“Be formless, shapeless, like water,” said Bruce Lee, echoing the words of the ancient Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu.
Written over two thousand years ago, Sun Tzu’s classic treatise Art of War uses water as a metaphor for strategies in managing conflict.
We are facing growing issues surrounding water, conflict and survival. March 22 is World Water Day, and the start of World Water Week. The focus is to promote peace in transboundary water management through cooperation, not conflict. International waters are key natural resources ensuring our global future. Where they touch on more than one country, or are intercepted by a nation upstream, they are also a source of tension.
Conflicts arise among leaders, as these transboundary issues are deeply rooted in emotions –- water is necessary for survival. And it defines a culture’s opportunity for advancement. The challenge is not only to provide a sustainable clean water system, it is also learning to manage and share resources in an equitable way. Understanding historical water disputes and related treaties provide signposts for conflict resolution and aides in developing strategies for the future. Focusing on cooperation and joint action is essential to vital transboundary waters.
The resolution process requires a tremendous effort, great skill, programs and money. It also calls for awareness. Here’s how you can get involved
Lao Tze said, “The highest good is like water. Water nourishes the ten thousand things.”
Both water and cooperation are precious. Water is life. Communication is the path. No fighting.