Abdulrazzak coordinating action at the regional level


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Abdulrazzak coordinating action at the regional level

  1. 1. Water resources management initiatives; toward enhance coordination at the regional level Mohamed J. Abdulrazzak Professor of water resources management Arabian Gulf University, BahrainI-Water PolicyThe Arab region being located in the most water scarce parts of world will be facing in 2025 amajor challenge of the widening the water supplies and demand gap attributed to thelimited renewable water sources and the expected; high population growth, increases waterrequirement for the dynamic socio-economic development activities and negative impact ofclimate change. Overcoming the expected water deficit in 2025 estimated at 237 billioncubic meter (bcm) due to imbalance between supply of 258 bcm and demand of 495 bcm willmake it necessary to augment the supply through further mining of groundwater, increaseddependency on desalination ,reuse of adequately treated wastewater sources and mitigation ofclimate change measures impact combined with the need to implement integratedmanagement measures that should take into consideration enforced coordination with otherdevelopmental polices and the prevailing harsh arid environment, social, economic and culturalconditions. The past rigid short term water policies of the last four decades that haveemphasized supply management and fragmented management measure must give way tonew management tools to develop a flexible policy coordinated with other relevant policies(agriculture, finance, social, environment, energy, urban, trade, industry) to achieve watersustainability and ecosystem protection and migration of climate change impact.The past explicit or implicit water policies in the region of the 1960-2000 period have addressedwater resources scarcity through securing adequate supplies and services with good watersupply and sanitation coverage meeting the MDG targets specially in the urban areas andexpansion of irrigation schemes that have lead to extensive groundwater mining. Howevergovernments of the region have realized the shortcoming of supply provision limitation fromrenewable water sources as sources have reached their physical limit and have began 2000 topay more attention to the development of water policies in line with the internationally knownintegrated water resources management approach (IWRM) with longer planning horizons tocope with the expect water deficit challenge. Governments of the region have endorsed the Sustainable Development Submit (WSSD)recommendation to formulate integrated water resources management plan by the year 2005.This target has been achieved with mixed result as only few countries formulated theirmanagement plans. Effective water resources management framework in line with IWRMapproach must emphasis enhanced water use effect in all development sectors in efficiencyand allocation ,supply-demand management supported by effective and enforced institutionalarrangement and legal frameworks ,mandated coordination with other related policies, 1
  2. 2. enhance of stakeholder participation ,strengthening of water governance issues, forgingpartnership with private sector, effective regional cooperation through UN and regionalorganizations, committing adequate financial and trained human resources and preservation ofthe environment integrity. Such complex IWRM approach will enable government of the regionto shift from rigid traditional approach of supply augmentation and as services providers to theimplementation of more flexible integrated management measures and as regulator ofservices.II-Regional CooperationWater management at the regional level requires coordination among leading United Nationsand regional organizations active in the water and water related fields as they can play crucialroles in enhancing cooperation and cooperation of their water management program toenhance delivery of capacity building initiatives, implementation of regional projects, creationof think tank centers and act as neutral and credible players in assisting countries in studies andIWRM plan formulation and implementations. The existing two coordination frameworks; theUN Regional Cooperation Mechanism (RCM) and the UN Development Assistance Framework(UNDAF) as well as the existing international and regional conventions, instruments and therecommendations of major water summits and conferences represent a viable tool tocoordinate all water management activities at the regional level. The most relevantinternational water management initiatives; are the 2002 WSSD recommendation that calledupon the member states to develop their IWRM plans by 2005, the UN Convention on the Lawof Non-Navigational Use of International Watercourses (not ratified) and the non-binding Lawof Tran boundary Aquifers. The other UN conventions related to some aspects of water is theUN Climate Change Convention with regard to water resources vulnerability, the Convention toCombat Desertification regarding land use and the Convention of Biological Diversity withregard to freshwater ecosystem integrity. The regional initiatives is the recently establishCouncil of Arab Ministers for Water, the drafted Shared Water Strategy and the CAMRE ArabAction Plan for Climate Change.Existing UN and regional organizations are mandated to coordinate their programs includingwater resources programs and projects among themselves as well as with the member statesand Arab league, however the level of coordination has produced mixed results due to theoverlapping of their water management activities, competing and domination roles combinedwith lack of joint programming initiatives, absent of institutionalized coordination mechanism,member states weak program ownership and participation and lack of funding to supportregional water management projects. These major constrains have contributed tofragmentation and implementation of similar activities leading some times to the duplication ofoutputs specially on capacity building (training and experts group meetings) initiatives ,uncoordinated technical advisory services and few regional shared water sources projects .There are 17 United Nations and regional organizations implementing two years or longerprograms cycles to address national and regional water and other environment managementpriority issues within the framework of international conventions, goals and recommendations.The UN organizations consist of UNU (water management capacity building initiatives andprojects), ESCWA, UNDP and UNEP (water management studies, technical advisory service, 2
