Innovative approaches to water security: ICTs as platforms for systemic online negotiation

sandrine michele simon


This paper presents the initial outcomes of the research project ‘Innovative approaches to water security using ICTs for systemic online negotiations’ carried out between the department of Systems at the OU, UNESCO PC-CP programme and UNESCO-IHE Institute of water education.
It presents an analysis of how water conflicts can be managed
- by being prevented through integrated water management and
- through better communication amongst water stakeholders and more systemic analysis of water problems at stake.
The paper explores how ICTs can provide both a support for such systemic analyses and an enabling communication tool that presents an interesting democratic alternative to currently existing negotiating platforms. The use of Soft Systems Methodologies represents an important step forward in negotiation methods in that:
- it helps examine how the various parties’ perspectives can be better presented to each other, hence helping taking cultural dimensions of negotiations into account and
- it supports an integrated representation of water issues, human-environment interactions and environmental security.


conflict management; online negotiation; soft systems methodology

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