Annual and seasonal water variability is predicted to intensify due to climate change. River basins lacking institutional capacity, such as treaties, to deal with environmental change may experience political tensions. Using the 1948–2008 country dyads event data from the Basins at Risk project, this paper investigates whether basins governed by treaties witness less tensions and/or more cooperation over shared water relative to those basins not governed by treaties. It also evaluates basins pre- and post-treaty enactment. The results provide only limited support for the claim that the presence of a treaty does in fact promote cooperation, but provide stronger support for the claim that the number of agreements between riparians enhances cooperation particularly when taking into consideration water variability. This variable is significantly and positively correlated with increased cooperation – a finding that is robust across different specifications controlling for a broad set of climatic, geographic, political, and economic variables. This may indicate that successive treaties successfully address some of the shortcomings of their predecessors. Importantly, when disaggregating conflictive and cooperative events, the research does not find support for the claim that treaties or number of treaties reduce conflict. This may highlight the importance of the need to treat conflict and cooperation individually and not simply as opposite poles of a single spectrum.
|Number of pages||11|
|State||Published - Mar 2019|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank our respective institutions and acknowledge the support from the World Bank Research Support Budget.
© 2018 The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank
- Climate change
- International water treaties
- Water variability
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Sociology and Political Science