ACWR - African Centre for Water Research

Capacity Building

Training Programmes

International Water Law Training Course for the Orange-Senqu River Commission (ORASECOM)

The four basin states Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa established the Orange-Senqu River Commission (ORASECOM) in 2000 as a technical advisor to the Parties on matters concerning the development, utilisation and conservation of the water resources in the river system. The ORASECOM's objective of ensuring the economically, socially and environmentally sustainable used the basin's water resources is supported through a number of ICP initiatives.

In this context the ORASECOM Secretariat has, through an EU funded project, commissioned the development and presentation of an International Water Law course for Member States and ORASECOM staff. The training course sought to provide ORASECOM Commissioners, Task Team members, Secretariat, as well as other staff representing the Member States with an increased understanding of the rules and principles of international water law and to contribute to making informed decisions based on a sound understanding of the general principles of international water law and the legal framework in the Orange-Senqu River basin specifically.

ACWR was responsible for the content development of the training course, the development of training materials and practical group work exercises as well as the presentation and facilitation of the course.

Training Workshop on Promoting Integrity and Accountability in Water Management.

Integrity, honesty and anti-corruption are some of the least addressed areas in the governance of water resources and services. Until now it has many times been neglected or not systematically factored into the formulation and implementation of integrated water resources management (IWRM) policies. Since integrity, accountability and corruption are critical determinants of how water resources (as well as monetary resources) and services are governed and allocated, it is important to include it in a forceful and systematic way in water policy reform and implementation. With this context in mind the UNDP WGF, SIWI, Cap-Net and WaterNet supported an international training workshop in promoting integrity and accountability in the management of water to prepare for change through increasing integrity and accountability knowledge and awareness among water managers, capacity builders and decision-makers. The overall objective of the training workshop was to strengthen capacities in relation to working with integrity and accountability in SADC and other regions of the world. ACWR was responsible for the planning and coordinating of the workshop.

Training course on “The role of stakeholders in Transboundary Water Resources Management” for GWP Country Water Partnerships

The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) confirmed the importance of water and its critical relationship to all other developmental issues and reinforced the importance of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Summit called for preparation of Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Efficiency plans with support to developing countries. This included the need to develop IWRM plans/strategies at both national and transboundary basin level.

In December 2003, the Canadian Government, following up on this target, initiated financial support, through GWP, to five countries in Africa: Mali, Malawi, Senegal, Kenya and Zambia. The Government of Netherlands later in 2005 initiated support to six African Countries: Benin, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Eritrea, Mozambique and Swaziland. This support is under the umbrella of the Partnership for Africa's Water Development (PAWD) project.

As part of the PAWD process, GWP-SA with regional partners developed a capacity building programme. The program identifies Transboundary Water Resources Management training as one of the priority areas that needed to be given attention. In order to ensure synergy and harmonisation between the national strategies and basin IWRM strategies, there is need to enhance the understanding of the role of stakeholders in transboundary water resources management in order to contribute meaningfully to these processes.

Within the framework of the PAWD project, GWP-SA, through the African Centre for Water Research, have organised a Transboundary Water Resources Management training course as part of the capacity building programme for IWRM planning and implementation. In addition to create a better understanding of the complexity of Transboundary Water Resources Management, an outcome of the training course was to develop a framework for the engagement of GWP Country Water Partnerships in Transboundary Water Resources Management processes and strategies for the harmonisation of national IWRM plans with transboundary IWRM plans.

GEF IW: LEARN Activity B1.2 Regional IWRM Structured Learning Activities in Africa

InWEnt, as Project Activity Leader, aims to draw on its extensive experience, significant parallel activities, and co-financing contributions to support a series of structured learning activities in 2006-2008 to facilitate networking, knowledge-sharing and exchange of practical experience among GEF IW projects in Africa. The ACWR is working with InWEnt in the implementation of these activities, starting with the 1st workshop in Nairobi, Kenya in November 2006, followed by the 2nd workshop in Maseru, Lesotho in November 2007 and culminating in the final workshop in 2008. These activities are also complimented through involvement in events such as the GEF International Waters Conference held in Cape Town, South Africa in August 2007.

