American Univesity of Beirut

Water wars or water cooperation? This is the question by Léna Salamé

​Léna Salamé, Lawyer, specialist in conflict management delivered the lecture: Water wars or water cooperation? This is the question o​n April 18, at FAFS.


In light of the current global changes and given the significant amount of populations living in transboundary basins or whose lives depend on water availability in transboundary aquifers, it is not surprising to count many disputes over the use of freshwater. Conflicts are inherent to human nature. They occur whenever there are differences in interests and objectives between two or more parties on a subject of common interest. However, history has shown that when it comes to water and because of its vital nature, even though conflicts do occur, cooperation happens more often. Furthermore, there are more issues about which parties can cooperate over water than issues about which parties can have a conflict. Another interesting lesson from the past is that no war (international armed conflict) has taken place between two or more nations over water in the past 60 years. 

About the speaker: 

Léna is a lawyer (Sorbonne), specialized in conflict management and mediation (Harvard-MIT-Tufts joint programme). She served in the United Nations’ system for 17 years as the strategic coordinator of its main programme on water conflicts and cooperation. She played a central role in the development and promotion of the modern concept of hydro-diplomacy. She conceived around 100 capacity building activities on international law, conflict management, and cooperation processes. She trained over 1500 persons on related topics. She also lectured in over 200 international events around the world. Her audiences encompass young, mid, and high-level professionals, executive officers, as well as media professionals, decision-makers, and the civil society.

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