New Book Highlights Water’s Role in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding

March 20, 2014

Tim Lucas, 919-613-8084,

DURHAM, N.C. – Experts have long predicted that wars in the future will be fought for water. But a new book, co-edited by a Duke University policy expert, makes the case that water may also be one of our best hopes for peace.

“Shared water is the natural resource with the greatest potential for promoting international cooperation,” says Erika Weinthal, associate professor of environmental policy at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

In Water and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding (Routledge Press), Weinthal and her co-editors present 19 case studies illustrating the singularly important role water management can play in rebuilding trust after conflict and preventing a return to conflict. The cases studies come from 28 countries and territories in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East, and draw on the expertise of 35 researchers and practitioners.

A forward written by Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union and recipient of the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize for helping to end the Cold War, provides a unique policy perspective on the issue.

“Our goal was to create a global framework that sheds light on how decisions governing water resources in post-conflict settings can promote or undermine peacebuilding,” Weinthal says. “Understanding these lessons – what went right, what went wrong, and why – has value for policymakers, students, and anyone involved in international development and humanitarian efforts.”

Water and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding will be published in paperback today. It is the sixth in a series of books on post-conflict peacebuilding and natural resource management published under the auspices of the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) and the United Nations Environment Programme. A book launch will be held at ELI’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., at noon.

Weinthal edited the new, 304-page volume with Jessica J. Troell, senior attorney and director of the international water program at the Environmental Law Institute, and Mikiyasu Nakayama, professor of international studies at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Frontier Sciences.

Further information, including how to order the book, is available at or through