WaterWiki in UN-Water Context

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edit  ·  Toolkit WaterWiki 2.0 - The project
WaterWiki in UN-Water Context | Technical development issues | Managing WaterWiki 2.0 | WaterWiki - Wanted Content
WaterWiki-presentation Nairobi web4dev-conf Nov07 (Web4Dev Nairobi 2007 | Web2forDevConference findings) | The Contribution of a Wiki to the Development of a Community of Practice: A Case Study - Anna Maron Aug07 (Findings from study on WaterWiki by Anna)
Further resources: Knowledge Management Toolkit
WaterWiki 1.0 (Careful: Archived, non-updated version)
WaterWiki 1.0 Toolkit (FAQ | KM | Substantive | Technical | Process Step-by-Step) | "Outstanding Dev Issues" on WaterWiki 1.0 | Draft concept for the way ahead | New architecture (draft) for WaterWiki

This article is is based on the findings and recommendations from a UN-Water assessment on WaterWiki.net's niche, role and value-added in the context of UN-Water. (Under construction still)


Vision and Niche

The vision

1) From a UN-Water perspective, WaterWiki is the UN-Water family's

  • On-line knowledge base containing (jointly owned, agreed, developed) knowledge
  • Platform for joint development of new / synthesized / consolidated knowledge (e.g. "the concept of water governance")
  • "glue" between the UN-Water members individual (official) websites
  • workspace for task forces

2) From a user perspective, WaterWiki is

  • a "one-stop shop" for UN- and water-relevant info
  • a publicly owned on-line "encyclopedia" to learn about water & related topics, who's-who and who-does-what on water within the UN-system, and where to find more in-depth info, experience, expertise, ...
  • demonstrating solutions to the Global Water Crisis - by means of explanations of "the issues", case-studies, provision of further info- and knowledge-sources (incl. people), ...?

Underlying guiding principles for WaterWiki

Don't duplicate
but rather complement and "glue" existing websites, database, on-line resources and tools

Remain specific
Don’t try to cover “all” issues and sub-topics, but only those relevant
  1. for UN-context
  2. in the context of Water (Governance) & Sanitation (Access)
  3. other criteria?

Open-source / license-free / publicly owned
Use open-source software (e.g. MediaWiki)
Content strictly under the GNU

no commercial applications, sites, offers, inter-linkages

Focus on interaction between users
not (exclusively) on being a repository of (UN-Water) info. Use such resources ("info") as background and basis to support (joint) creation of new content (knowledge)
system needs to use

WaterWiki freely exchanges (shares and draws from) content from other relevant platforms
  • foremost UN-Water websites and databases
  • use RSS feeds and other methods of real-time / dynamic linking

Envisaged main applications

Develop UN(DP) publications/knowledge products on WaterWiki instead of other websites or in print format
jointly draft HDRs, background papers, articles, or other "knowledge products"
strategies and work plans

"Publish and open for edit" existing publications / knowledge products
"copy-paste" chapters & background articles
open for editing (or commenting in the discussion section) by registered users
link to original text (unetidable)
Potential publications:
  • HDR 2006 (on water)
  • UNECE River Basin Assessment Europe & CIS
  • EC Water management Guidelines
  • Other UN reports

WaterWiki’s suggested priority functions:

  1. Knowledge Base
    • The world’s river basins (linked to UNESCO-IHP TB basin wiki, use UNECE River Basin Assessment, other resources? ...)
    • All relevant UN (and major non-UN) reports ( summaries / synopsis with attached full report, URL, etc.)
    • ^Case studies / “Experience Write-ups” / projects (database??)
    • ^WWDR full content and background articles & materials (either post-production, or using WaterWiki for on-line drafting or consultation during production)
    • ^^UN-member profiles and link-map (mandate, priority/activity areas, projects and activities, contacts, reports and tools, etc.)
    • ^^“Encyclopedia”-articles (a la Wikipedia) for all UN-Water themes and (sub-) topics (Water Governance, Water & Food Security, Right to Water, Aquifer management, transboundary collaboration, Water & Health, Gender Aspects, Privatization/ PPP, etc,. etc. …)

• Lead = synopsis (before the first chapter; could be displayed as “transclusions” on other pages) • Main text with issues, explanation, etc. by chapters • Definitions • Major reports (automatic listing via tags) • Case Studies (automatic listing via tags) • UN-Water members active in this area (links to other WaterWiki-pages) • “See also” = Links to, or excerpts from, other (UN-members) websites on the subject • ….?

  • News syndication portal (via RSS)
    • RSS-feed from UNESCO Water-Portal and other UN-member sites
    • newsletters (EWMI, Hydro, RIOB, … )
    • ..?

