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Global Workshop on Water Allocation

16 - 17 October 2017
Salle V, Palais des Nations Geneva Switzerland

 Water allocation, which is the allocation over time of water resources between and within different sectors and for different uses, is one of the biggest challenges in water management and protection. Increasing demands on water from different sectors, growing water scarcity and climate variability have led to a rising global interest to the topic of water allocation.

The global workshop on water allocation in transboundary basins was organized in the Palais des Nations in Geneva on 16 and 17 October 2017. It was followed by the fifth meeting of the Task Force on the Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystems Nexus (18 October 2017).  Both events were attended by more than 100 representatives and experts from governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and academia, coming from over 48 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.

The overarching objective of the workshop was to support efforts to develop sustainable and equitable transboundary arrangements on water allocation that strike a balance between robustness and flexibility. While the needs and priorities of every basin are unique, the workshop provided a valuable forum for countries to learn from successful examples of cooperation that could inform concrete strategies adapted to specific basin contexts. Different aspects that are fundamental to ensure a successful allocation arrangement were reviewed and discussed.

The workshop aimed to increase understanding and knowledge of criteria, mechanisms, tools and good practices for water allocation in transboundary basins and aquifers. The programme included examples of existing water allocation arrangements and important considerations, such as benefits-sharing, stakeholder participation, and ensuring minimum environmental flows. Discussions also touched upon how joint infrastructure investments and climate change can be driving forces for agreeing on water allocation.

Looking ahead, workshop participants acknowledged that water allocation is not a concern for all basins globally, but a growing concern in basins faced with temporary or constant water scarcity, which, due to climate change impacts, is affecting more and more countries in the world. Therefore, many delegates proposed to include activities to promote sustainable, equitable and resilient water allocation in the future programme of work under the Water Convention for 2019-2021. Concrete suggestions included capacity-building and awareness-raising activities as well as the development of a document guiding efforts in these areas based on existing examples and good practices.

The workshop was organized under the Water Convention in cooperation with the Geneva Water Hub, the Global Environment Facility’s International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource Network (IW:LEARN) project, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The workshop was financially supported by IW:LEARN and the Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety of Germany.

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Information Notice                                                        PDF PDF PDF PDF
List of Participants      



Presentations ENG FRE RUS SPA
Opening session        
Water allocation doctrines
- Mr. S. Rekolainen
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland
Introduction to the aims and the programme of the workshop
- Ms. F. Bernardini, UNECE
Key note speech: Allocations in Practice–What Happens in the Room
- Mr. A. Wolf, Oregon State University, USA
Session 1: Considerations for Water Allocation        
What does international water law say about water allocation?
- Mr. A. Rieu-Clarke, UNECE
Characteristics of robust water allocation regimes   
- Ms. K. Dominique, OECD
Transboundary aquifer systems: the challenge of an equitable distribution of the resource
- Mr. R. Taibi, Coordination Mechanism of the North-West Sahara Aquifer System
Determination of environmental flows: development of a technical and participatory methodology for the Upper Niger and the Inner Delta of Niger (Guinea –Mali)   
- Mr. M. Gareyane, Wetlands International
Transboundary water allocation and benefits sharing: The Lesotho Water Highlands Project
- Ms. M. Tlali, Department of Water Affairs, Lesotho
Session 2: Informing Water allocation decisions to deal with conflicting interests and uses        
Water allocation in the Maure – Mauri transboundary basin (Peru – Bolivia)
- Mr. J.C. Pomareda Munoz, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peru
Cooperation on the Austrian-German geothermal aquifer    
Mr. M. Belau, Bavarian State Ministry of Environment, Germany 
Economic analysis to support decisions on water allocation in the case of multi-purpose infrastructure    
- Mr. A. Martoussevitch, OECD
Water allocation in the Upper Pripyat transboundary basin (Belarus–Ukraine)
Mr. V. Korneev, Central Research Institute for Complex Use of Water Resources, Belarus
Working with stakeholders to link environmental flows, water allocation and transboundary governance in the Pungwe, Save and Buzi river basin (Mozambique –Zimbabwe) 
Mr. D. Mazvimavi, University of the Western Cape, South Africa (by video)
An energy sector perspective to optimizing flow regulation in the Drina Basin: Estimating benefits from coordinated operation of hydropower plants
- Mr. Y. Almulla, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
Session 3: Process of agreeing about water allocation        
Joint investment with water allocation: The Doosti dam on the Tejen/Harirud, (Iran –Turkmenistan)
- Mr. J. Vatanfada, Ministry of Energy, Iran
Integrating flexibility and hydrological changing conditions into an agreement: The case of the Albufeira Convention (Spain – Portugal)  
Mr. P. Cunha Serra, Adviser to the Board of TPF Planege Cenor, Portugal
Bilateral water allocation agreements in the Meuse and Scheldt basins 
Mr. Dré Maes, Flanders Waterways Authority, Belgium (by video)
Session 4: Implementation of water allocation arrangements; challenges, lessons learned and success factors        
Historical allocation arrangements in the Amu Darya basin and current challenges
- Ms. D. Ziganshina, Scientific Information Center of Interstate Commission for Water Coordination in Central Asia
Water allocation provisions in the Genevese Aquifer agreement
Mr. Gabriel de los Cobos, Geological  survey  of  the  Canton  of  Geneva
Implementation of water allocation provisions in the Columbia River treaty (Canada – United States of America)
- Mr. J. Barton, Transboundary Water and Hydropower Specialist, USA
Regulation of outflow from Saimaa Lake and the Vuoksi River Discharge Rule
- Mr. S. Rekolainen, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland
Session 5: Final reflections and Conclusions
Chair: Seppo Rekolainen, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland
Water allocation in the European Union: the interaction between UNECE, EU water law and basin treaties
- Mr. G. Baranyai, National University of Public Service, Hungary

Side event

Presentaions ENG FRE RUS
Draft agenda PDF PDF  
Chad's accession process to the Water Convention   PDF  
Frequently asked questions about the Conventions PDF