IWRM in Eastern Europe, the CIS and the Arab States – November 2006

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This is the summary of the LIVE Forum I: IWRM in the region – planning and capacities, held on 15 Nov 2006 in the virtual Water Knowledge Fair 2006

The key questions for the discussion were:

  • Key Question 1: What is the status of IWRM in our regions, both in terms of adoption & application of IWRM principles as well as National IWRM and Water Efficiency Planning?
  • Key question 2: What are the needs for capacity development in IWRM in the region; and what are effective instruments to address those needs?


Part 1: Status of IWRM in the regions: Adoption & Application of IWRM principles / National IWRM and Water Efficiency Planning

Central Asia

  • Among transition states in Central Asia, the water sector lags behind.
  • Territorial separation of water resources management resulted in unequal water distribution. Irrigation water management existed for collective farming system was not effective on handling multi-water requests for water.
In the countries

In spite of these movements IWRM in Central Asia is in a very early stage. Another participant identified a lack of social capital as an issue in this region.

Arab States

  • Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen have adopted water policies, strategies and programmes that incorporate most elements and requirements of IWRM planning. In both Morocco and Yemen, significant focus is placed on basin committees. The challenge now is to build capacities in these countries and allocate financial resources to implement these policies to improve the management of scarce water resources and the delivery of water services.
  • Progress regarding this challenge has been made by other countries such as Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, but they need technical support to develop their plans.
  • In addition, a recent UNDP study identified some issues, including lack of willingness to share information, lack of coordination and capacity deficits ranging from lack of personnel to IWRM development planning.

Eastern Europe

  • There is a distinct void in IWRM when it comes to the Dnipro basin as it lacks the benefits of a pre-existing supra legal infrastructure in the form of a Convention and a basin commission.

Other key points

Europe & CIS Region
Other geographical regions


Status and plans of EECCA countries in fulfilling the WSSD target on IWRM-plans by 2005

Setting the Stage for Change - IWRM Status in EECCA in 2005

Part 2: The needs for, and how to, develop capacity in IWRM in the region

The needs for capacity development in IWRM in the region

General needs
Basin-specific needs
  • A lack of legal environment and the political will to create it
  • A need for IWRM advocacy.

Recommendations for addressing the needs

General comments
  • Include groundwater in IWRM planning - it’s been neglected too much.

Initiatives for addressing the needs
  • The main 'capacity development partner' for UNDP (in other regions) is Cap-Net, which isn't yet active in the Europe & CIS region (plans for expansion exist though).
  • Global Water Partnership, ofretn working with UNDP, offers a IWRM Toolbox and other instruments
  • There are some new initiatives by some donors to develop master programs in IWRM in the Middle East and North Africa region. These programs are developed in cooperation between universities from the donor countries and from local countries.
  • Awarenet offers a capacity building option for Middle East and Northern African states. Participants identified a need for a similar organization/network for Eastern/Central European and Central Asian states.

Key recommendations from the project on National IWRM and Water Efficiency Plan in Kazakhstan
(see also the related Experience Write-up
  • A new, or at least modern, Water Law is helpful as the IWRM Plan can be based on its approach.
  • The opportunity to establish (stakeholder) River basin councils in conjunction with the preparation of the National Plan was beneficial to both.
  • It is necessary to educate most of the stakeholders, including water management professional, in the principles and practices of IWRM. An understanding of IWRM prior to the start of the Plan cannot be assumed and developing that understanding is a two way process between the preparation team and the stakeholders.
  • There are initial suspicions about implementing IWRM due to concern that the changes will not be positive for the individuals involved. Most people fear being taken out of their comfort zone and the IWRM context is no exception. Changing attitudes is a matter of information and knowledge building to expand their comfort zones to encompass IWRM.
  • Preparing an early "draft of the draft" is necessary as it provides a tangible idea for the IWRM Plan on which stakeholders can build their own ideas and more effectively contribute to the Draft National Plan. In Kazakhstan, this took the form of a Concept Note which made recommendations on the main components and priorities for the National Plan.
  • A simultaneous Public Awareness campaign is vital to developing a broad understanding of IWRM and broad support for the preparation and implementation of the National IWRM and WE Plan.
  • An Interministerial Working Group is vital to the approval and adoption process as it forms a conduit of information between the water management authority and their respective ministers.

Topics for Further Discussion (as mentioned by participants)

  • IWRM Implementation Worldwide
  • Social Capital Deficits


See also

Status of IWRM

Capacity Building for IWRM

Europe & CIS Region

Outside the Region
  • and Environmental Research and Study Center, University of Jordan
  • Center for Development and Environment in Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE)
  • Arab Integrated Water Resources Management Network (AWARENET) such as KISR in Kuwait and AUB in Lebanon. Awarenet has developed a regional manual on IWRM that is now being used for advocacy and training purposes as well as in educational programmes in member institutions.

IWRM Institutions and Legal Frameworks

The Process of Preparing a National IWRM and Water Efficiency Plan for Kazakhstan - Report

Kazakhstan - National Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Efficiency Plan

Water Knowledge Fair 2006

External Resources

Cap-Net <http://www.cap-net.org>

GEF International Waters: Learning Exchange and Resource Network (IW:LEARN) <http://www.iwlearn.net>

Awarenet <www.cap-net.org/ShowNetworkDetail.php?NetworkID=3>

UNDP Capacity Develoment

UNDP Environment and Energy Practice

Global Water Partnership <www.gwpforum.org> /

GWP Toolbox

Transboundary Waters Information Exchange for Southeastern Europe - Homepage for the Athens-Petersberg Process Community of Practice, part of whose objectives include developing national IWRM plans in the region.

Tutorial on IWRM principles

GWP Tec Paper Nb 4

Planning training manual

IW:LEARN African IWRM Workshop (basin-coastal linkages)

The official Water Knowledge Fair 2006 website


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