  • Community Portal:
    • Who’s-who in the UN (agency experts and practitioners on water)
  • On-line reporting & joint writing
    • ^^MDG and achievement Monitoring

^ Directly linked / contributing to WWDR ^^ Directly relevant for UN-Water’s mandate

WaterWiki niche in the context of UN-Water

UN-Water’s mandate as "inter-agency mechanism for follow-up of the WSSD water-related decisions and the MDGs concerning water". … all aspects of freshwater, including surface and groundwater resources and the interface between fresh and sea water. It includes freshwater resources, both in terms of their quality and quantity, their development, assessment, management, monitoring and use (including, for example, domestic uses, agriculture and ecosystems requirements)….Promote inter-agency coherence and coordination, facilitate info/knowledge/experience exchange … monitoring

Expectations and potential use of WaterWiki

  • "knowledge database": definitions, background info, topics, main issues on "Water" from a UN perspective
  • repository of (annotated) UN-reports, publications, ..
  • Who's-who in the UN (working on Water)
  • What do the UN-Water partners do

  • Tool for inter-agency coordination and UN-wide collaboration on specific knowledge products
  • Develop / publish WWDR?
  • Jointly develop Indicators, Monitoring and Reporting strategies
  • Tool for coordination at UNCT / country level (?)

WaterWiki Roll-out within UNDP means ...

  • Including other UNDP regions and RSC resources / links / contacts / …
  • Establishing country pages for each UNDP programme country (mapping CO website water resources)
  • Mapping water projects (existing database or ATLAS??)
  • Uploading / linking to (or replacing) HQ on-line resources
  • Creating basic articles / pages for UNDP’s main topics (IWRM, WSS, HRBA,

Other UN-agency KM-tools and platforms (related to water)

Aspects for the following analysis
  1. scope, quantity & quality of content covered
  2. specific features and functions of the platforms
  3. "Signature Content" (and/or functions) interesting for potential use/linking with WaterWiki
  4. Strategic niche of the specific platform in a broader UN (-Water) context
  5. technical aspects of practical linking with WaterWiki


CHECK OUT! (by Andy Hudson): “the world’s 261 transboundary water basins


“2nd level UNESCO agency” education (offers courses, also online) / research / projects Target audience: development countries ; but participates in EU-research projects Involved in projects (Nile basin; Asia-Pacific)  come across many platforms. How to coordinate? Concrete need for collaboration needed to make collaboration work. QUESTIONS: What’s the concrete problem here? Who is the owner of the problem? Who is the client of the problem? Probably the 80% Google yield IS enough . Knowledge paradox: knowledge providers think different than seekers!

UNICEF (uniwiki)


AQUASTAT is FAO's global information system on water and agriculture developed by the Land and Water Division. It collects, analyses and disseminates data and information by country and by region. Its aim is to provide users interested in global, regional and national analyses with comprehensive information related to water resources and agricultural water management across the world, with emphasis on countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Some interesting AQUASTAT products include the Database, the Climate Information Tool, the Geo-referenced database of African dams, maps, amongst others.

FAO: Open Archive

With the objective of consolidating our bibliographical and documental repositories and services into a single system, FAO is restructuring and merging the FAO Document Repository (http://www.fao.org/documents/) with the FAO Library Catalogue (http://www4.fao.org/faobib/) into a integrated system newly referred to as "Open Archive @ FAO". The Document Repository was designed to manage the electronic publishing workflow and make available on-line FAO's own publications. The FAO Library Catalogue is precisely that, providing metadata for materials selected for inclusion in the FAO collection, which has been implemented based on UNESCO's CDS/ISIS software.

This so called "merge project" has as main objective the integration of the organization's electronic publishing, digital information repository, and the bibliographic cataloguing requirements.

(Source: post by Katz, Stephen (KCEW) [Stephen.Katz@fao.org] to web4dev-list (04 Feb 08)), Chief WAICENT/Knowledge Exchange Facilitation Branch, Knowledge Exchange and Capacity Building Division, FAO)

CHECK: Any relevance for water / UN-Water / WaterWiki?

World Bank

Check out: The World Bank and IFC use "Toolkits" as tools to empower the policy makers, private sectors, and NGOs in our client countries.

(Source: web4dev-post by Isky Bakri [Ibakri@worldbank.org] (14 Feb 08), Sustainable Development Unit)

Non-UN sites, platforms, resources

- www.akvo.org. people behind it (Peter van der Linde, Thomas Bjelkeman-Pettersson, Mark Charmer)?

