The Peace Palace in The Hague exists 100 years, and this was celebrated on 14 and 15 November 2013 with an international Water Security and Peace Conference for selected invitees from around the world.
Participants included relevant water experts, water diplomats and policy makers as well as political leaders in dealing with water-related disputes, from different levels and different organizations (governments, international organizations, NGOs), and leading scientists from various disciplines from around the world. Henk Van Schaik and Patrick Huntjens were the main organizers of the conference on behalf of the Water Diplomacy Consortium, a consortium between UPEACE, the Hague Institute for Global Justice, the Netherlands Institute for International Relations “Clingendael,” the Water Governance Centre and UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education. During the session on “Shared Water Resources in the Middle East”, Jeroen Kool delivered a speech on the challenges for water diplomacy in the Middle East Jordan River Basin. This was followed by a Video Discussion with the “Good Neighbors Conference” that took place simultaneously in the Middle East, organized by the Friend of the Earth Middle East.
Rens de Man of chaired Working Group 3, which discussed many case studies of grassroots diplomacy from the Netherlands to the African and Asian continents and the Meso-American region, from the perspectives of bi- and multi-lateral financial institutions, governments, NGOs, knowledge institutions, and water users. “Water diplomacy is about connecting levels, people, sectors, countries, and connecting to the political agenda,” De Man stated in his concluding remarks. Patrick Huntjens concluded the conference with the remark that “the conference proved that water diplomacy is definitely more than a new buzz word and can be a valuable additional tool for resolving water-related conflicts around the world”.