Roughly 80 people were drawn to the international (Em)Powering Hydro-diplomacy conference at The Hague Humanity Hub on 5 and 6 October, 2018. They included a wide diversity of participants: current and former diplomats of all types, consultants, NGOs, researchers, as well as current and former graduate and postgraduate water and sustainable development track students from Wageningen and Delft, several of whom also presented in the parallel panels.
Organised by Wageningen University & Research in cooperation with IHE Delft, the London Water Research Group and with kind support from The Hague Local Authority, the event built on earlier work done by the London group, notably the ‘hydro-hegemony’ work of Jeroen Warner and Mark Zeitoun and transformative analysis of Naho Mirumachi, Ana Cascao, Matt Kirkegaard and many others.
Through a number of case studies and theoretical approaches, the group found ‘power’ relevant to diplomacy in a number of ways. Studying ‘power’ can highlight skews in data, for instance, or the biases that mediators and diplomats may otherwise be blind to, but also positive powering to get things done, and empowerment of previously unheard groups. Examining ‘power’ also crucially emphasises the alternatives to conflict that are budding in the narratives and ideas of non-hegemonic parties.
Watch this space for HH10 at the HHH in (late) 2019!