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The Euphrates in Crisis: Channels of Cooperation for a Threatened River 17 avril 2015

Posted by Acturca in Middle East / Moyen Orient, Turkey-EU / Turquie-UE.
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Research Paper (Chatham House) April 2015
Project: Energy, Environment and Resources Department

Nouar Shamout & Glada Lahn *

The Euphrates River is of critical importance for water, food and energy security in Turkey, Syria and Iraq. Flowing south-east for 2,700 kilometres from eastern Turkey to the Persian Gulf, it supports over 60 million people and – along with the Tigris, with which it runs almost in parallel – has a rich history of sustaining civilization on the Mesopotamian plains.

This vast water resource is in crisis. Degradation of the river from over-exploitation, population growth, pollution and other factors has been a serious problem for many years. Now war and violent upheaval in Syria and Iraq are worsening the situation: threatening key infrastructure and preventing policy cooperation. Without urgent attention, stresses on the river’s resources will add to the already catastrophic humanitarian crisis created by the conflict. In the longer term, a vision for cross-border coordination is essential if the river is to retain its vital role in the region.

* Dr M. Nouar Shamout, is a water-management consultant with 11 years of experience in the field of teaching, technical management of water, and political analysis of transboundary water relations. Glada Lahn, is senior research fellow in the Energy, Environment and Resources Department at Chatham House.

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