Implementing IWRM Especially for Transition Countries, 7th World Water Forum, April 12-17 2015, Daegu & Gyeongbuk, Republic of Korea [Professional Communication] - Page 03

Concluding Session 3.4: SMART Implementation of IWRM

As pointed out in the concluding session of Theme 3.4: SMART Implementation of IWRM, one of the main advantages of IWRM principles is their flexibility and adaptability to circumstances. It was also stated that "the principles of IWRM have the merit to serve as a common tool to all policies related to the management of water resources worldwide", but also that it "is important to take into account the specificities of the river basin, of the country and the region. A country's need for IWRM varies according to its needs and the conditions of its river basin, so, as a result, different countries have different IWRM approaches. In order to implement IWRM in a more efficient, effective and sustainable way, IWRM has to be implemented with great local leadership and engagement and adaptability of all stakeholder groups in water communities."

The goal of Theme 3.4 was to ensure that the IWRM approach is applied at all levels throughout the world, to achieve water security at local, regional and global levels.

The conclusions of the individual thematic sessions were presented at the concluding session of Theme 3.4, coordinated by the Global Water Partnership and UNESCO Regional Science Bureau (Jakarta Office), and chaired by Dr Shahbaz Khan.

At the concluding session, Prof. Dimkić reiterated that the articulated global objectives cannot be implemented in transition countries because such countries do not have sufficient strength to adapt to economic, social, political, climate and other changes. The implementation of these objectives requires proper governance and transition countries need to develop:

  • Knowledge and skills, and the ability to improve them independently;
  • Economic strength, as most transition countries are heavily indebted and cannot solve problems on their own;
  • Preparation of capital projects, in which the government needs to play an important role;
  • Appropriate balance between centralized and decentralized governance;
  • Capacity of government institutions, as required for the implementation of significant capital projects.

Prof. Dimkić concluded that if the instruments of governance in transition countries are not improved, such countries will be unable to achieve set objectives.

To ensure that the IWRM approach is applied at all levels throughout the world as a means to achieve water security, Theme 3.4 (SMART Implementation of IWRM) proposed to address this challenge by focusing on the following:

  • Establish IWRM centers of excellence: IWRM research and training needs to be promoted through a formal system of learning, which brings together researchers, managers and policy makers. The establishment of IWRM centers under international initiatives could help develop a global network, working on separate but complementary topics, to ensure IWRM success in resolving key water challenges of the future.
  • Take advantage of trans-disciplinary initiatives: Programs designed to incorporate relevant policy and scientific issues through cross-cutting approaches to water management should be promoted for the implementation of IWRM.
  • Establish IWRM demonstration sites: IWRM demonstration sites/projects will play a significant role in convincing critics that this concept is relevant to solving real problems in a real river basin. Such an approach is not only necessary for testing and dissemination of the IWRM concept, but also for the advancement of its worldwide implementation and substantial contribution to sustainable use and management of water resources in different societies.
  • Promote IWRM cooperation on transboundary rivers and aquifers: There is an urgent need to enhance transboundary cooperation for peace, especially on water management-related issues involving countries sharing river basins and aquifers, which call for cooperation across social, economic and environmental boundaries. Cooperation on IWRM could be structured around south-south and/or triangular cooperation, the implication of water associations, river organizations, NGOs and intergovernmental institutions.
  • Focus on countries in transition: To bring to the forefront of global institutions the problems of water management in transition countries with the focus on issues of water governance. It is of crucial importance to initiate discussions and define further activities on an international scale, in support of further IWRM in transition countries, as well as to reaffirm the need for adequate water management capacity and the role of water management in the overall development of transition countries, and to demonstrate the need for suitable tools at the nexus between effective water management and social and economic gains.
  • Document and demonstrate best practices for effective water governance focusing on transition countries, in time for best practice solutions to be presented and discussed at 8WWF.
  • Develop a SMART Network among organizations, to be able to readily access IWRM knowledge.
  • Develop and accumulate knowledge on IWRM by using and developing indicator - 'IWRM Indicator' which was developed the concept of IWRM spiral and NARBO's experience is applied at all levels and contribute to IWRM target on SDGs and monitored at regular basis to measure the progress.

The conclusions adopted as the outcomes of the session Implementing IWRM Especially for Transition Countries are clearly and steadfastly rooted in the above thematic conclusions and will serve as a basis for future development of IWRM models for transition countries.