IW:LEARN's 1st Pan-Africa Transboundary Water Resources Management (TWRM) workshop brought 40 representatives of GEF projects and partners from across the continent together in Nairobi, Kenya, last October. Over the four-day workshop participants exchanged practical experiences and explored synergies between IWRM in transboundary river and lake basins and shared aquifers, and ICM (Integrated Coastal Management) in Large Marine Ecosystems. Beginning with the principle that the “participants are the experts”, the objective of this workshop was to “enhance knowledge exchange and develop learning networks between international waters projects in Africa”. Project presentations introduced challenges and practical solutions, complemented by plenary discussions and smaller 'buzz' groups exploring common issues in-depth.

The 2nd Pan-African IW:LEARN workshop will be themed on “Public Participation in International Waters Management.” The workshop will take place in November, 2007 in Maseru, Lesotho and will provide a forum for representatives of GEF IW projects form across Africa to exchange knowledge, lessons learned and innovative approaches to common problems.
More information on these activities is available from

Training Course on Environmental Water Requirements

The assessment of environmental water requirements is central to Integrated Water Resources Management. This was reflected in processes such as the World Water Vision, the Global Water Dialogue and the World Commission on Dams. For example Guidelines 15 and 16 of the WCD call for “Environmental Flow Assessments” and “Maintaining Productive Fisheries” and specify the importance of assessments of the water requirements of fish populations and the mitigation of fish losses on the downstream floodplain through flow releases. The determination and management of environmental water requirements is a key factor in meeting the World Vision for Water, Life and the Environment Framework for Action & Water Security Target on national standards to ensure the health of freshwater ecosystems, established in all countries by 2005, and programmes to improve the health of freshwater ecosystems implemented by 2015. Managing environmental water requirements is also critical to the realization of the Millennium Development Goal on ensuring environmental sustainability.

With this context in mind the Global Water Partnership of Southern Africa (GWP-SA), the IUCN, WaterNet, InWEnt and UNESCO/Fetwater supported a two week capacity building course on environmental water requirements (EWR). The partners enlisted the ACWR to conceptualise, plan and implement the course, which they did by engaging the services of environmental experts form across the region.

Conducting an environmental water requirement assessment is a complex undertaking, requiring inputs from a broad range of disciplines, including the natural sciences, social science and economics. Thus an individual is not equipped to carry out a full assessment, but rather to become a specialist in a team which will carry out the assessment. The primary objective of the course was thus to “provide participants with intensive introductory training on the concept, issues, approaches and methods used to determine and manage environmental flows within the framework of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)”. The course was held in Cape Town, South Africa from 4 to 14 December 2007.

Major Water Infrastructure Development Seminar

There is an increased focus on developing water infrastructure in Africa as an important measure of underpinning the diverse development efforts of the continent aimed at meeting the MDGs, reducing poverty and improving the general standard of living of people. NEPAD, under the African Union (AU), has prioritized water resource management and has moved for-ward with the support of the African Development Bank to develop the NEPAD Short Term Action Plan (STAP) on Water, Energy, Transport and ICT infrastructure. It urges the regional economic communities to enhance their capacity to support regional water initiatives. In so doing, NEPAD emphasises the need to address properly environmental and social issues based on thorough Environmental Impact Assessments of proposed infrastructure developments.

UNEP, InWEnt, GWP and GTZ have expressed interest to support, in partnership, capacity building on environmental and social issues in the development of major water infrastructure. AMCOW has requested the Regional Economic Communities of EAC and SADC to organize a regional planning seminar to detail the capacity building programme on these aspects to be rolled out with the support of the above partnership. It is recognized that the UNEP DDP process and in particular the Compendium on relevant practices pre-sent opportunities for capacity building for decision makers and managers on these aspects. It presents information on the global efforts in dealing with some of these issues in a progressive way without being prescriptive. It underscores the need to learn from one another through networking and on real life examples. Further, it promotes multi-stakeholder and inter-sectoral dialogues on these often controversial is-sues. These experiences have informed the organization of the planning seminar and it is anticipated that they will be incorporated in the envisaged approaches for capacity building.