  3. 3. capacity build and projects), WHO-CEHA (wastewater and water health issues) , UNCEIF, WHOand IDRC (water supply and sanitation) and FAO, AOAD, ICARDA and CIHEAM/ BARI (watermanagement in agriculture) while the regional organizations ;ACSAD, ALESCO belong to theLeague of Arab States ,ISESCO and CEDARE (Water studies, capacity building and projects )¸IUCN (water and natural resources),IDRC( demand management) and WB (water managementstudies and projects and the Council of the Arab Ministers for Water(water studies). The fundagencies consisted of bilateral and multi lateral entities provide limited funding for waterinfrastructures at the national levels and limited regional water projects such as the Arab Fundfor Social and Economic Development, the Kuwaiti, Saudi and Abu Dhabi funds, IslamicDevelopment Bank, AGFUND and the major donors; Global Environment Facilities, EuropeanUnion, the German, JICA-Japan, Ditch and USAID and CIDA.The existing water networks that have focused their activities on capacity building initiativesare represented by the Wadi Hydrology, the Groundwater and the Water Ethic (UNESCO), theArab integrated Water Resources Management AWRENET( ESCWA),the Water Reuse (WHO-CEHA), Islamic Water Resources (ISESCO), international network on Water and Environment(,Demand Management WaDlmena (IDRC), Cap –Net (UNDP), NBNBN-RE9 (many donors) whilewater associations are Water Science and Technology , Arab Health and Water Utility whilethe NGO are Arab Water Council, Arab Forum for Environment and Development, READ andEgyptian Water Partnership and more than national 25 water environmental societies.Water research centers are; the UNU-Arabian Gulf University Virtual Integrated WaterResources Management (Bahrain), UNESCO Regional Training Centers (water resourcesmanagement-Egypt) and (shared groundwater-Libya), the Arab League ACSAD and Water andArab Water Security studies Center (Syria), The IDB international Center for Bios line agriculture(Abu Dhabi), Observation Du Sahara Et Du Sahel (Tunisia), the Middle Easter Desalination(Oman)and the Arab Water Academy (Abu Dhabi). The list organizations including the focus oftheir activities are shown in table (1).III-Coordinated ActionsThe existence of large number of organizations active in the water management field make itnecessary that they further enhance their coordination on water management issues throughthe two UN regional coordination tools, the Regional Coordination Mechanism(RCM) and UNDevelopment Assistant Framework (UNDAF ). The existing UN coordination mechanism (RCM)scan be strengthened by expanding its membership to include beside the Arab League, otherregional organizations and funding institutions such ISESECO, AOAD, ICARDA, CEDARE, ArabFunding Institutions, Islamic Development Bank, AGFUND, Arab Water Council, and IDRC inorder to avoid duplication and steam line their activities, formulate and implement jointactivities, rational their financial resources for efficient use and increase funding for regionalwater projects. The UN-RCM made good progress when the lead organization ESCWA in 2009Beirut meeting coordinated ahead of time with other organizations to provide the opportunitysome of them to take a leading role addressing region emerging issues MDG (ESCWA), climatechange(UNEP) and food security (FAO). This process has achieved excellent coordinationproducing substantive outputs. The other effective coordination mechanism is being followedby UNESC, ALESCO and ISESCO. The three organizations exchange their two years programs 3
  4. 4. prior to their implementation and agree on the areas of cooperation in term of joint studies,EGM and training meetings and sharing of financial resources. Based on this mechanism manysuccessful water management initiatives were implement in the Arab regionThe Arab League can play a central role in monitoring and evaluating of the RCM coordinationlevel of all UN organizations two years’ biennium programs prior to their finalization and reportto the UN at New York. The UN organizations are mandated to coordinate and cooperate ontheir programs during the planning and implementation processes among themselves and withand the Arab League. The independent UN - ACBQ committee in Ney York reviewing process ofthe proposed programs always check if program coordination and cooperation are achievedwith the Arab League and other regional organizations in order to strengthen programeffectiveness in addressing regional priority issues such as water resources management andrationalize budgetary requirements. The Arab League active participation in the programplanning process can eliminate overlapping as well as enhance joint implementation ofactivities.The member states are in a strong position to be a key player in enhancing the regionalcoordination of water management program through their representation and activeparticipation in the UN inter government committees, UN Ministerial Sessions and their UNofficial focal points at their respective countries and at UN-New York. The member states mustunderstand their influencing role as their input in emphasizing water management priorityissues in the proposed programs and activities should be addressed. It is essential that theyunder take extensive reviewing and evaluation in advance actively participate in raising theirconcern on proposed issues as well as insure that programs coordination is achieved among UNand regional organization. The member states active participation can lead to their ownershipof the UN programs, strengthen joint programming initiatives and help the UN organizations insoliciting funds from Arab funding institutions and donor communities for regional projects.Also it will enhance the effectiveness and accountability of programs delivery towards effectivemanagement of water.Funding institutions and international donors should be forthcoming in providing adequatefunds to UN, regional organization, water network, associations and NGO and research centers.The Arab region suffered from weak extra budgetary funding which hinder significantly theadvancement of the water management issues, limited R and D activities and contributed tobrain drain. The Arab Aid coordination group that consist of seven funding institutions ;IslamicDevelopment Bank, OPEC, Arab fund for Social Development ,the Arab Gulf Program for UN,the Kuwaiti , The Saudi and Abu Dhabi present a viable coordination mechanism to channelfunding for regional water resources management activities.All regional organizations including network, centers, associations and NGOs and fundinginstitutions and donors should cooperate and coordinate their programs to address watermanagement priority issues ; formulation and implementation of regional water managementprojects that emphasis development of practical integrated water management ( IWRM)materials and manuals, shared water resources management studies, training of trainerworkshop and expert group meetings, documentation and dissemination of lesson learned,technical exchange visits, providing financial support sustain existing water network s and NGO 4
