WaterLex delivered a two-day training on integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) to Ministries’ representatives and civil society from eight Francophone African countries. Nineteen participants from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Morocco, Niger and Senegal took part in the training held on 1 – 2 December 2016 at WaterLex offices in Geneva, Switzerland.
The capacity-building activity was delivered by WaterLex Scientific officer, Dr. Florian Thevenon, and WaterLex Legal Officer, Lenka Kruckova. Dr. Thevenon provided exhaustive information on the challenges of IWRM in addition to explaining the necessary enabling framework for implementing IWRM and discussing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) specific to water management. Ms. Kruckova explained the normative content of the human rights to water and sanitation and the related human rights principles, in addition to introducing the participants to the international legal framework applicable to those rights, the key actors and the main beneficiaries. The third module made linkages between the human rights-based approach and integrated water resources management.
The training programme enabled participants to intervene throughout the two days. The discussions put forth the need to better inform, communicate with, and raise-awareness among the population and the actors on the ground on the activities undertaken in the context of IWRM projects. Participants also raised questions on specific case studies that were shared by the trainers, including the outcomes of the case studies and reasons for using certain methods.
During the second day, the participants were exposed to a variety of examples of the implementation of IWRM in African States. Mr. Bienvenu Mulwa, from the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism (Democratic Republic of Congo), presented the action plans for IWRM in the Lukaya river basin. Dr. John Poté, Senior lecturer at the Université de Genève, was invited to present on the topic of monitoring and IWRM in urban areas in developing countries. Michel Deshayes subsequently discussed the different tools used by GEO (Groupe on Earth Observations) that can help improve water resources management in Africa. Mr. Serigne Fall, from the “Initiative régionale sur les zones humides en Afrique de l’Ouest”, presented on the national policy related to wetlands management and IWRM in Senegal. Before the end of the morning sessions, Mr. Komlan Sangbana (Law Faculty, Université de Genève) discussed the evolution of water charters, as IWRM implementing tools, in transboundary basins in Africa. The afternoon session began with a presentation by Mr. André Zogo (Parternariat National de l’Eau (PNE) du Benin) on the successes and learnings with regards to PNE’s advocacy efforts to integrate the human rights to water and sanitation in the Constitution of Benin. Mr. Francois Münger, from the Geneva Water Hub, was invited to discuss freshwater management as an opportunity for cooperation and not only a source of conflicts. Mr. Tommaso Abrate provided an overview of the existing tools created by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) that can support IWRM. Mr. Daniel Sighomnou, also from WMO, subsequently discussed the WMO HYCOS project. Prior to the session on general discussions, Mr. Razaki Sanoussi (Burkina Faso), IWRM director at the Volta Basin Authority (VBA), presented on the strategies adopted by the VBA to achieve water security.
The objectives of the training were to provide the decision makers and actors in the water sector with the necessary knowledge and capacities to implement water management policies that are consistent with the three dimensions of sustainable development – social, economic and environmental, and with international standards and requirements:
- Understand the need for the IWRM approach to address environmental and social challenges that threaten the supply of water in sufficient quantities and quality for development;
- Acquire an overview of the existing mechanisms for implementing IWRM;
- Gain knowledge on the roles of the different actors in the water sector and of the other affected sectors, as well as of the setting of objectives, use of management and indicator tools, namely those used in the context of the SDG 6 and the 6.5.1. target;
- Develop adequate skills for strengthening and implementing legal, policy and institutional frameworks for IWRM and good water governance;
- Understand the value of the methodology based on the human right to water and sanitation, and the implications of the recognition of this human right on the actors in the water sector; and
- Have a vision of the local (watershed) and regional (transboundary basin) approach in low-income countries, by encouraging the sharing of experiences and of good practices.
This regional training on HRBA to IWRM was possible thanks to a generous financial contribution from the Canton de Genève.
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Photos are posted on the WaterLex Facebook page here.
Dr Florian Thevenon
f.thevenon (at) waterlex.org
l.kruckova (at) waterlex.org
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WaterLex is an international public interest development organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. It is a UN-Water Partner with UN ECOSOC special consultative status. Its mission is to develop sustainable solutions based on human rights to improve water governance worldwide, particularly in regard to consistent water law and policy frameworks, with the Sustainable Development Goals (especially SDG 6, water for all) in mind. It is an official member of the Global Water Partnership, UNDP Cap-Net, UNDP Global Water Solidarity, UNEP Global Wastewater Initiative, and Swiss Water Partnership.