- www.ungiwg.org/openwater (by Tim KAsten, UNEP)


Called for a meeting in Jan 08 and created 2 working groups on

  • "EC Water Management Guideline" update (make it policy-consistent with SIDA, DFID, GTZ, ...) and
  • conceptualizing a joint water km platform based on the believe that "coordination amongst us" isn’t optimal. The overall aim is "by sharing good practice, coordination would be improved" (Paris declaration)

Possible ways ahead:

Emerging issues on (1) Updating of EC Guidelines
  • UN-Water in a driving seat? / Use UN-Water platforms?
  • What about the ownership? "EC"? Democratic process? Can EU "let go" really?
  • What are the incentives for the partners to contribute (real PARTNERS vs. CONTRIBUTORS)

Emerging issues on (2) Broader Water Governance on Water knowledge management
  • How water information management can add value / do we have "Sustainable Sector Learning?" / impact of water knowledge investment and how to improve;
  • SIDA: do joint monitoring, learning, activities
  • could help govts to find quality info / advocacy / processes??

Suggested working approach: Steering Committee meeting every 2 months (??)

GWP / Cap-Net (merged?)

  • toolbox (with filtered “Google” searches)
  • overall aim: support and promote principles of IWRM
  • initiatives like waer & food / water & gender / …
  • Active in EUWI and other partnerships
  • client survey: clients are from university, NGOs, etc.  target audience OK!


  • 40 years old, located in same building as UNESCO-IHE
  • aim should be: Sector KM, Learning
  • main focus: WSS & hygiene
  • Funding: Dutch Public Money
  • Produces info products (like newsletters, portal-like websites, …): self, or supporting partners
  • FEEDBACK/QUESTIONS on EC INITIATIVE: Follow up on guideline ok. But drawing up a new info website. Question who pays for updating guidelines. No new platform, but promote money going into sector knowledge management. Look at methods to measure sector learning. Focus on what DOESN’T work ( learning)

- EC DG - website for natural resources management (remote sensing, ..) For THIS knowledge management platform: for THIS working group. Will also produce trainings, workshops, case studies (to show who is doing what), discussion forums, etc. …

WEDC (Univ.)

  • Very simlar to UNESCO-IHE
  • master courses also as distant learning courses / annual conference
  • research consultancy
  • knowledge products (briefing notes, books, monographs, ..)
  • advocates for learning and funding going into this sector


  • EUWI “SPLASH” (research support activity): gather together what’s been done on WSS research, gap analysis & targeted input to fill them towards research…  example of coordination and KM
  • knowledge partnership: website that draws together news / knowledge -> sign-posting website
  • FEEDBACK/QUESTIONS on EC INITIATIVE: Sign-Posting is what we need to do


  • water sector: 8-10% of German activities in ODA
  • Intranet: data is put in by “product managers”; debriefing from experts returning frlom missions are put in
  • Water Sector networks:
  • knowledge meta-search engine that find knowledge n all GTZ databases / websites..
  • debriefing exercise: active knowledge harvesting!!
  • "knowledge manager of the year 2005": knowledge management posts (reason: safe costs, be front-runner in sector, ..)
  • FEEDBACK/QUESTIONS on EC INITIATIVE: KM needs o be based on targets / clear expected outcomes \; must be clear for people what’s coming out of my input. Therefore: who are the clients for our knowledge (different for GTZ or IHE or ..)? It’s not about technology, but culture. De-link between research and development!!

University of Liverpool

Online modeling and knowledge sharing (vertically linked open source IT systems, from modeling to .. to presentation level)

Office intl. de l’Eau

  • documentation centre for water (library) for decades
  • now shift of focus towards CoP (networks, not databases)
  • coordinator of Ewanet: coordinate
  • WFD / Flood Directive
  • WISE ATD: knowledge branch of WISE
  • EMWIS (with WDEC)
  • run technical secretariat of INBO: per-tp-peer promoting of
  • FEEDBACK/QUESTIONS on EC INITIATIVE: Time is important and money


  • KM and Capacity Building
  • Besides classical ODA work, also research cooperation (bilateral)
  • support Cap-Net  more or less the mandate this working group is aiming at
  • support water-net
  • sup GWP, and many other initiatives …
  • FEEDBACK/QUESTIONS on EC INITIATIVE: Why are we here? What is the problem? Who are the clients?

French IRD Institute for Research for Development

  • one task is to set up a knowledge platform on water; therefore here to see how this is linking to today’s exercise…
  • SPLASH (DFID supported): oriented towards research. Aim: joint research activities among research organizations
  • creates water knowledge bases in different projects


  • Coordinates H2O sector in Latin America H2O
  • promote and provide technology transfer


Project / actors database (xls file) with all yearly results / actors done by Spanish govt / cooperation



Central Asian Gateway

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