United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

The Surprising Benefits of Transboundary Cooperation

Sunday 28 August | 14.00-15.30 | Room: FH Little Theatre

For many years, conversations about transboundary water cooperation centered around water allocation, conflict mitigation or resolution, notification and data-exchange. But when countries collaborate on managing shared waters, they unlock a wide range of benefits, including accelerated economic growth, improved human well-being, enhanced environmental sustainability and other surprising boosts to unexpected beneficiaries. Around the world we find examples of where cooperation—whether guided by loose principles or formal conventions—has led to concrete benefits in climate mitigation, fisheries, food security, energy and forestry.

This session, through case studies of cooperation from across the world, will explore the variety of benefits of transboundary cooperation that have been identified and communicated by governments, civil society and businesses. It will also introduce the outcomes of new research by UNECE, WWF, UNEP and others that support the role transboundary collaboration can play across sectors. It will pay attention to how international water law in general, and the Water Conventions in particular, can be helpful in this regard. Ultimately it will conclude with ideas for policy guidance for transboundary cooperation and compelling evidence to help secure the much-needed political support and funding for the cooperation process including how the implement target 6.5 of the Global Goals.


Moderator: Lesha Witmer, WWF

14:00 Introduction

Francesca Bernardini, Secretary to the Water Convention, UNECE

14:05 Identifying, assessing and communicating benefits of transboundary water cooperation- the approach under the Water Convention

Harry Liiv, Ministry of Environment, Estonia

14:20 Carrying out a benefits assessment in the Okavango Basin – first results and lessons learned

George S .Thabeng, OKACOM

14:30 Benefit-sharing in Cambodia

Marc Goichot, Lead Water & Energy Security, WWF Greater Mekong Programme

14:40 Reaction

Kerry Schneider, SIWI

14:45 Interactive discussion in groups & report back

15:20 Conclusions

Francesca Bernardini and Lesha Witmer