Preface


Around the world people are involved in negotiations about water. This is a book for practitioners committed to negotiations which lead to fair agreements about how societies sensibly use water. The book provides ideas, tools and inspiration.

The book recognizes that water negotiation is often complex – socially, economically and environmentally. Too often in East Asia, the part of world with which I am most familiar, this complexity is ignored or reduced to simplifications. To deal with complexity the writers suggest focused examination of Rewards and opportunities, Rights of different actors, Risks of action and inaction, and Responsibilities of all involved parties.

Too often, negotiation over-emphasizes bargaining and competition embedded in zero-sum thinking. In welcome contrast, this book has an emphasis on constructive engagement and encouraging space in negotiations for deliberation, hearing multiple perspectives and consensus-building. Institutionalizing, or normalizing, this approach would lead to more informed and respectful negotiations and, hopefully, wiser and fairer choices.

Professor Surichai Wun'gaeo
Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies
Chulalongkorn University
Thailand

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