Water scarcity: don't blame climate change

Danilo Turk, Mark Zeitoun, and Muna Dajani present a sobering analysis on the state of global water management and examine how this life-giving resource can be weaponised to do harm.

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Water scarcity is a growing problem around the world, especially in the Middle East, but climate change is only half the story.

In this episode of The Impact Room, we look at the social, economic, and geopolitical importance of water. We explore how its co-option, commodification, and unequal  distribution is creating shortages affecting health and livelihoods and fuelling local and regional conflicts.

Join host Maysa Jalbout in conversation with:

  • Professor Mark Zeitoun, the director general of the Geneva Water Hub and Professor of Water Diplomacy at the Graduate Institute of Geneva;
  • Dr Danilo Turk, the former president of Slovenia, a candidate for UN secretary general in 2016, and a former chair of the Global High-Level Panel on Water; 
  • Dr Muna Dajani, a fellow at the Geography and Environment Department at LSE, and an expert on community struggles around rights to water and land resources in settler colonial contexts including Palestine and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

They discuss the gaps in global and regional water management, unpack what it means for water to be weaponised (as is the case  in the besieged Gaza Strip), and make the case for more philanthropic support for frontline community organisations.

In Southern Iraq, livelihoods have been destroyed and communities uprooted due to co-option of water sources higher upstream on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Photo: Shutterstock.

About the host

Maysa Jalbout is a leader in international development and philanthropy. Her previous roles include founding CEO of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, a $1bn philanthropic initiative based in Dubai, and founding CEO of the Queen Rania Foundation. Maysa is a visiting scholar at MIT and ASU, and a non-resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Find her on Twitter @MaysaJalbout.