This policy brief synthesizes the main findings and recommendations from the assessment of the water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus, linked with a study of benefits of transboundary cooperation, in the Drina River Basin, mainly shared by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia which was carried out from 2016 to 2017 in the framework of the UNECE Water Convention’s Programme of Work.
The assessment aimed to foster transboundary cooperation by identifying intersectoral synergies and determining measures that could alleviate tensions related to the multiple needs of the riparian countries for common resources. The process looked to generate relevant information to support decision-making, and it engaged diverse expertise and key actors in the basins. The participatory assessment process for the Drina River Basin involved three intersectoral workshops for identification of the main intersectoral issues and possible solutions, detailed by a subsequent analysis, and followed by consultations of the various sectoral authorities concerned.
The assessment concludes that despite development risks, an intensified cross-sectoral cooperation could have amplified economic benefits for countries of the transboundary Drina River Basin. Basin-wide coordination to prioritize investments, taking into account the trade-offs between economic sectors and the environment, would have multiple benefits. In particular, coordinating the operation of the existing dams in the basin would not only allow for better flood management, but would also improve national energy security, increase electricity export opportunities and reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions in the long term.
A broad range of beneficial response actions to the intersectoral challenges are outlined. The actions proposed span institutions, information, instruments, infrastructure as well as international coordination and cooperation.