Freshwater is one of UNEP’s priority areas, and one in which it is actively seeking to build partnerships with other organisations. In this context, GRID-Europe entered into an agreement with Green Cross International (GCI) to provide GIS support for its “Water for Peace” project. The project was targeted at international water conflict prevention and enhancing integrated basin management. It was carried out in preparation for the Third World Water Forum, held in Kyoto, Japan in 2003. Six trans-boundary basins were selected for in-depth study: the Danube, the Jordan, the Okavango, the Parana-La Plata, the Volga and Volta.
In each basin, potential and actual causes of conflict, and opportunities for cooperation between states and stakeholders were identified, and measures to promote international integrated water resources management were initiated. Depending on the basin, the work focused on different aspects of water conflict prevention. These ranged from increasing civil society participation, training of local authorities, institution building, facilitating dialogue between states, addressing the tensions raised by privatisation, and clarifying legal principles and regulations related to transboundary water management.
Baseline maps for the six trans-boundary river basins were prepared by GRID-Europe. These custom-made maps include information features such as watershed boundary, international frontiers and marine areas, hydrologic systems and major dams. A suite of thematic maps were to follow, based on a wide-range of data layers such as land cover/land use, precipitation, and engineering structures. These maps are intended to serve as a common baseline to help facilitate dialogue between states and key stakeholders.