Catherine M. Ashcraft

Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT


Catherine (“Cat”) Ashcraft is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Environmental Studies Program at Middlebury College, specializing in international environmental governance, negotiation, and dispute resolution, particularly as relates to water. Having worked as a mediator and helped facilitate international water dialogues, Catherine combines teaching environmental science and policy with learning about applied negotiation theory and skills needed to solve environmental problems. Her Ph.D. research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology focused on adaptive governance of international river basins.



Managing Conflict in International River Basins: The Danube and the Nile Rivers

The basins of the Danube and the Nile Rivers are among the most international river basins in the world. In each, international efforts to coordinate river management provide opportunities for countries to articulate their interests and negotiate a shared approach to using the river. Drawing on in-depth interviews with people involved in water management in the Danube and Nile Rivers, I describe cases of conflict among different users and possible uses of the river, which highlight inadequacies in the watershed approach to managing international rivers. These cases show the need for international water management to shift focus towards mechanisms that manage differences among interests and provide opportunities for renegotiation of arrangements. These are particularly important under conditions common to river basins, where possibilities for future uses of the river are unclear and minority interests may not be able to fully participate in making decisions.

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