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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

Themenklasse 2019/20

Deutschlandstipendium Scholarships on Sustainability & Global Justice

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Themenklasse Bild 2019_2020.jpg

Water Security

The academic year 2019/20 marks the seventh installation of the Deutschlandstipendium-Themenklasse "Sustainability and Global Justice," funded by the Stiftung Humboldt-Universität, as part of the interdisciplinary research at IRI THESys. Throughout the year, the 15 scholarship recipients, Master's and advanced Bachelor's students of a range of disciplines including geography, social and cultural anthropology, philosophy, law, economics, and agricultural sciences, will investigate wide-ranging topics on water security. Specifically, their research will focus on the topic of drought. The choice of research was inspired by the heatwave which hit Europe in the summer of 2018. The 2019/20 cohort was supervised by IRI THESys members Tobias Krüger and Bettina König, as well as graduate researchers Janine Hauer, Lukas Tank and Marcel Twele.

Throughout two semesters, the Themenklasse investigated different aspects of the subject of drought and water (in)security. Core questions dealt with issues of drought and social justice, drought and agriculture, drought and governance, and the limits of ecosystem resilience. The aim was to link up locally gathered findings with global developments. In this context, the students also addressed the question of whether terms of water (in)security are even appropriate to describing the situation in Germany. Given that we live in a welfare state, is it justified for us to claim the notion/concept of water security? To what extent does Germany's water security burden other states, especially in the Global South? And what even is a concrete definition of 'waste of water'?

The scholarship recipients investigated the topics in interdisciplinary subgroups using different kinds of methods (analytical, quantitative, qualitative, critical). To be accessible to a broad audience including beyond the academic community, the group combined all their findings and created innovative multi-media projects including podcasts and a presentation. These will be released on a weekly basis and can be found here.

A full report of the final findings titled 'Water Security' is also available for download.