Water Cooperation Quotient

“Any two countries engaged in active water cooperation do not go to war for any reason.”

Strategic Foresight Group has created the first ever barometer for measuring the quantity and quality of trans-boundary water cooperation and its relationship with the risk of war. The Water Cooperation Quotient is a tool for the countries sharing a fresh water resource to advance in their cooperation to such an extent that it contributes to comprehensive peace and security in that region. The 2015 edition was prepared on the basis of analysis of the situation in 219 shared river basins in 148 countries. The 2017 edition is being prepared on the basis of analysis of the situation in 286 shared river basins in 148 countries.


Water Cooperation Quotient can be used by riparian countries:

- To assess the exact state of their operational relationship with other riparian countries

- To determine if they are engaged in basic water cooperation or active water cooperation

- To advance trans-boundary cooperation to a level where water functions as an instrument of regional peace and security

- To use water for improving security of the region

- To use water to generate peace dividend.

This tool can also be used by international organisations and donor agencies:

- To assess the quality of operational relationship between riparian countries in any river basin

- To assess if an institutional mechanism in a given river basin has the potential to broaden its utility for comprehensive peace and security in the region, beyond its immediate mandate of water cooperation

- To design priorities and policies for investments in various river basins.

The tool can be used by governments, regional cooperation organisations, the UN System and the international community at large to increase the intensity of trans-boundary water cooperation, thereby leading to greater peace and stability in the region. It can thus contribute to SDG 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.


Strategic Foresight Group conceptualised the Water Cooperation Quotient through in-house research on the relationship between water and war. The first edition of the Quotient was launched in Dakar, Senegal in August 2015 by a group of Ministers from Senegal River Basin Organisation (OMVS). Later on, the document was circulated among experts for comments, criticism and suggestions. It was discussed in interactions in Moscow, a workshop at the Nile Basin Initiative in Entebbe, Uganda, an international roundtable at the House of Lords, London and interactions in San Jose, Costa Rica. At the beginning of 2017, SFG is in the process of finalising the feedback from various workshops and interactions to prepare the next edition of the Water Cooperation Quotient.

Related Publications

  • Water Cooperation Quotient 2017

  • The Blue Impact

  • Lessons from the Learning Journeys


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