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Les conflits autour de l'eau au Maroc: origines sociopolitiques et écologiques et perspectives pour une transformation des conflits.
(Konflikte um Wasser in Marokko: ökologische und soziopolitische Konfliktursachen sowie Möglichkeiten der Konflikttransformation)

Abstract : Water scarcity increasingly provokes conflicts with often violent tendencies. As water management is determined by socio-political structures, governance plays a key role in the emergence and resolution of these conflicts. Based on a case-study of water conflicts in Morocco, the key objective of the present study is to understand how different political, ecological and socio-economic factors interact in the dynamics of these disputes. The first of the nine chapters introduces the topic by reviewing the possibilities of measuring water scarcity and its impact. This is done by exploring the situation in the MENA-region, and by analysing the security implications at the international level as well as in the context of broader security concepts. The second chapter evaluates the value of three theoretical approaches to the study of water conflicts: common pool resources theories, environmental security approaches, and conflict research. On the basis of this assessment, the third chapter presents a specific analytical and methodological approach by adapting theories of conflict transformation to the study of water conflicts. Four working hypotheses are developed regarding the root causes of water conflicts, the type of farmers most affected and the potential for mediation. Chapters 4 and 5 analyse potential root causes of water conflicts in Morocco. Chapter 4 concludes that the political system with the particular role of the king and his alliances with rural elites is challenged by the lack of legitimacy of democratic institutions, the increasing influence of civil society and religious actors, and the emergence of new economic elites. Chapter 5 analyses water and agricultural policies in Morocco and concludes that water scarcity, the effects of trade liberalisation, and incomplete decentralisation processes contribute to increasing social disparities and may fuel conflict. Chapters 6 and 7 analyse the case of water conflicts in the Souss region in Southern Morocco. The region is highly affected by water scarcity. At the same time, it is of strategic importance to the export-oriented, lucrative citrus fruit production. In this context, the study analyses the increasing marginalisation of small farmers and the problems of public water management, which is challenged by influential private investors and illegal drilling. It also examines the pilot project ElGuerdane for water mobilisation and distribution through a public-private partnership in irrigation. The analysis reviews the project's technical and financial aspects, and its political and environmental implications. Chapter 7 introduces a typology of water conflicts developed on the basis of the author's field research. It then presents the results of the empirical investigations including a large number of expert interviews, the study of six cases of water conflicts, and about 100 standardised interviews with farmers. The chapter concludes that an important marginalisation process of small farmers takes place in the valley, reveals that these farmers are also more often affected by conflicts over irrigation and drinking water, and examines the success of different mediators in this context.
Chapter 8 points to the significance of these results for larger socio-political processes in the country and reveals four key trends characterising the changes in the relationships between society, king and government. Furthermore, the perspectives for water conflict transformation and the need for further research are developed. The last chapter presents a practical concept for enhancing conflict sensitivity in the water sector and for preventing violent escalation of tensions. It proposes three overall objectives in this regard: (a) understanding water conflicts as factors of socio-political (de-)stabilisation; (b) identifying conflict potentials and supporting transformation processes; and (c) dealing constructively with water conflicts. Concrete measures are proposed for the implementation of each of these objectives. Finally, the conclusion reviews the main challenges in the study of water conflicts and summarises the key findings.
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Annabelle Houdret. Les conflits autour de l'eau au Maroc: origines sociopolitiques et écologiques et perspectives pour une transformation des conflits.
(Konflikte um Wasser in Marokko: ökologische und soziopolitische Konfliktursachen sowie Möglichkeiten der Konflikttransformation). Science politique. Université Paris VIII Vincennes-Saint Denis; Universität Duisburg-Essen, 2008. Français. ⟨tel-00409020⟩

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