Preventing Conflict through Water Governance Systems in the Greater Horn of Africa

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This thesis argues that in areas of limited statehood it is essential to prevent conflict from erupting over water resources by governing it across borders. Water governance systems like river basin authorities were setup to prevent actors from undertaking whatever they want in such areas and thus prevent conflict from erupting over water resources by governing it across borders. This enables states to still provide water, and for those areas without state governance to continue providing it, by preventing it from being used up/polluted upstream while also enabling local actors to continue to provide water resources to populations in areas without state governance . Governance is related to the provision of a collective good, therefore, this thesis will focus on how these water governance systems provide a space in which the provision of freshwater and thus the prevention of conflict are enabled. Looking at basin authorities is necessary as water basins like rivers and lakes cross international borders, which is important as it means that local scale communities in border areas often cross international borders to access it and at a regional scale upstream use can affect downstream use. The three governance dimensions are the independent variables explaining the dependent variable of enabling water provision and so the prevention of conflict, as they affect the ability of water governance systems to create spaces for cooperation at an international and the local community level. These systems are said to improve governance by enabling cooperation among local and international actors. Moreover, output legitimacy is increased as actors’ actions are, at least to some extent, governed by the river basin authorities and related agreements. This thesis will investigate these claims by comparing two cases of water governance systems, the Lake Victoria Basin Commission and the Nile basin Initiative, through combining a most similar case design with process tracing approach.  
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