How Can International Donors Promote Transboundary Water Management?

This paper discusses how international donors can promote the development of trans- boundary water management. It assumes, first, that cooperation will take place whenever the major stakeholders consider cooperation to be a better option than non-cooperation. The perceptions and motivations of the stakeholders are therefore crucial. Secondly, this paper assumes that the major stakeholders are not “states”, but specific groups and individuals: individual politicians, sectoral government bureaucracies, regional and local governments, farmers, electricity companies, etc. Some of these may be involved in the inter- national negotiations themselves, others may be needed to get international agreements ratified or implemented, and still others may be affected by transboundary water management but lack the means to exert any influence.


The paper suggests that the best basins for donors to become involved in and the best strategy and instruments to use depend on a number of factors, including the characteristics of the donor – its motivations and its resources, the characteristics of the basins, the potential and the need for development and the potential for conflict, and the stage of transboundary water management – before the start of informal talks, during informal talks, during formal negotiations, or after the conclusion of an agreement. Donors do not always have to become involved at the international level. The root causes of international water-related problems and there- fore also their solution often lies at the national or even local level.


The paper recommends that donor must first know themselves, build on developments within the basin and promote ownership, involve all stakeholders, evaluate, review, and publicize on the internet and coordinate.

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