Title: Workshop 1: Benefit Sharing and Transboundary Waters
Event type: Workshop
Date: 2009-08-18
Time: 09:00 - 17:30
Convenor: Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)
Co-convenor: UN-Water Task Force on Transboundary Waters
Room: K2

Event Description
The concept of benefit sharing has gained currency in the debate on how to manage transboundary waters for development, peace and security. The basic idea is to use basin resources rationally, regardless of political and other divisions. The aggregate benefits derived from such use of water may be larger than those where water allocations and management are taken care of by the individual countries.

How can power asymmetries be addressed in a benefit sharing strategy?

Previously it was thought that transboundary waters were a source of conflict and even war. During the last decade these resources are seen as primarily a source of cooperation. Does the truth lie somewhere in between? What does research and practice say about regional hegemons, i.e. countries that use economic and discursive power to control and use transboundary waters? Can benefit sharing strategies result in less or more inequitable outcomes?

How effective are laws and conventions in fostering benefit sharing within transboundary waters?

International law offers a framework to build a governance regime that is accountable, predictable, and transparent and one that ensures public participation. But how and to what extent does treaty law play a unique role in shaping state behaviour? How effective are global and regional customary and water-related treaties in fostering cooperation? How can treaty effectiveness be enhanced?

What lessons have been learned from efforts to develop strategies to collaborate over water for mutual advantage?

The workshop presents examples where concrete efforts have been made to collaborate over water for mutual advantage. Based on lessons learned, what are the keys to success and what obstacles need to be overcome?


Chair: Ms. Léna Salamé, UNESCO
Co-chair: Ms. Flavia Loures, WWF
Moderators: Ms. Sibylle Vermont, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment and Prof. Patricia Wouters, University of Dundee, UK
Rapporteurs: Prof. Lotta Andersson, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) and Dr. Anders Jägerskog, SIWI

09:00 Introduction. Prof. Lotta Andersson, SMHI
09:10 Keynote Speaker. Dr. Hellen Natu, Nile Basin Initiative
09:40 A River Runs through it - Joint Democracy and the Provision of Transboundary Public Goods. Ms. Anna Kalbhenn, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Switzerland
09:55 Benefit-Sharing in Transboundary Water Management through
Intra-water Sector Issue Linkage? Dr. Ines Dombrowsky, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Germany
10:10 A Participatory Approach for Assessing Climate Change Adaptation Choices within Sustainable Water Management. Dr. Stewart Cohen, Adaptation & Impacts Research Division, Environment Canada
10:30 Coffee Break
11:00 The Impact of Domestic Actors on State Behavior in Managing International Rivers: An Examination of two hegemons, China and India. Dr. Neda Zawahri, Cleveland State University, USA and Dr. Oliver Hensegerth, Chatham House, UK
11:15 An Institutional Framework for Stakeholder Consultation in Transboundary River Basin Management. Mr. Guy Pegram, Pegasys Strategy and Development, South Africa
11:30 Panel discussion. How can power asymmetries be addressed in a benefit sharing of transboundary waters? How effective are laws and conventions in benefit sharing of transboundary waters?
Moderator: Prof. Patricia Wouters, University of Dundee, UK
12:30 Lunch
14:00 The Importance of Innovation and Complexity in Sharing and Managing Transboundary Water: the Experience of the Challenge Program on Water and Food. Dr. Annette Huber-Lee, Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF), Sri Lanka
14:15 Argentinean Experiences on Transboundary Water Resources Management. Dr. Silvia Rafaelli, Argentinean Water Resources Undersecretariat
14:30 Water Policy Harmonization in the Southern African Development Community: Outcomes and Development Perspectives. Dr. Bertrand Meinier, German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), Botswana
14:45 Legal Approach of Benefit Sharing: Transboundary Watercourses. Dr. Katak Malla, Stockholm University, Sweden
15:00 Transboundary Water Pollution Control Efforts in the U.S. Mr. Paul Freedman, LimnoTech, USA
15:30 Coffee Break
16:00 Panel discussion. What lessons have been learned from the concrete efforts to develop strategies to collaborate over water for mutual advantage?
Moderator: Ms. Sibylle Vermont, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment
17:00 Final Discussions / Conclusions
17:30 Close of Workshop Session

Event Summary and Conclusions
In a benefit sharing framework there is need of strategic tools for identification of what is suboptimal and to assess what improvements that is available. Often it is rather distribution than insufficient water that is the problem. Cooperation over shared resources is facilitated by democracy, trade, as well as of power asymmetries in the form of country GDP. It is impeded by differences of GDP per capita. Power asymmetries might mean “bad” forced cooperation. This is most significant in large basins, when severity is high and when one country depends on another. National governments must consult stakeholders when talking about shared benefits, but need to be careful when putting stakeholders with high asymmetries in the same room. There is no blueprint – specific requirements depend on issue at stake.

International legal instruments and capacity to develop and implement them are needed at all levels. Existing regional conventions offer good examples of mechanisms for developing best practices. At the global level, the international community should take a proactive role in supporting the entry into force of the UN Watercourses Convention. There is a need to be careful of expectations in treaties, they must be realistic, otherwise people will lose interest. Donors should not only ensure that agreements are made, there must be means available to ensure a sustainable implementation
There is need of share of data, monitoring, and model result, and common continuous evaluation of data, transparency, and trust are in order to have a platform for dialogue in order to agree on existing conditions and reasons behind them. Dialogues between practitioners and experts are needed in order to ensure transparency and ownership of research and results that can be used as agents for actions. With regard to climate change, a water management strategy that works in a world without climate change not will work when climate is changing. Consequently “stationary is dead” and climate change needs to be included in IWRM, together with, e.g., population/development scenarios.  Multidiciplinarity.is a key component for benefit sharing since transboundary sharing of benefits not only is about water sharing.  It is recommended to include water, trade, agriculture, economy, etc. in dialogues since it not necessarily is a water decision that creates the key to unlock. Consequently, other players than people from the water sector need to be involved in benefit-sharing dialogues. Local pressure groups and the private sector can be important actors as and informal transnational cooperations can have an impact. Training is investment in the future. Local people must be able to take over on their own when donors/third party is out. Domestic environmental NGO:s might have a substantial impact on transboundary benefit sharing, regardless of regime type. Available channels include court system, lobbying, awareness raising and strenghting of community level.

Finally, it was stated that a good conflict can be better than a bad cooperation – since it might trigger creativity and changes.

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2009 Abstract Volume
Poster Session
David Philips