IWRM in Eastern Europe, the CIS and the Arab States – November 2006
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
- 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
- Kazakhstan launched National IWRM project at national level, supported by UNDP
- Uzbek government in year 2003 started implementation of hydrographic water management principles (basin approach),
- Kyrgyz government started to prepare national plan on IWRM (UNDP project under development)
- In Tajikistan since 2001 water reforms are discussed at highest level. (UNDP project under development)
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.
- 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.
- 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
- Stakeholder participation is a common challenge for succesfsful IWRM in the region.
- Basin committees offer a potential solution in such cases.
- Europe & CIS Region
- In many countries, water management committees (the territorial branches of water committees) existed prior to the fall of communism. So, in these cases river basin organizations should supplant them. Thus for the Eastern Europe and Central Asian region (EECCA), integration stands out as a key issue.
- There are two international commissions with legal standing in the Danube basin, one focusing on water quality and sustainable development and the other on navigation issues.
- The UNECE Water Convention Server tracks such and other commissions.
- Other new ones include a Russia-Estonia Commission, a Sava River Basin Commission, a Lake Ohrid Watershed Committee.
- There are also examples of legal reform to institute IWRM, for example in Armenia, which has adopted a water code embracing IWRM.
- Other geographical regions
- Similarly Egypt and Sudan participate in Nile basin institutions, most notably in the Nile Basin Initiative and the negotiations towards a legal cooperative agreement.
- Besides the the Caspian Sea Commission, outside the region one can look at commissions between the United States and its neighbors, as well as the new Benguela Current Commission and the Mekong River Commission for examples.
- In terms of non-river basin organizations, one might consider the Nubian Sandstone Groundwater Aquifer.
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
- Developing data collection and data analysis skills
- Introducing the principle of performance indicators in the management of water systems evaluation and to train people on using it.
- Financial resources needed for pushing forward IWRM principles.
- Proper use of natural lakes (Romania for example has 194 natural lakes)
- Measures to ensure aquatic life support in marine waters
- Protection of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and pollution reduction
- Improvement of the river water management concept and introduction of economical mechanisms
- Improving access to water in rural areas
- Flooding and droughts management under the recent/predictable Climate Change conditions
- 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
- Public Participation in Water Management
- Social Capital Deficits
- Reconciliation of National IWRM Planning with Transboundary Basin IWRM Planning: Tradeoffs between Competing Interests (Cost-Benefit Analysis)
Status of IWRM
- Global Water Partnership:
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
Global Water Partnership <www.gwpforum.org> /
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.