Strong statist positions and a fixation on state sovereignty once inhibited progress toward more just and effective models of global governance. However, there can be no denying that globalization has not only led to the unprecedented transformation of our societies, but also the role that states play in the international system. Yet, even as states gradually share more responsibilities with corporations, sub-national entities and international organizations, their structural significance still remains indisputable – particularly when it comes to finding near-term solutions for better modes of global governance. This should result in a more equitable and representative international state system to which global governing structures will remain accountable.
On 28 November 2011, the NCCR North-South Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) based in Bern and the ETH North-South Center based in Zurich sponsored a half-day conference, “Water diplomacy: transboundary rivers and international politics” at the Museum of Natural History in Basel. It explored the theme of water as an instrument of diplomacy, in particular how water management can be used to solve diplomatic conflict and how diplomacy can solve water conflicts and improve resource management. The conference included 5 key presentations from experts with differing perspectives of how water issues can (and do) shape diplomacy, which was followed by a panel discussion with the presenters.
Peter Bosshard, the Policy Director of International Rivers, began with a discussion of the dominant issues regarding water use, availability, quality, and demand. He offered his perspective on whether water can be a vehicle for diplomacy, but noted that many issues still need to be resolved, especially in the areas of international law, water rights and water sector resilience.
One of they key commons of tomorrow and an out-of-sight battleground for geopolitical rivalries and national aggrandizement, space deserves a lot more attention than it gets. To put the spotlight on this overlooked issue, we present to you the ISN Digital Library holdings on the keyword ‘Space‘- let us know what you found particularly interesting and enjoy exploring the true frontier of international affairs.
Some highlights include:
- A European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) paper on why NATO should care about space, highlighting the potential of ‘space assets’.
- Another ESPI paper on how to combat piracy using space applications.
- One more paper from ESPI looking at the economic potential of space.
- A Center for International Policy Studies paper on US space security policy.
- A Congressional Research Service Report on the future of NASA and US space exploration.