Water crises are some of the most difficult challenges facing the world. Water-related risks to global security are linked to conflict, instability, migration and food insecurity, affecting the lives of billions of people.  

Data is fundamental to understanding how water shortages translate into social consequences, where water-related risks are highest, what drives these risks and what solutions exist. Awareness and capacity to act enable policymakers at all levels to implement these solutions, creating water-secure regions with sufficient, clean and affordable water for livelihoods, public health and industry. 

The Water, Peace and Security (WPS) Partnership — a collaboration between the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a consortium of six partners: IHE Delft (lead partner), World Resources Institute, Deltares, The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, Wetlands International and International Alert — was founded in 2018 to develop innovative tools that identify and address water-related security risks.  

map of the Water, Peace, Security Tool
Image of the WPS Early Warning Tool

These tools link hydrological, socioeconomic and political factors to pinpoint changes in short-term water availability and their potential impacts on society. Based on this information, evidence-based actions can be taken to mitigate human security risks, which WPS facilitates through capacity development and dialogue support. With WPS’ Global Early Warning tool, actors from the global defense, development, diplomacy and disaster relief sectors and national governments can identify conflict hotspots before violence erupts, begin to understand the local context and prioritize opportunities for water interventions. 

WPS provides data, analyzes risks, proposes solutions and supports the prevention of conflicts over water by enabling policymakers and communities to take coordinated action at an early stage. The consortium collaborates with a growing number of institutions, including Oregon State University, Pacific Institute, New America and Clingendael. 

As the result of these efforts, WPS is a recipient of the 2020 Luxembourg Peace Prize for Outstanding Environmental Peace.