The Geneva Water Hub’s Platform for International Water Law and DiploFoundation are pleased to invite you to, 'How is water protected during armed conflicts?'. This event is organised within the framework of the Distance Learning Course on 'International Water Law & The Law of Transboundary Aquifers' delivered through the Continuing Education and e-Learning Centre of the University of Geneva. The event will take place on Monday, 9th December 2019, from 13:00 to 14:00 (CET).
Armed conflicts affect water in several ways: destruction and damage to water facilities, attacks against power plants providing water supplies, and the collapse of water treatments and sewage systems, among others. Moreover, continued hostilities and protracted armed conflicts may undermine the efforts to repair, maintain, and operate water pumping and treatment facilities. Meanwhile, armed conflicts may also affect the environment and ecosystem of water resources.
International Humanitarian Law (IHL), also called the law of armed conflicts, contains rules protecting the access to water for the civilian population. Most importantly, in the conduct of hostilities, it is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless objects indispensable for the survival of the civilian population, including drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, both in international and non-international armed conflicts. This rule is closely connected to the prohibition of starvation as a method of warfare, which inherently includes a prohibition of deprivation the civilian population of water. Water itself is also protected as a component of the environment by the prohibition to use methods or means of warfare that are intended or expected to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment, applicable in international and arguable also in non-international armed conflicts. Additionally, the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions include rules on the access to water for drinking and hygiene by prisoners of war and civilian internees respectively, and the Fourth Convention stipulates further obligations for the occupying powers to ensure food for the population, and public health and hygiene in the occupied territories.
The webinar will present the main features of the Geneva List of Principles on the Protection of Water Infrastructure and how water is protected during the conduct of hostilities.
13:00 - 13:30 – Interventions
Ms Natasha Carmi – Lead Water Specialist, Geneva Water Hub/University of Geneva
The activities of the Geneva Water Hub
Dr Mara Tignino – Reader, Faculty of Law and Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Geneva; Lead Legal Specialist, Platform for International Water Law, Geneva Water Hub
Overview of the Geneva List of Principles on the Protection of Water Infrastructure.
Ms Öykü Irmakkesen - Researcher, Platform for International Water Law, Geneva Water Hub and Assistant, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
The Protection of the Water in the Conduct of Hostilities
Moderator – Prof. Jovan Kurbalija, Director of DiploFoundation and Head of the Geneva Internet Platform
Dr Jovan Kurbalija is the Executive Director of DiploFoundation and Head of the Geneva Internet Platform (GIP). He was a member of the UN Working Group on Internet Governance (2004‒2005), special advisor to the Chairman of the UN Internet Governance Forum (2006‒2010), and a member of the High Level Multistakeholder Committee for NETmundial (2013‒2014). In 2018-2019, he served as co-Executive Director of the Secretariat of the United Nations (UN) High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation.
A former diplomat, Jovan has a professional and academic background in international law, diplomacy, and information technology. He has been a pioneer in the field of cyber diplomacy since 1992 when he established the Unit for Information Technology and Diplomacy at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies in Malta, and later, DiploFoundation.
Since 1997, Jovan’s research and articles on cyber diplomacy have shaped research and policy discussion on the impact of the Internet on diplomacy and international relations. His book, An Introduction to Internet Governance, has been translated into 9 languages and is used as a textbook for academic courses worldwide. He lectures on e-diplomacy and Internet governance in academic and training institutions in many countries, including Austria (Diplomatic Academy of Vienna), Belgium (College of Europe), Switzerland (University of St Gallen), Malta (University of Malta), and the United States (University of Southern California).