Stakeholder Participation in River Basin Councils - Kazakhstan


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See also Experience: The Process of Preparing a National IWRM and Water Efficiency Plan for Kazakhstan | River basin councils (for more background information)

edit  ·  Toolkit IWRM
Key issues: IWRM Planning | National Water and Sanitation Planning | Decentralization of Water Decision Making

Experience and Case Studies:

Other articles:

Performance and Capacity of River Basin Organizations | River Basin Organizations | River basin councils | IWRM - Sustainable Water Governance on the National Level


Background and Significance

The last two of the six principles of IWRM (those of public participation and transparency and accountability) are related to stakeholder involvement in the water resources management process. These are also aspects of integration, specifically, integrating government administration with water user stakeholders.

International experience has shown that it is necessary for the water management authorities to be well coordinated with the public administration structure, other organisations (especially non-government) which use or affect water in some way, plus civil society as water users themselves. Many developing countries do not have the structure in place to easily tackle developing such a participatory water management structure.

Kazakhstan has the main components in place. The basin principle has been practiced in water management for several years with the eight River Basin Organisations (RBOs) under the national Committee for water Resources (CWR). Recognising the need for administrative, public and water user participation in water resources management decision making, the Government of Kazakhstan instituted River Basin Councils (RBCs) in the 2003 Water Code. Prior to RBCs no forum existed in Kazakhstan to facilitate this important stakeholder aspect of water management. The RBC provides the forum to facilitate interaction among water users and with the management authority.

The Experience: Challenges and Solutions

Impact and Learning

Lessons for Replication

Establishing RBC's

Under the UNDP Project for the National IWRM and WE Plan, the establishment of the eight RBCs began in June 2004. The early stages consisted of seminars and other types of forums to introduce the idea of RBCs and to inform people of what they are, what they do and how they benefit water management. Stakeholder workshops were also held to discuss and determine the best way to establish the RBCs.

It was decided to actually establish RBCs as quickly as possible in order to have an organisation in place with a working membership with which to work on strengthening the stakeholder participation. This means that the work does not end with the establishment of the RBC, but rather begins with it. The RBC needs to become firmly established and develop its own confidence and its own method of working.

One key missing link in the development of RBCs which has been identified through the work to date is the representation of small, individual water users within the membership of the RBC. How does a rural or urban domestic water user or an irrigating farmer make his or her views known and be represented on the council? And how do these stakeholders receive the information needed on which to base their arguments?

In some countries there are strong rural cooperative associations of various types which can form the basis of civil society participation in water management. In Kazakhstan there are very few such organisations despite several attempts to form Water User Associations (WUAs) in irrigation areas. It is typical of many developing countries that governments are suspicious of public participation and other forms of civil society involvement in what are considered government affairs and Kazakhstan is no exception. However, there are some RBOs that do understand the value of stakeholder participation. RBOs are key organisations in the process because they are charged with the responsibility of establishing the RBCs and the project works closely with them in doing so. Those which are more aware of the need for stakeholders and are ready to accept the challenge of real public participation will be relied on as the initial pilot basins.

The Approach to Developing Full Stakeholder Participation

The problem to solve is basically this: there can reasonably be only a few seats within each RBC membership with which to represent farmers and rural and urban domestic water users. A mechanism needs to be created on which to base their representation. The project period will be a learning process to try out the mechanisms and determine what works best.

There are two planned outcomes of the project. The first is to develop and improve real stakeholder participation in water resources management in Kazakhstan through effective representation on the RBCs. The second is to develop a method or a mechanism which can be used as a model for other countries in the CAR and CIS countries, and indeed, any others which are working to improve stakeholder participation.

A great deal of work has already been put into establishing RBCs and the initial stages of building stakeholder participation, which is how the need for the proposed work was identified. This work will build on that which has already begun and facilitate broadening its scope to a greater segment of stakeholders.

Testimonies and Stakeholder Perceptions


The Process of Preparing a National IWRM and Water Efficiency Plan for Kazakhstan Concept Note by Tim Hannan (Dec 05) on developments in Kazakhstan and around the National IWRM and Water Efficiency Plan for Kazakhstan project

See also

External Resources

National IWRM and Water Efficiency Plan for Kazakhstan


 Stakeholder dialogue writeup.doc

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