Alan Nicol - Institutions and convergence: Initial thoughts on river basins and regional integration in Africa
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Alan Nicol - Institutions and convergence: Initial thoughts on river basins and regional integration in Africa

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Presentation at the STEPS Conference 2010 - Pathways to Sustainability: Agendas for a new politics of environment, development and social justice ...

Presentation at the STEPS Conference 2010 - Pathways to Sustainability: Agendas for a new politics of environment, development and social justice

http://www.steps-centre.org/events/stepsconference2010.html

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Alan Nicol - Institutions and convergence: Initial thoughts on river basins and regional integration in Africa Alan Nicol - Institutions and convergence: Initial thoughts on river basins and regional integration in Africa Presentation Transcript

  • Institutions and Convergence Initial thoughts on river basins and regional integration in Africa STEPS Symposium September 2010 Alan Nicol
  • Introduction
    • When elephants fight …the grass suffers
    • Thinking in the watery domain, does the same apply to large institutions involved in RBM and regional integration?
    • Is there a ‘regionalist’ juggernaut?
        • Examine processes of river basin and regional economic community convergence
        • Consider the development consequences beyond the oft-repeated policy mantras of trade liberalism and market forces
        • Unpack some of the social and economic issues and address the complexities and implications for local livelihoods
        • Map out a research framework that can produce new insights and help in challenging the current policy landscape
  • Regional integration
    • Key features
      • Long history of attempts
      • Complex political-economic origins
        • Self-reliance / bloc-building / post-Colonial / Apartheid response / institution-building
        • Enshrined in key declarations
        • But little internal trade generated
      • Challenges and obstacles
        • Beyond a few economies, major reliance on commodity exports
        • Population – employment – environment relationships are critical; large-scale dependence on natural capital
  • River basin organisations
    • Lifelines for development – increasingly so
      • All countries have shared rivers
        • 64 international basins cover 2/3 of Africa
        • 17 major basins shared by 31 countries (3 share 9+ countries)
        • Recent institutional development (partic. East Africa)
        • 14 major RBCs / 14 RECs
      • Account for 90% of the available freshwater
    • Significance of the RBM ‘narrative’
      • ‘ big water’ with a focus on infrastructure?
      • Pushing the post WCD institutional consensus
      • Benefit sharing…but what is this in reality?
      • What happens to small water users / other livelihoods
        • Stakeholder narratives – are they incorporated?
        • Problemsheds are not watersheds? Where does IWRM fit
    • Relationships to RECs are increasingly important – RECs are becoming economic drivers, but this is generating a Bolognaise of interrelationships…
    • Network analysis
      • How do these interrelationships operate and at which levels
    • Answers will help in determing problem-solving approaches at different levels
      • Understanding ‘institutional capital’
    • Social/institutional network analysis can be used to asses impact of network/node types on development options and outcomes
      • Significance of more loosely, but widely networked versus tighter, but more closed
  • Key issues
    • Institutional overlap and complexity (a known)
    • New policy narratives
      • IWRM and development policy – a new political economy of benefit sharing
      • New power dynamics between state and supra-national development vehicles
      • A contesting of new policy space within regional arrangements
  • East Africa / Lake Victoria
    • Heavily invested in as a regional ‘benefit sharing’ opportunity and lauded as an example of convergence
    • EAC established at same time as NBI
      • Lake Victoria designated ‘economic growth zone’ under EAC
    • Coordinated development key goal
      • LVBC now a specialised institution within the EAC
      • But relationship to NBI uneasy
  • Climate moderator in region Rich in biodiversity Largest inland water fishery Major inland transport linkage But huge development pressures Source of water
  •  
  • ECOWAS/NBA
    • Older lineage
      • NBA established 1963 – nine states
      • ECOWAS in 1975
    • High population pressure in basin and rates of urbanisation
    • Also complex downstream economic hegemon, upstream poverty relationship (above 50% income poverty in four countries upstream)
      • Challenges include: energy demand (upstream dams reducing flows), irrigation pressures on inland delta
  •  
  • Increasing confidence
    • New Water Charter
    • Sustainable development action plan
      • Defines and orients integrated and shared development of the river
    • Investment program
      • Developent of socio-economic infrastructure
      • Protection of ecosystems
      • Capacity building and stakeholder involvement
      • Comprising four 5-year plans up to 2027
      • First phase is an ‘intense phase’ of physical investments – ‘especially’ the construction of three transboundary dams
  • Implications 1
    • Migration across and within basins
    • Changes in patterns of water use (quality and demand)
    • Commercialisation processes linked to emphasis on value chains and export
    • More rapid urbanisation in and around key water sources
    • Wider development of ‘complexsheds’ (linking local water management decisions and impacts to global market forces)
    • Application of IWRM concepts, stakeholder engagement and resource valuation (pricing, rights regimes, value)
  • Implications 2
    • How to measure the strength of supranatoinal institutions?
      • Example of the recent Nile ‘division’ into upstream/downstream processes
      • Are new faultlines emerging?
    • Need to link the political economy of regional development to the logic of resource protection and access to the poor
    • So far in regional analyses little on natural resources and regional economic integration– poorly understood processes
  • Conclusions
    • Yes, the processes are meaningful and potentially important in terms of impacts on poverty
      • But little detail on the complex and fragile resource-livelihoods relationships (more understanding required)
    • Processes of stakeholder engagement are in their infancy, but genuine attempts are being made (some reluctance on both sides to overcome)
      • Are the goals and purpose sufficiently clear?
    • Provide further assistance to ensure regional integration processes and local development goals in line
    • Starting point: Towards
    • a Virtual Basin Model of
    • nodes and networks…
    … that encompasses hydrological, institutional and political economic patterns and trends involved in shaping ownership, access, availability and quality of water resources
  • Thank you