This is my third
post in a series of blogs presenting highlights from the
International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN's) Water and Nature
Initiative (WANI) toolkit. The various documents in the WANI toolkit are aimed
at helping organizations improve water governance programs.
The first WANI toolkit document
that I presented in my December 21st blog was Rule: Reforming water governance that provides guidance on
understanding and developing basic principles of good water governance and
necessary elements of a strong water governance program. My January 6th
blog on Negotiate: Reaching agreements
over water presents practical steps on how to negotiate effective multi-stakeholder
agreements on water rights and governance.
This blog discusses the WANI
toolkit document Share: Managing water
across boundaries that focuses on gaining the cooperation of several
nations to establish water allocation and governance programs for international
water bodies. As with the other WANI guidance documents, this piece stresses
the benefits of engaging stakeholders with an interest in the subject water
bodies throughout the process of establishing water rights, allocation and
It presents how an integrated
water resource management approach - coordinating the management of water, land
and related resources in the watershed basin - often leads to more sustainable,
efficient and equitable agreements and programs.
Transboundary institutional and
regulatory frameworks are the backbone of transboundary water management
programs but national programs that work with other cooperative nations, are
needed for implementation. This requires that each nation incorporate its
obligations and objectives of the treaty into laws that are supported by
monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. Strong governance overarching all
parties is critical as is continuous knowledge sharing, monitoring and
adjustments - if necessary - to ensure long-term success.
IUCN's guidance promotes
focusing on benefit sharing - allocating the benefits derived from the various
uses of water, rather than the water itself. While politics will often be
intense during water sharing negotiations, focusing on the myriad of benefits
can provide a framework for structuring costs and benefits in a flexible and
fair manner. It can also provide a flexible framework that promotes the
consideration of alternative use patterns and a range of possible cooperative
Share: Managing water across boundaries
introduces four types of benefits from cooperative approach to negotiations:
- Type 1: Providing benefits to the river -
cooperation enables better management of the watershed ecosystem.
- Type 2: Yielding benefits from the river -
efficient cooperative management and development of shared rivers.
- Type 3: Reducing costs because of the river -
lessens tensions between competing land owners that can have cost
- Type 4: Generating benefits from the river -
greater overall cooperation among states beyond the boundaries of the
Each type has its challenges and
opportunities but they all focus on the positive outcomes that can lead to each
party having a clear, vested interest in developing a benefit sharing agreement
model and possibly avoiding unnecessary conflict.
Share: Managing water across boundaries
provides case studies and discusses how best to develop a benefits sharing
focus in practice. Some recommendations are to identify critical stakeholders
and engage them at the right time during the process, focus on equity of beneficial
outcome, and establishing of supporting mechanisms and institutions. Some
benefit sharing mechanisms include knowledge sharing, developing a strong
project design, revenue allocation and financial arrangements, and institution
and policy development.
Share: Managing water across boundaries presents
an approach to stakeholder mapping and engagement. Levels of engagement can
range from information sharing, consultation, participation and development
partners with agreed upon objectives, outputs and goals. It discusses the
different stages of transboundary water management processes: initiating stage,
institutional management, programme implementation and investment in water
Share: Managing water across boundaries then
discusses how to develop necessary legal frameworks and institutions and
finally implementing cooperative transboundary water management programs.
To review the WANI toolkit and
related documents please visit: http://www.iucn.org/about/work/programmes/water/resources/toolkits/