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Climate Change and State Grievances: The Resiliency of International River Treaties to Increased Water Variability

Insights, Vol. 3, No. 22, 2010

32 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2012  

Shlomi Dinar

Johns Hopkins University

Olivia Odom Green

US Environmental Protection Agency - Office of Research and Development, National Risk Management Research Laboratory

Amy McNally

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Brian Blankespoor

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Pradeep Kurukulasuriya

United Nations Development Programme; Yale University - School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

Date Written: September 15, 2011

Abstract

As water variability in international river basins is expected to increase, due to the predicted effects of climate change, inter-state agreements to settle consequent disputes become paramount. Specifically, the mechanisms that states negotiate as part of these agreements are important. We argue that our best attempts to consider the ability of states to deal with variability in the future, rests with considering how the agreements have fared in the past. In this paper we investigate whether particular mechanisms help mitigate inter-country tensions over shared water. We utilize a corpus of documented international water treaties pertaining to water quantity or allocation, hydropower and flood-control (those issues most affected by water variability), and the Basins at Risk events database to test particular hypotheses regarding the viability, or resiliency, of treaties to water variability. In general, we argue that particular treaty features and mechanisms are more apt to deal with decreased or increased river flow – in our particular case measured as a derived coefficient of variation pertaining to precipitation and river run-off. In essence, the presence of these instruments in a given treaty should decrease the likelihood of riparian complaints, or grievances, regarding the issue at hand. Treaties are coded for the particular mechanisms sought, and the events database is combed for related grievances and events. Our theory considers other control variables, but in this draft paper we investigate one in particular – trade. Generally, our statistical analysis finds that treaty mechanisms that are flexible and binding, with respect to flow variability, correspond with a decrease in the frequency and intensity of country complaints. Particular institutional mechanisms (e.g. enforcement, conflict resolution/dispute resolution and drought adaptation) also matter in further reducing country grievances due to flow variability and consequent treaty compliance problems.

Suggested Citation

Dinar, Shlomi and Green, Olivia Odom and McNally, Amy and Blankespoor, Brian and Kurukulasuriya, Pradeep, Climate Change and State Grievances: The Resiliency of International River Treaties to Increased Water Variability (September 15, 2011). Insights, Vol. 3, No. 22, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1928190

Shlomi Dinar (Contact Author)

Johns Hopkins University ( email )

Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

Olivia Odom Green

US Environmental Protection Agency - Office of Research and Development, National Risk Management Research Laboratory ( email )

26 West Martin Luther King
Cincinnati, OH 45268
United States

Amy McNally

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Brian Blankespoor

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/decrgbrianblankespoor/

Pradeep Kurukulasuriya

United Nations Development Programme ( email )

New York, NY 10017
United States
2129066843 (Phone)

Yale University - School of Forestry and Environmental Studies ( email )

New Haven, CT 06511
United States

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