Conflict analysis as a tool for water diplomacy

invitation only · Webinar · 16.05.2023 14:00 - 16:00

invitation only

Tuesday, 16 May 2023, at 14:00 – 16:00 EEST / 13:00 – 15:00 CEST

In times of rising geopolitical tensions, economic crises and accelerating climate change, there is a growing need for water diplomacy. Defined as the prevention and resolution of political tensions over water and its use with the help of water expertise and diplomatic tools, water diplomacy also emphasises the role of environmental factors in foreign and security policy. Conflict analysis is therefore a useful and necessary tool to ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of water diplomacy. At its best, it can help to catalyse peaceful engagement in a tension-high situation where other, high-stakes political issues are not open for cooperation.

This webinar, organised by FIIA as a part of the ‘Water cooperation and peace – Finnish Water Way’ project, will particularly consider the potential of the conflict analysis tool for water diplomacy developed within the project. How can the conflict analysis tool be applied in varied contexts? What kinds of outcomes and further steps can it produce? Who are the end users and the audience of the analysis?

The conflict analysis tool for water diplomacy has been applied in the FIIA report “Water diplomacy analysis for Central Asia: Dynamics of insecurity and sources of resilience“. This seminar is a part of a FIIA and Finnish Environment Institute research project on “Water Cooperation and Peace – Finnish Water Way”.


Opening remarks and chair:
Emma Hakala, Senior Research Fellow, FIIA

Presentation of the conflict analysis tool for water diplomacy:
Katariina Mustasilta, Leading Researcher, FIIA

Comments to the conflict analysis tool:
Antti Rautavaara, Finland’s Special Envoy for Water, MFA

Panel discussion:
Annukka Lipponen, Chief Specialist, Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
Lasse Peltonen, Professor, University of Eastern Finland
Mark Zeitoun, Director General, Geneva Water Hub
Alyssa Offutt, Doctoral Candidate, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education
Soili Mäkeläinen-Buhanist, Ambassador, MFA

Final Remarks:
Emma Hakala, Senior Research Fellow, FIIA


Opening remarks and chair:

Emma Hakala

Senior Research Fellow, FIIA

Emma Hakala is a Senior Research Fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) and Postdoctoral Researcher in the project “Toxic Crimes: Legal Activism against Wartime Environmental Destruction” at the University of Helsinki. Hakala’s research focuses on environmental security and the geopolitics of climate change. Recently, she has been examining the integration of climate change into civil preparedness and emerging risks in the Nordic countries. Hakala also leads FIIA’s part of the project “Water Cooperation and Peace – Finnish Water Way”, implemented in partnership with the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE).

Presentation of the conflict analysis tool for water diplomacy

Katariina Mustasilta

Leading Researcher, FIIA

Katariina Mustasilta works at the European Union and Strategic Competition Research Programme of FIIA. She recently led a research project ‘Finland in Afghanistan 2001–2021’ that examined Finland’s engagement in the stabilisation and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. Her academic publications and policy analyses focus broadly on the causes and dynamics of conflicts and international conflict prevention and peace-building efforts. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the Government Department at the University of Essex.

Comments to the conflict analysis tool

Antti Rautavaara

Finland’s Special Envoy for Water, MFA

Antti Rautavaara is Finland’s Special Envoy for Water. In that role he is an advocate of Finnish Water Way strategy, which is a unique platform housed at Political Department of MFA uniting Finnish water society to work together with national and international partners towards Water Secure World by 2030. Special Envoy for Water coordinates and represents the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Trade and Employment. Rautavaara has strong experience of international water affairs in political peace mediation, development and humanitarian contexts. He has been seasoned through long term posts in Sweden, China, Ethiopia and Nepal and has previously worked for UNICEF, UNDP and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Panel discussion

Annukka Lipponen

Chief Specialist, Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

Annukka Lipponen works as Chief Specialist focusing on international cooperation in water management at the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Her responsibilities include the EU and international water policy, bilateral water cooperation, as well as promotion of water expertise and business. For 12 years (2003-2021), she was responsible for work on monitoring and assessment of transboundary waters in the secretariat of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. From 2008 to 2009, Dr Lipponen promoted water sciences and capacity building worldwide as programme specialist in UNESCO, including both at headquarters and in Central Asia. Her research at the Finnish Environment Institute supported protection and use of groundwater, and she was granted a Ph. D. by the University of Helsinki (2006).

Lasse Peltonen

Professor, University of Eastern Finland

Lasse Peltonen works as professor of environmental governance and conflict resolution at University of Eastern Finland (UEF). He has both academic and practical experience in conflict resolution and collaborative approaches in environmental, land use and natural resource contexts. Over the past four years, he has led a research project ‘CORE’ on Collaborative tools in environmental planning and decision-making, funded by the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland. At UEF, he also co-leads the Master’s program on environmental policy and law. Complementing his academic work, he has co-founded Akordi Oy, a pioneering not-for-profit company providing neutral third party services in difficult environmental and natural resource processes in Finland.

Mark Zeitoun

Director General, Geneva Water Hub

Mark Zeitoun is Director General of the Geneva Water Hub and Professor of Water Security at the University of East Anglia. He has led multiple research and water supply projects, and supported water negotiations throughout the Middle East and Africa. His research focuses on international transboundary water conflict and cooperation, the influence of armed conflict on water services, and the links between water and health. He has consulted for a wide range of humanitarian and development organisations, and authored dozens of books and journal articles. His most recent book Reflections: Understanding our Use and Abuse of Water was published by Oxford University Press in 2023.

Alyssa Offutt

Doctoral Candidate, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education

Alyssa Offutt is a doctoral candidate in water conflict, cooperation, and diplomacy at the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education. She researches the multi-scalar relationships between water quality, conflict, cooperation, and environmental justice in transboundary basins. In her role at the institute, she also implements Water Diplomacy initiatives and contributes to the Water, Peace and Security partnership with work in Mali, Iraq, global capacity development, and as part of the management team. Prior to her current position, Alyssa worked as a professional environmental engineer specializing in contaminant fate and transport. Alyssa holds a M.S. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, master’s degrees from a joint Water Cooperation and Diplomacy program between the U.N. mandated University for Peace (Costa Rica), IHE Delft (Netherlands), and Oregon State University (United States), and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Soili Mäkeläinen-Buhanist

Ambassador, MFA

Soili Mäkeläinen-Buhanist is Finland´s Ambassador in Astana, covering Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic since September 2020. During her career she has previously worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Senior Adviser in the Department for International Trade and as Director of the Unit for Regional Cooperation in the Department for Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. She has also served as Head of the Trade and Economic Sector in Embassies in Moscow and Washington. In addition, she has worked as Adviser in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London.