Water management professionals from 17 developing countries around the world gathered in South Africa and Swaziland from 18 to 30 March to gain knowledge and share experience on the latest approaches to transboundary water management (TWM). Through the programme participants gained a better understanding of how shared waters can become avenues for peace, development and cooperation, in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. This is necessary if the global crisis over water, exacerbated by population increase, industrial development and climate change, is to be averted.
The African Centre for Water Research is the local organizer of the programme, bringing together around 30 mid-career professionals (representing governments, NGOs, private sector and academic institutions) for intensive training in the theory and practise of TWM. Participants are introduced to the theoretical approaches to the co-management of shared rivers, covering concepts as broad as international water law, benefit-sharing and stakeholder participation, and environmental water standards. The course is funded by SIDA (Sweden) and implemented by ACWR in conjunction with two Swedish organisations – Ramboll Natura and the Stockholm International Water Institute.
The theoretical portion of the programme is complemented by a case study on the Incomati River (shared by South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique). Participants spend three days at the Komati Basin Water Authority (KOBWA) in Swaziland, where they gain an insight into the reality of co-managing a river basin on an international scale. Here they meet with communities resettled due to the construction of the Maguga dam, learn about the management strategies for water allocation and do carry out water quality tests. The next module of the programme will take place in Sweden, from 11 to 15 June 2007. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss collaborative approaches to water management with members of the Helsinki Commission – formed to protect the waters of the Baltic Sea. (Anton Earle)
For more information, please see www.acwr.co.za and the profile of ACWR in our focus section below.
Published in: ECC-Newsletter, April 2007