Transboundary Water Cooperation in the Microscope
The overall aim of the MOP9 Water Convention was to evaluate progress towards achieving SDG 6.5 and discuss good practices and challenges to transboundary water cooperation. Sessions included, but were not limited to, water and peace, the WEFE Nexus approach in transboundary basins and transboundary water cooperation.
A number of side-events were organized on the occasion of the MoP. On September 27th 2021, GWP-Med participated in two side events organized ahead of the MOP9 Water Convention.
Mr. Dimitris Faloutsos, Deputy Regional Coordinator for GWP-Med and GWP Thematic co-lead on transboundary water cooperation participated at the side event: Transboundary cooperation from source to sea – Opportunities for Action where he elaborated on the challenges in transboundary collaboration in the Mediterranean. Mr. Faloutsos introduced the “source- to-sea challenge” in the region and highlighted the key challenges that required collaboration between coastal/marine and river basin stakeholders with reference to the Drin basin collaboration. The meeting was organized by IW:Learn, Global Water Partnership, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and UNDP.
Watch the recording of the session below, at minute 38.
On the same day, GWP organized the side-event “Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystems nexus: Operationalizing solutions, strengthening transboundary cooperation.” Through the testimonies of practitioners on the ground, participants learned about the results and the potential of using the Nexus approach to operationalize solutions for advancing transboundary cooperation and sustainable natural resources management. The challenges and benefits of the WEFE Nexus approach in Zambezi, Niger in Africa and Middle East were some of the case studies shared. Mr. Tassos Krommydas, GWP-Med Senior Programme Officer presented the experience of GWP-Med in the Western Balkans, and specifically the Drin and Drina basins.
Watch the recording of the session:
Why Involve Women in Transboundary Water Cooperation Settings?
The importance of female empowerment for promoting transboundary water cooperation was the main theme of discussion of the side event co-organised by GWP-Med and the Geneva Water Hub on “Women, Water and Peace” on Tuesday 28th of September and in relation to the MoP’s theme on Transboundary Water Cooperation and Gender Equality.
Using story-telling and real-time feedback tools, the event engaged representatives of governments as well as national, regional and international organisations in a discussion on the value, obstacles and ways to enhance women’s involvement in transboundary water management and preventive diplomacy settings. Senior and experienced diplomats and water cooperation professionals shared their hands-on experience and insights on how to enhance the opportunities for more leadership roles for women in water management and diplomacy-related sectors. The event’s participants were actively involved in the exchanges and provided input using the mentimeter online tool, while a panel of prominent speakers reflected on the results of this interactive exercise, delving further on the reasons inhibiting women from attaining more prominent roles in transboundary water settings and the benefits from engaging them.
The exchanges highlighted the value of working in teams so as to utilise the skills of all, and stressed the importance of truly empowering women through capacitation and opportunities. The discussion emphasised the significance of role models and the duty of all female practitioners to lead by example, while the need for a paradigm shift was underlined given that perceptions are strongly embedded in mentality and culture. The event accentuated the time-bound and socially constructed nature of Gender, thus concluding that it can be changed, and it is in everybody’s hands to act upon it.
“Nexus Actually Works!”
During the Meeting of the Parties of the Water Convention, the achievements of the cooperation between GWP-Med and UNECE in applying Nexus solutions in the Western Balkans and the North Western Sahara Aquifer system were presented. In the dedicated Nexus session “From Assessments to Solutions”, Mr. Dimitris Faloutsos presented the two broad aims of the work in these two areas, namely to support integrated management of natural resources and to enhance transboundary cooperation. He concluded by stating that “Nexus actually works!” speaking about the experiences of applying the WEFE Nexus approach in Southeastern Europe (Drin & Drina), the Middle East (Jordan) and Africa (Zambesi and Niger basins).
Watch the recording of the session on the GWP article page.
This article was first published on October 8, 2021 on the GWP-Med website.
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