The ACWR was responsible for the inception, planning and hosting of the seminar, held form 25 to 27 July 2007 at the Royal Swazi Sun in Swaziland and attended by 80 high-level participants from southern and east Africa. Currently the ACWR is working with the convenors and other development partners to develop and implement a capacity building programme to address the skills and knowledge needed to effectively balance the social, environmental and economic components of major water infrastructure development projects in the region.

Development of Training Material

Development of Training Manual on “Legal and Regulatory Framework for the Implementation of IWRM”

Legal and regulatory frameworks play an important role in the implementation of IWRM. Consequently a variety of capacities are needed to effectively create the required institutional environment and to develop institutional strength. As part of their joint capacity building initiatives, WaterNet and CapNet have joined together to facilitate development of a training manual on the “Legal and Regulatory Framework for the Implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management”. The training manual is intended to strengthen professionals and practitioners working on water laws development to suit the need of IWRM. The manual is organised in two parts: first the manual presents the content, and secondly it presents an operational guide specifically prepared to support training activities. ACWR has been contracted to contribute and provide general technical input to the manual, with specific emphasis on governance and the role of institutions in IWRM.

Development of good practice for inter-sectoral water governance in the SADC region - the Komati Basin Water Authority (KOBWA) case study

As part of an InWEnt (Capacity Building International, Germany) supported capacity building initiative in the field of water resources management in Africa, ACWR develops information and training material on “Inter-sectoral Water Governance” and on “Balancing social, environmental and economic needs in the development of Mega Water Infrastructure in Africa”. In this context it has been decided to develop a comprehensive case study on “Dams and Development - the KOBWA experience”.

The Komati Basin Water Authority (Kobwa) is responsible for the management of the Komati & Lomati River catchment shared between Swaziland and South Africa and as part of its responsibilities also manages Driekoppies and Maguga dam. Throughout the implementation of the Driekoppies and Maguga dam construction projects and the subsequent management of the river system, Kobwa has generated a lot of knowledge and experience in balancing social, environmental and economic needs in a dam project and balancing different needs as part of managing a river system.

InWEnt, ACWR and KOBWA have decided to chronicle this knowledge and experience in a comprehensive case study that will be used in capacity building initiatives and add to the body of knowledge on aspects around sustainable water infrastructure development and inter-sectoral water governance in Africa.

The case study provides a basin overview (e.g. hydrology, land use, environmental issues, population, economic uses) as well as an overview of the (transboundary) water governance framework in the basin and the projects being implemented by KOBWA. Following this overview the case study also illustrates in detail how economic, environmental and social issues have been incorporated in the planning and operation of dams and the management of the Komati basin. The case study will conclude with summarising lessons learnt from the KOBWA experience for application in other parts of the African continent.

Stakeholder participation reader development

The African Centre for Water Research has developed a case study reader illustrating international case examples of stakeholder involvement in river basin management. The case studies are from Africa (Senegal River Basin, Pungwe River Basin, Okavango River Basin, Incomati (Komati) River Basin), North America (Great Lakes), Asia (Mekong) and Europe (Danube, EU Water Framework Directive) and highlight different approaches to stakeholder participation as applied in these basins or regions. From the illustration of setbacks, successes and challenges in involving stakeholders in transboundary water management activities, lessons for best practices are drawn. The case study reader contributes to the capacity building courses and stakeholder participation strategy development workshops held by the ACWR in the southern and East African region. The development of the reader has been funded by the TRANSNET-Programme of InWent (Capacity Building International)/ Germany.

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