The management of inter-state rivers as demands grow and supplies tighten: India, China, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh
International cooperation over the major rivers in South Asia took a new turn with the signing in 1996 and 1997 of five innovative water, power and economic cooperation agreements. The innovations include four elements: (i) the transfer of some previously diplomatic questions into the sphere of the private economy, (ii) bringing third parties, other than governments, into the design and negotiation of cooperative projects, (iii) the principle of sharing costs and benefits, and (iv) taking steps toward multilateral discussion. However, political and implementation challenges have remained, and have been exacerbated by looming water shortages as economies grow and climate change occurs. This paper examines how recent innovations in diplomacy may be extended to address these challenges.
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