How to Incorporate System Archetypes into Water Conflicts Analysis: Application in Euphrates, Nile, Zambezi, and Lake Kivu Transboundary Basins
This paper introduces and fleshes out a systemic method designed to develop a holistic understanding of states’ behavior in transboundary water conflict and cooperation. Such an approach leverages causality analysis to capture the deep structural characteristics that shape the hydropolitics dynamics and may lead to the evolution of destructive behaviors with severe consequences. The paper does so by using the concepts of the system archetype. The system archetype analysis offers insight into the underlying structures from which the dynamics of hydropolitics emerge over time—cycles of conflict and cooperation. The approach provides riparian states with a diagnostic tool to recognize patterns of destructive behaviors in the management of shared water resources and warning signs that are usually too long overlooked. Using four case studies from different continents, this paper shows how a systems archetype approach is useful for developing a big-picture understanding of the hydropolitical problem, its dynamics, and potential resolution pathways. The systemic lessons learned from these case studies can be used in other contexts, helping policymakers anticipate the destructive and constructive dynamics leading to conflict and cooperation.
Keywords: system archetype; hydropolitics; Nile; Euphrates; Zambezi; Lake Kivu