Table of Contents

Global Environmental Law at a Crossroads

Global Environmental Law at a Crossroads

The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series

Edited by Robert V. Percival, Jolene Lin and William Piermattei

This timely volume considers the future of environmental law and governance in the aftermath of the "Rio+20" conference. An international set of expert contributors begin by addressing a range of governance concepts that can be used to address environmental problems. The book then provides a survey of key environmental challenges across the globe, before finally giving an assessment of possible governance models for the future.

Chapter 5: The Middle East: climate change, water insecurity and hydro-diplomacy

Itzchak E. Kornfeld

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, public international law


During the 1990s, scholarship about water security abounded. However, it was at the turn of this century and into its second decade that exploration abated. This lack of study is disquieting since the world’s water security has certainly worsened, given our understanding of the mounting impacts of climate change, spate of droughts, and potential for water terrorism. I posit that if one does not contemplate or depict the protection of water resources in terms of a strategic security threat, one misses the opportunity of mobilizing peoples and populations to employ precautionary measures in order to safeguard precious potable water and river basins for current and future generations. In this chapter, I address issues engendered by climate change and the potential for conflict over scarce water resources, which likely will cause strategic problems for national and world security. The focus here is on two separate water basins, one sub-surface and one riparian, in the Middle East, as the archetypes. The two basins are: (1) the Tigris-Euphrates River System, which courses through Turkey, Syria and Iraq and (2) the Mountain or Yarkon-Tannanim Aquifer between Israel and the Palestinians, who live on the West Bank of the Jordan River. A thing composed of two elements [like water] has necessarily their composition as the cause of its present existence. Its existence is therefore not necessitated by its own essence; it depends on the existence of its two component parts and their combination.

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