06 July 2020
  • Conflict drivers
  • Watersecurity
  • middle east
  • sahel

Early warning tool for global water conflict

This article was first published by WPS Partenrship on 23 June 2020.

Water, Peace and Security (WPS) Partnership offers a platform where actors from the global development, diplomacy, defence, and disaster relief sectors and national governments of developing countries can identify water-related conflict hotspots before violence erupts, begin to understand the local context, prioritize opportunities for water interventions, and undertake capacity development and dialogue activities.

The Global Early Warning Tool. provides the initial step in a multi-step process, employing machine learning to predict conflict over the coming 12 months in Africa, the Middle East, and South and Southeast Asia. So far it has captured 86% of future conflicts, successfully forecasting more than 9 in 10 “ongoing conflicts” and 6 in 10 “emerging conflicts”. 

Quarterly Updates: Starting this month, we are publishing Quarterly Updates to accompany our updated maps. These Quarterly Updates flag some of the hotspot areas we are tracking and describe what journalists and other actors are seeing on the ground. While we are primarily concerned with water- and climate-related conflict, the tool is designed to forecast any type of violent conflict (and can therefore be used by a variety of users interested in conflict).

See the tool here.


Our Multistep Process: Early warning is very important, especially given limits to the number of problems that international actors can track and address at one time. Our Global Early Warning Tool ensures that emerging conflicts can get the attention they need, early enough that potential risks can still be mitigated. Our regional- and local-level tools then support the next steps in the process and can be used to verify (or disprove) global model predictions, better understand regional and local conflict dynamics, and begin to identify opportunities for mitigating risk. WPS partners offer training and capacity development to global-, national-, and local-level actors to help them better manage risks. We can also help build constructive dialogues among parties to disputes (and other key stakeholders) that can engender water-related cooperation, peacebuilding, and design of conflict-sensitive interventions.

Read more about the tool and potential hotspots here.


Photocredit: Modern Event Preparedness/Flickr