Advancing EU Water Diplomacy in the South Caucasus

Investigating the grounds for the EU to engage in water diplomacy in the South Caucasus to promote peace and security.

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Water security in South Caucasus faces severe threats, with the Kura and Araz rivers increasingly dammed, exacerbating environmental damage and negative impact on downstream communities. Climate change, in turn, intensifies extreme weather events, which, compounded by poor governance, result in devastating floods and droughts. Amid the complex political backdrop of regional conflicts, riparian collaboration and diplomacy are crucial. This project, funded by the “UNIC Seed Fund”, seeks to investigate the ground for EU to engage in water diplomacy in the region to promote peace and security.

The project has three primary objectives. Firstly, it seeks to map the challenges and opportunities related to water security in the Kura and Araz river basin. Secondly, the project aims to strengthen existing dialogue among scientists and experts from the riparian states. Thirdly, it aspires to establish and sustain an active platform involving members from the riparian countries and the UNIC partners. The overarching goal of the platform is to secure funding for on-going research and capacity-building for water diplomacy and security in South Caucasus.

This UNIC platform represents collaboration among the UNIC partners from Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands (dr. Farhad Mukhtarov), University of Oulu in Finland (Professor Björn Klöve), and Koç University in Turkey (Professor Şuhnaz Yılmaz). Additionally, the project will engage societal partners from each of these cities (e.g., Deltares Knowledge Institute from the Netherlands), along with partners from the five riparian countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Turkey). The major activities of the project include preparing a concept note with research proposal ideas, establishing a basis for a research consortium by the means of organising a three-day workshop in Tbilisi, Georgia on 3-5 April 2024. This consortium will then work to identify and pursue funding opportunities to establish a sustained research and capacity building programme on water diplomacy in South Caucasus.


UNIC Seed Fund


climate action | Water diplomacy | Security



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