Climate Policy, Conflicts and Cooperation in Peri-Urban South Asia: Towards Resilient and Water Secure Communities


Though more in-depth research on the selected cases of peri-urban water conflicts and cooperation, urbanization and climate change is still needed, tentative insights are emerging from the research sites in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. In general, conflicts around water insecurity are primarily conflicts of (water) governance, in which the causal link with climate change is hard to establish. In Khulna, Bangladesh, stakeholder analysis and power mapping form the basis for further activities around issues in conflict like salinity control and wastewater pollution. Continued engagement with government agencies, stakeholders and communities has created a positive environment for exchange and dialogue. In India, research in Gurgaon has further explored dynamics of conflict and cooperation around the control and use of wastewater. It shows that conflicts and cooperation are not mutually exclusive; conflicts can occur within contexts of cooperation. Local norms of cooperation can prevent conflicts of interest from erupting into conflicts. The Hyderabad research shows the impact of privatization of water, with dependence on (expensive) private water growing. The tanker market plays a key role, controlled by a nexus of upper



Peri-urban - Climate Policy, Conflicts and Cooperation in Peri-Urban South Asia: Towards Resilient and Water Secure Communities
Peri-urban areas are often excluded from policy and planning. Increasingly, urbanisation is having huge implications on the availability of natural resources to these fringe areas. Dr Dik Roth discusses the importance of bringing peri-urban needs and dynamics to the agenda.


Ongoing research by the consortium partners has demonstrated that processes of climate change and urbanization are creating growing problems of water insecurity in the peri-urban areas of the rapidly expanding cities of Khulna (Bangladesh), Kathmandu (Nepal), and Hyderabad and Gurgaon (India).

However, a critical knowledge gap exists in measuring their direct and indirect effects on the lives of the poor and vulnerable, and their implications for the incidence of conflict and the emergence of new forms of cooperation that are more sensitive to issues of water security for water-insecure, poor and marginalized groups. Another critical gap lies in devising innovative ways to use new knowledge and insights for capacity-building, to support sustainable, climate smart and pro-poor development trajectories that focus on the nexus of water security, climate change and urbanization.

This project aims to strengthen and empower communities for the effective management of water insecurity, induced by the combined impacts of climate change and urbanization in the use, management, and governance of peri-urban water resources of South Asia.

The project will, first, assess and compare the changing insecurities, vulnerabilities, incidences of conflict, and options for cooperation associated with climate change and urbanization. It will research local manifestations of the impacts of urbanization and climate change as experienced in the peri-urban areas of the selected cities. Building on this, it will assess the effects of water-, climate- and other relevant policies on resource-related conflict and cooperation in peri-urban water resources.

Second, through collaborative efforts between scientists, policy-makers, NGOs, private enterprises and local stakeholders, the project will contribute to strengthening community resilience and devising pathways to equitable and sustainable institutional transformations to increase water security. This will yield new frameworks and tools for generating understanding on conflicts and cooperation, sensitizing public opinion and creating an appropriate policy mix to reduce risk-exposure.

Third, the project will engage in 'south-south' and 'north-south' capacity-building of the consortium partners, of the stakeholders involved in peri-urban water insecurity issues, and of the academic world - by developing academic curricula and training materials that explicitly deal with peri-urban areas. Crucially related to development, the project will build the capacity of communities by providing them platforms for dialogue with service providers to improve service delivery and to better articulate their rights to water and service provisioning on one hand, and enhance their livelihood skills to increase adaptive capacity in the face of climate change and urbanization.


Chapter in book

  • P. Banerjee, C. Mallik(2017): Sustainable holistic water resources management in a changing climate. pp. 1 - 12 , New Delhi
  • A. Barua, S. Quarta, V. Narain, D. Roth, R. Dongol, S. Vij, A. Shrestha, S. Yakami(2018): Climate change governance and adaptation: case studies from South Asia. Edited by A. Barua, V. Narain and S. Vij. pp. 51 - 70 , Boca Raton

Scientific article

Publications for the general public


Project number

W 07.68.411

Main applicant

Dr. D. Roth

Affiliated with

Wageningen University & Research, Maatschappijwetenschappen, Recht en Bestuur (LAW)

Team members

Dr. P. Banerjee, Dr. A. Barua, Dr. C. Borgia, Mr. Z. Hossein, Dr. M. Jatav, Dr. D. Joshi, Prof. dr. S.A. Khan, Dr. V. Narain, Dr. A. Prakash, Prof. dr. M. Rezaur Rahman, A. Shrestha, Dr. ir. H. Shrestha, Prof. dr. A.K. Shukla, Prof. T. Sikor, Dr. F.W.M. van Steenbergen, S. Vij, Dr. P. Wester


01/01/2014 to 04/10/2018