Water and conflict

Water is increasingly a trigger, weapon and casualty of conflict—with significant humanitarian consequences. Water has not traditionally been considered a primary driver of global conflict; instead, it has been viewed as a compounding variable that exacerbates existing social, economic and political tensions. However, old understandings and norms of cooperation around water issues are being tested by climate change and population growth. Dramatic swings in seasonal water supplies threaten regional, local and global stability. In 2017, water played a major role in conflict in at least 45 countries, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. Yemen had the most water-related conflicts with at least 28 individual events reported.

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