International Centre for Water Cooperation

Water cooperation allows policy developers, advisors, practitioners and academics to work towards reducing conflict and increasing economic development and growth at a local, national or regional level. The International Centre for Water Cooperation (ICWC) supports this process by developing world-leading knowledge and capacity through international research, training, outreach and policy advice.

ICWC is the first UNESCO Category II Centre in Sweden, and the first in the world to focus on transboundary water management in connection with peace, conflict and regional development.

Water Cooperation

Transboundary Water Cooperation

Cooperation over shared water resources is essential for securing water for future generations, and can in fact open new opportunities for riparian states to sustainably develop their common water resources. It can also assist decision-makers and practitioners at local, national and regional levels to reduce conflict and increase economic development and growth.

Tensions over shared water resources often influence national security priorities. They are also closely linked to a wider set of economic, social and geopolitical issues.

Water Diplomacy

Water diplomacy is a dynamic process that seeks to develop reasonable, sustainable and peaceful solutions to water allocation and management while promoting regional cooperation and collaboration. It enables countries to negotiate agreements on the allocation and management of internationally shared water resources.

Legal Frameworks

Sound legal frameworks at the global, regional and basin level, and effective and sustainable legal and institutional frameworks at the basin level (transboundary rivers and lake basins and/or aquifers) can also be conducive to stable and reliable cooperation, increasing security for competing uses and for preventing conflicts in shared basins.


The management of these vital resources faces many challenges, including the need for the regular exchange of data and information. Such an exchange is fundamental for establishing good cooperation between countries, whether for routine water resource operational management or for medium or long-term basin planning.

Benefit of Cooperation

Cooperation on transboundary waters often results in benefits reaching well beyond the water sector. Common to most country development agendas are goals to provide for sustainable development and improved livelihoods; water-, food- and energy security; and the need for healthy ecosystems and cooperation can increase benefits to basin countries.

Research school

The Research School for International Water Cooperation aims to address water cooperation in its broadest sense with a primary focus on water for peace and development.By critically analyzing existing research on the linkage between water scarcity and international conflict, and cooperation it improves our understanding of the mechanisms behind water-induced peace.

The research school has been established at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research as part of ICWC. It currently hosts three PhD candidates:

Charlotte Grech-Madin
Charlotte Grech-Madin’s research interests focus on the Middle East and Southern Africa, specifically the Euphrates and Okavango River Basins.

Charlotte holds a First-Class Honours degree in Government and International Relations from the University of Sydney, where she wrote a thesis exploring the sanctuary of water from inter-state conflict. She also tutored in Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. Recently, Charlotte worked as a research assistant for the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, and as a Visiting Scholar with the EU-funded Transworld-FP7 project at the University of Siena.

Kyungmee Kim
Kyungmee Kim’s research interests include interstate and intrastate conflicts and cooperation over water resource development including hydropower and irrigation infrastructure in Southeast Asia.

Kyungmee holds a master’s degree in Sustainable Development from Uppsala University. In her master’s thesis, Kyungmee focused on Transboundary Water Management and Sustainable Development in the Mekong River Basin. For the past few years, she worked asProgramme Officer for the Transboundary Water Management team at SIWI.

Stefan Döring 
Stefan Döring’s research interests include resource and power sharing, societal effects from dam building, and energy policy.

Stefan holds a Master of Social Science from the Department of Peace and Conflict Research (Uppsala University). His Master’s thesis dealt with the role of resources from dams in intra-state wars. Stefan also completed a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of Rostock. Recently, Stefan worked as a research assistant at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research.


The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) has offered bespoke Water Diplomacy training courses to inter-governmental organisations (such as the European Commission), river basin organisations (Mekong, Orange-Senqu, Incomati, Nile) and national governments (Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Palestine, Indonesia).

Training courses are aimed at mid-career to senior professionals from government and other sectors and are anywhere between one to five days in duration. An emphasis is placed on applying leading-edge pedagogic approaches suited to precipitating peer-to-peer knowledge exchange.

The UNESCO International Centre for Water Cooperation (ICWC) hosted at SIWI specialises in the design and implementation of training courses on Water Diplomacy, drawing on an extensive network of internationally-recognised expert professionals.

For more information on Water Diplomacy courses which SIWI can develop for your organisation, please contact Maria Vink.

Create your own curriculum

What concepts and approaches, what tools and skills are you looking to develop or enhance within the field of International Water Cooperation and Diplomacy?

Pick from the list below what you are most interested in and the ICWC will develop a curriculum with you and co-ordinate the leading thinkers and practitioners in the world to provide training that is tailor-made to your requirements!


Contact us

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An independent research institute, the ICWC is hosted by SIWI and delivered in partnership with the Swedish Government and SIWI, under the auspices of UNESCO.

The ICWC has also partnered with Uppsala University and SIWI to open the Research School for International Water Cooperation.