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The circle of hydro-hegemony between riparian states, development policies and borderlands: evidence from the Talas waterscape (Kyrgyzstan-Kazakhstan)

Zinzani, A. and Menga, F. (2017) The circle of hydro-hegemony between riparian states, development policies and borderlands: evidence from the Talas waterscape (Kyrgyzstan-Kazakhstan). Geoforum, 85. pp. 112-121. ISSN 0016-7185

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2017.07.019

Abstract/Summary

Since the 1990s, transboundary water management has come to play a key role both in global environmental politics debates and in the shaping of international development policies, specifically in the Global South. As a consequence, a growing body of literature in the framework of critical hydropolitics has emerged reflecting on the role that power, discourses, and strategies play in shaping transboundary water policies and in influencing riparian relations. The focus on a state-centric perspective, however, often has led to neglect of the role of international development actors in shaping these policies. Through a critical application of the Circle of Hydro-Hegemony (CHH) and ethnographic qualitative field research in borderlands, this contribution aims to analyse how the establishment of a development initiative known as the Chu-Talas Commission, supported by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and other donors, has influenced and shaped transboundary water politics in the Talas waterscape, which is shared by Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The evidence shows that despite the international narration of the Chu-Talas Commission as a success story for water cooperation in Central Asia, Kazakhstan, through the deployment of both material and bargaining power strategies, has been able to shape UNECE development policies in its favour, impose its agenda on Kyrgyzstan, and emerge as the basin hydro-hegemon.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:72308
Publisher:Elsevier

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