karlsson
Annukka Lipponen
Lars Andreas Lunde (on Zoom)
Claus Sorensen (on Zoom)
Pascal Delisle (on Zoom)

Session 3: Innovative tools for a revisited hydro-diplomacy

This last panel discussed the diversity of tools at the service of hydro-diplomacy, be they economic, technological, social, legal or political ones. Discussing definitions of hydro-diplomacy and what to include in it to enlarge its practice, the session addressed innovative ways to involve the variety of sectors, actors, resources, and territories needed for a sustainable development and co-management of water.

Moderator: Christian BRETHAUT, Scientific Director, Geneva Water Hub (GWH), Global Observatory for Water and Peace (GOWP)

  • Zulfiqar BHUTTA, Founding Director, Institute for Global Health and Development and the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, Aga Khan University, Karachi (on Zoom)
  • Susanne SCHMEIER, Associate Professor, Water Law and Diplomacy, Institute for Water Education (IHE), Delft
  • Eric TARDIEU, Director General, International Office for Water (OIEau)
  • Suriya TURAYEVA, leading lecturer for “Environmental Protection and Rational Use of Natural Resources”, The University of World Economy and Diplomacy of Uzbekistan (on Zoom)
  • Arnab DAS, Director and Founder, Maritime Research Center (MRC), Pune
  • Mara TIGNINO, Lead Legal Specialist, Geneva Water Hub (on Zoom)

For the session’s full verbatim report:

Zulfiqar Bhutta (on Zoom)
Arnab Das
Mara Tignino, Suriya Turayeva, & Zulfiqar Bhutta
Joel Ruet & Arnab Das
Sophie Gardette & Susanne Schmeier
The session's panel
Theme: Overlay by Kaira
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