Global Fund Research Fellows 2010 – 2011
CICR Research Fellows – 2010-2011
Alex Fisher is the Haiti Program Manager at the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), part of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. This is part of the broader Haiti Regeneration Initiative with aims to develop long-term integrated development strategies and recovery of ecosystem services in watershed throughout Haiti. He has a policy and political science background, having worked on developing Environmental Performance Indicators in Abu Dhabi and conducting research on groundwater resource management during and post civil war periods in Lebanon. He has supported analysis for guidance notes on resource scarcity, environmental degradation and climate change as well as coordinated research projects in partnership with UNEP’s post-conflict and disaster management branch. He has a master’s degree from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and a BA from Wesleyan University.
This project will explore the connections between state building in a post-conflict setting with local water management in the context of the Lebanese independence, political instability, changing access to water management technologies, and condition of weak governmental resource management. The research is intended to identify the dynamics that influence the underlying relationship of the state to its citizens through a study of water resource management institutions and processes.
The goal of this project is to explore the previously limited analysis of how the water management organizations influence dynamic interactions at or within the town and community level between the water consumer and the water provider. The driving hypothesis of this study is that the historical local control of water resource management, the absence of the national government’s authority over resource management and the increased individual control of personal water supply and the cycles of internal violent civil conflict prevented the development of the central government’s authority over natural resource management. The identity based water management institutions create multiple cyclical impacts weakening state building efforts, shifting conflict resolution mechanisms away from national institutions and preventing critical long-term natural resource management of scarce supplies.
Alex Grzybowski has spent the last twenty years as a natural resource conflict mediator. Mr. Grzybowski has participated in a wide range of mediation, conflict management, and peace building projects around the world (Southeast Asia, Central Asia, South America, Africa, the South Pacific, the Middle East and North America). In 2007, he was retained as one of 7 members of the United Nations Mediation Support Unit, Mediation Standby Team. Since that time he has been deployed to assist UN missions and agencies working in Africa (Uganda, Kenya), the Middle East (Iraq), the South Pacific (Fiji), and Central Asia (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Afghanistan). Other assignments include providing assistance to global natural resource conflict prevention initiatives, and UN Executive and Security Council briefings.
In the past year he has written a Guidance Note for UN Field practitioners on conflict prevention in the Extractive Industries and an article on mediating Transboundary River Treaties which was published in an International Law Journal. Mr. Grzybowski has mediated disputes related to many natural resource industries (Forestry, Mining, Oil and Gas, Hydroelectric, Agriculture, Fisheries, Tourism), to the rights of aboriginal people, and to the conservation of biodiversity and wilderness areas. He has facilitated agreements on benefit sharing, impact mitigation, protected areas, and development partnerships involving a wide range of parties including national, regional and local governments, the military, communities, academic institutions, indigenous people, corporations, and civil society organizations.
Mr. Grzybowski is routinely retained to support conflict prevention, dispute resolution and strategic planning in a wide range of circumstances by mediating negotiations, providing strategic advice on conflict prevention and management and training negotiators and field practitioners. He brings together a broad range of practical experience with the prevention and resolution of highly conflicted situations and the development of innovative partnerships to provide ongoing support to parties in their efforts to create new and more mutually beneficial relationships.
Mr. Grzybowski holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in natural resource management and planning and has written extensively on innovative and practical approaches to conflict resolution and prevention and partnership development.
This research program is exploring best practices in natural resource conflict mediation in pre, post and during conflict in the Middle East (Afghanistan, Iraq), the Balkans, North Africa, Peru and Colombia. The purpose of this phase of the research is to explore the feasibility of a program which seeks to engage mediation and other conflict management practitioners together with relevant UN agency and country representatives in intensive workshop discussions informed by case studies and comparative analyses.
Potential Natural resource topic areas include: transboundary waters, extractive industries, ecosystem degradation and biodiversity conservation. The program structure consists of individual research projects that are focused on specific topics with similar deliverables including practitioner guidance, capacity building and training program inputs, case studies, and academic articles.
The project feasibility study will look at the potential fruitfulness of such a project in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both of these countries are currently in a state of war. Both need to develop water resources to address current water deficits and to support future development in multiple sectors. In both cases this requires that transboundary water issues are addressed. In Iraq’s case, the country is seeking an increase in flows from upstream neighbour’s Iran, Syria and Turkey. In Afghanistan’s case increased water utilization triggers an obligation to consult and address the interests of downstream neighbours – Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan – particularly if international financing is utilized for the infrastructure development. Both countries face significant but quite different challenges engaging in transboundary dialogue.
Comparative analysis of the process design issues in these two situations will provide an opportunity to discuss best practices in transboundary negotiation process design in the context of the real challenges facing these countries, while potentially contributing specific and practical ideas to relevant UN missions and agencies – (e.g. UNAMA, UNAMI, UNRCCA, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, FAO, UNICEF, UN-Habitat, WHO).