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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  17 Aug 2020

17 Aug 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

An Analysis of Conflict and Cooperation Dynamics over Water Events in the Lancang-Mekong River Basin

Jing Wei1, Yongping Wei2, Fuqiang Tian1, Natalie Nott2, Claire de Witt2, Liying Guo1, and You Lu1 Jing Wei et al.
  • 1Department of Hydraulic Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Hydroscience and Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
  • 2School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia

Abstract. Riparian countries have their respective values and priorities for water management, and their values of shared water often has possible impacts for their propensity to involve in cooperative management and adhere to treaties/agreements. Improving transboundary water management therefore firstly requires nuance understanding of the changing values and interests of each riparian country to better understand factors that encourage and discourage changes toward cooperation or conflict. This paper provides understanding of the evolution of conflict and cooperation dynamics in Lancang-Mekong River Basin with in-depth analysis of the perspectives of multiple countries. Newspaper articles were used as a key data source as it provides insights into events reported on by the media that are representative of each country/sector they are published within. The results depict a continual trend of cooperative sentiments towards water events occurring within the region. The six riparian states have had a greater average sentiment score for cooperation than international countries for the majority of the study period showing that the region perceived transboundary water management more positively than global audiences. Except for few outliers, the trend also shows that countries further downstream showed lower cooperative sentiments. Dam infrastructure was often negatively reported, thus, it is likely a major contributor to conflict for the Lancang-Mekong River Basin, while events that are positively reported are those that aid in connecting leaders and project developers between riparian countries including meetings, bilateral and multilateral cooperation and development projects. These findings provide the basis for further revealing the mechanism of cooperation and conflicts through understanding these inherent and diverse perspectives of each riparian country, we can gain an insight into the underlying interests that create conflictive or cooperative environments and ultimately predict and manage cooperation/conflict in transboundary rivers.

Jing Wei et al.

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Jing Wei et al.

Jing Wei et al.


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