Implementing the Ecosystem Approach to Water Resources Management: learning from scenarios for transboundary river basins

Protecting and adequately managing water resources is a cross-cutting issue relevant for environmental sustainability, climate change adaptation, sanitation, economy, socio-political interaction, livelihoods and human well-being. Unfortunately, such complex endeavor has proven to be easier said than done in most regions; situation that turns more complicated when considering the transboundary character of most freshwater ecosystems in the world. In a transboundary context, shared resources are subject to competition, different jurisdictions and contrasting interests. However, water can play an essential role in bringing people together to negotiate and design participated solutions aimed at ensuring preservation and appropriate management of water and other related natural resources. The ideal is that through good governance frameworks the ecosystem approach can be implemented within shared river basins, catalyzing the benefits of cooperation among all riparians. The Water and Nature Initiative (WANI)-1 tested the ecosystem approach in 12 river basins globally whereas, in the 2nd phase, emphasis shifted to the national and regional levels. A key component of the WANI learning strategy was the Toolkit series, developed to support learning on how to mainstream the ecosystem approach into catchment policies, planning and management. For this training, a variety of resources will be packaged around the WANI Toolkits that show how implementing the ecosystem approach along with IWRM is practical and achievable. The session also aims to explore whether and how the governance of transboundary waters has improved through the implementation of IWRM principles with an emphasis on the ecosystem approach. The analysis will serve as a basis to identify weaknesses and strengths and to propose a practical roadmap towards achieving tangible change such as a global set up that allows for basin specific governance schemes to be easily implemented at the national and the local level.

Learning resources - WANI toolkits:

CHANGE - Adaptation of water resources management to climate change

Climate change is here and will be with us for the long term. The challenge facing water professionals is how to make decisions in the face of this new uncertainty. This book outlines a new management approach that moves beyond technical quick fixes towards a more adaptive style that is inclusive and innovative. Only by thinking, working and learning together can we tackle the impacts on water resources and uncertainties induced by climate change.

http://data.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/2003-004.pdf

FLOW – The essentials of environmental flows

This guide offers practical advice for the implementation of environmental flows in the river basins of the world. It explains how to assess flow requirements, change the legal and financial framework, and involve stakeholders in negotiations. FLOW sets out a path from conflict over limited water resources and environmental degradation to a water management system that reduces poverty, ensures healthy rivers and shares water equitably.

http://data.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/2003-021.pdf

VALUE – Counting ecosystems as water infrastructure

This practical guide explains the most important techniques for the economic valuation of ecosystem services, and how their results are best incorporated in policy and decision making. It explains, step by step, how to generate persuasive arguments for more sustainable and equitable development decisions in water resources management. It shows that investments in nature can be investments that pay back.

http://data.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/2004-046.pdf

PAY – Establishing payments for watershed services

Payments for watershed services are an emerging innovation in water management. This guide offers a hands-on explanation of the issues that need to be addressed when establishing these payment schemes. It explains what watershed services are and what their value is. It then highlights the technical, financial, legal and social aspects of establishing payments schemes for maintaining or restoring watershed services critical for downstream water security.

http://data.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/2006-054.pdf

SHARE – Managing water across boundaries

This publication provides an overview of the world’s shared water resources and insights for managing these resources. Using case studies from around the world, it describes the benefits to be gained from cooperation and the challenges of constructing legal frameworks, institutions, management processes and financing and partnership strategies to govern transboundary waters equitably and sustainably.

http://data.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/2008-016.pdf

RULE – Reforming water governance

Effective water governance capacity is the foundation of efficient management of water resources. Water governance reform processes must work towards building capacity in a cohesive and articulated approach that links national policies, laws and institutions, within an enabling environment that allows for their implementation. This guide shows how national water reform processes can deliver good water governance, by focusing on the principles and practice of reform. RULE guides managers and decision makers on a journey which provides an overview of what makes good law, policy and institutions, and the steps needed to build a coherent and fully operational water governance structure.

http://data.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/2009-002.pdf

NEGOTIATE – Reaching agreements over water

This publication will help water practitioners to negotiate workable agreements about how to best use, manage and care for water resources. NEGOTIATE makes the case for constructive engagement and cooperative forms of negotiation in dealing with complex water issues. It unpacks constructive approaches such as Multi-Stakeholder Platforms (MSPs) and consensus building, and finally focuses on the diversity of agreements which can be produced to regulate or encourage fairer and more effective water allocation and use.

http://data.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/2010-006.pdf

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