  5. 5. functions ,innovated research and establishment of water science and technology centers,parks and incubators to institutionalize water management technologies and attract promisingyoung and renowned senior water scientists.IV-Specific actionsi-United Nations organization such as ESCWA, UNDP, UNESCO, UNEP and FAO and regionalorganizations ALESCO ,ISESCO, CEDARE and IDRC can coordinate their programs to develop aguideline on technical knowhow on demonstration method and their practical application toformulate an integrated water management plan at the basin and national levels with emphasison data collection and analysis ,the delineation of the required coordination of all developmentactivities, required water and water related expertise ,public participation role , financial andhuman resources requirement .Actually case study at a basin level or a small scale country levelwould help national experts enhance their knowledge on the practical aspect of IWRM planformulation and implementation .The Arab Water council can take the leading role in theimplementation of such activities.ii-The UN and regional organization; ESCWA, UNEP, FAO, WHO-CEHA ,UNESCO ,CEDARE,IDRCWorld Bank, ALESCO, ISESCO, ICUN,UNU- AGU- IWRM Center ,CAP-Net ,Arab Water Academyand UNESCO Training Center, Observation Du Sahara Et Du Sahel, the Arab League- ACSAD, andWater and Arab Water Security studies Center and GEF, AWC need to coordinate watermanagement training workshops and expert group meetings in order to establishcomplimentarily among the issues and sustainability of activities. Focus should be placed onthe training of trainer to enhance national capacity and expand dissemination of knowledge onall IWRM and shared surface and groundwater sources aspects in order to enhance confidencebuilding measures between national experts as it can facilitate information and expertiseexchange and enhance the negotiation and technical skills to draft agreement and jointmanagement. The join organization of training workshops and expert meetings on specificwater management issues can be implemented by agreeing on a leading role exercises onrotational bases among the organization in order to eliminate duplication, rationalize financialresources and avoid domination by certain entityiii-The funding of regional project on shared surface and groundwater sources among Arabcountries can facilitate their cooperation to optimize the utilization of shared sources andeliminate future tensions. The current un-coordinated development of shared sources isleading to extensive depletion of groundwater sources and impact of biodiversity along coastalzone and increased salt water intrusion. Such regional project represent a priority issues .UNorganizations should work together to formulate project document, solicit funding and work incomplementarily bases for its implementation. Organizations that may be involved; UNESCO,UNEP, CERADRE, ACSAD, Water and Arab Water Security studies Center, Observation Du SaharaEt Du Sahel. Funding agencies by partial or complete financed by Arab Funds, donors and GEFand Islamic Bank.iv- Irrigation water management represents a priority issues as it is the major water consumerin the Arab region. Regional project needs to address agriculture policy in relation to foodsecurity and water scarcity and impacts of desertification and biodiversity. Suggested projectneeds to focus on irrigation efficiency and water allocation, land use, biodiversity of freshwater 5
  6. 6. coastal zones. FAO, ICARDA, ESCWA, ACSAD and AOAD can cooperate to formulate andimplement such regional project. Leading role can be designated to FAO or AOAD .Potentialfunding sources could the Arab Fun, and international donors.V-Research and development projects need to focus on the development of water assessmentmethodology that can apply under arid condition as well as the evaluation of practical watermanagement measures that take into consideration the environment, economic, social, culturaland religious conditions of the Arab region. The institutionalization of technology ;desalination,solar energy, water saving devices, appropriate and low cost wastewater treatment throughtechnology centers and science parks such as the ones recently established by ESCWA inJordan and Dubai. Such initiatives will lead to the availability of well trained scientific andtechnical cadres, reduce brain drain and attract water science to the region. Organizations thatcan be involved are ESCWA, UNDP, UNESCO, ALESCO, ISESCO MEDRIC and other centers andleading universities.V-Concluding remarksIt is evidence that a large numbers of organizations are active in the Arab region addressingwater resources management issues, however their contributions have produced mixedachievements due to the lack of coordination, weak participation by the member states and theArab league, and NGO and lack of adequate financial resources contributions from the memberstates, funding institutions and donor communities. Enhanced coordination of the manycapacity building initiatives ,formulation and implement of regional projects and establishmentof R and D centers can contrite to enhanced management of water resources at the nationaland regional level, availability of well trained water professional and strengthen the role ofwater networks, associations and water NGO. The Member states, the Arab league should playa monitoring role to enhance coordination of all programs. The Arab Water Council should bereceive support as it can be an effective and neutral facilitator to advance the management ofwater resources specially on Integrated water resources management aspects. 6