Water diplomacy, in the sense of third-party engagement on transboundary water issues, is increasingly being employed by European and other western governments. The main driver is the perception of looming water scarcity, fear of conflicts and even “water wars” in some regions of the world. Studies of global water-related risks back this perception. Currently, however, water diplomacy is still a nascent field of diplomacy; its necessity and instruments are neither broadly known nor employed to their full potential.
The present guide is based on the analysis of water-related economic and political inter-linkages in large shared river basins. It identifies common patterns of focal problems, drivers, sets of instruments and processes, and takes a closer look at conflicts between water utilization objectives. It outlines a general framework for an innovative water diplomacy, provides relevant background information and facilitates formulating promising narratives to promote transboundary water cooperation.