Mason Simon
Water consumed upstream does not flow downstream. Consequently, upstream–downstream relations along a shared river may entail competitive use or even conflict. What is the role of communication in preventing or transforming such behavior? The present article addresses this question based on lessons learned in 3 Dialogue Workshops carried out between 2002 and 2004 in the Eastern Nile Basin, with participants from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. It indicates that the danger of upstream–downstream relations is not primarily “scorpion-like” behavior (damaging an opponent), but rather “ostrich-like” behavior (burying one's head in the sand, ignoring unilateral developments). Dialogue is shown to be a key determinant in rectifying this situation, as it is the basis for trust-building, exchange of information, and development of mutually acceptable management options. Other key factors to be considered are the balance of power between highland–lowland actors and the legal/institutional framework governing their interaction. Mountain Research and Development 2005, 25(2), pp. 115-120 Order via your university library from: BioOne
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