International Union for Conservation of Nature; Nile Basin Initiative; United Nations Development Programme and World Bank
The development of adaptive forms of governance and innovative, adaptation strategies and activities to increase resilience of communities and economies is fundamental for improving water governance at all levels. Strengthening planning, legal and management frameworks for adaptive water management, and creating or reinforcing institutional structures at all levels and building linkages among those levels and across sectors is instrumental in forming appropriate responses to the aforementioned challenges. In moving transboundary cooperative processes forward a long-term perspective is imperative. A process-oriented perspective is this warranted.
This session will take an interactive approach and draw on participants’ expertise to assess the governance challenges and opportunities facing the water sector at the local, national and transboundary levels in implementing effective adaptation to climate change as well as equitable and sustainable utilization of freshwater. In addition, it will draw upon case studies from countries and basins in different geographic regions to highlight innovative practices and lessons from around the world.
13:00 Welcome and Introduction/Overview of Session. Dr. Anders Jägerskog, UNDP Shared Waters Partnership/SIWI
13:10 Opening Address
Bridging the Gap - The Challenge of Adaptive, Multilevel Water Governance
13:35 Introduction. Mr. Keith Alverson, UNEP
13:45 Information to Support Decision Making in the Nile Basin. Mr. AbdulKarim Mohammed, NBI
13:55 Challenges and Opportunities for Multi-level Governance - How to Implement International and Regional Frameworks in a National and Local Context. Dr. Alejandro Iza, IUCN
14:05 From Cooperation to Transformational Investments in Transboundary Waters in Africa. Mr.Gustavo Saltiel, WB
14:15 Questions & Answers
14:25 Regional Examples of Best
15:00 Coffee Break
15:15 Expert Discussion
15:45 Committing for Building Transboundary Resilience and Development. Mr. Gustavo Saltiel, WB , Dr. Ania Grobicki, GWP, and H.E. Amb Stanislas Kamanzi , Minister for Natural Resources, Republic of Rwanda, and Dr. Mark Smith, IUCN
One of the key messages coming from the session “Transboundary Governance for Resilience and Development” during Stockholm´s World Water Week 2013, was that climate change is an opportunity for transboundary cooperation.
A growing number of regions, basins and countries (the Nile basin clearly among them) are experiencing rising levels of water stress as climate change is putting additional pressure on the availability of water resources. This is experienced mainly through higher variability, intensity and frequency of droughts and floods. In a transboundary context, the additional pressure on the resources leaves two options. On the one hand, States can opt for unilateral action motivated by self-interest in a context of competition over water that can exacerbate existing regional tensions and eventually lead to open conflict. Or, on the other, the vital nature of freshwater can also be seen as an incentive for cooperation.
It was emphasized that transboundary water cooperation in the context of climate change adaptation takes place at a multiplicity of levels. These range from a very formal diplomatic level, characterized by state diplomatic relations and treaties framing the terms of engagement between the parties; all the way to community engagement in the context of “relatively small scale” parts of shared basins, where communities are engaging across borders with their neighbors to tackle common problems, in search of common solutions. In all this a ‘process-oriented’ perspective - including an understanding that building and supporting cooperation over shared waters - was highlighted as an essential ingredient.
Ideally, in a multi-level governance context, what is being applied and discovered at the more local levels feeds into and builds on the more traditional diplomatic approaches to transboundary water governance. This is one of the pillars of so called adaptive water governance. Unfortunately, this is more easily said than done. And the expert’s response to it seems to be very uniform: in a context in which there are formal cooperative agreements in place, we cannot and should not wait for these “formalities” as a requisite for cooperation. The urgency of adapting to climate change does not allow for it: “instead start doing and start cooperating.”
Multi-level governance teaches us, that we should be creative and even daring, framing the wills and positions of different stakeholders into adaptive strategies that can best serve the interests of all parties in search of the types of agreements that account for the most amount of benefits possible.