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Workshop on Transboundary Water Allocation, WEFE Nexus and Development of Agreements and other Arrangements: Supporting exchanges of lessons learned, good practices & practical tools’

Workshop on Transboundary Water Allocation, WEFE Nexus and Development of Agreements and other Arrangements: Supporting exchanges of lessons learned, good practices & practical tools’

15 - 16 April 2024
Livingstone Zambia
zambia meeting

Background and Rationale


Transboundary rivers, lakes, and aquifers play a vital role in supporting the livelihoods of billions of people worldwide. Roughly 60% of global freshwater flow is in shared basins. About 40% of the world’s population lives in shared basins. Severe droughts have developed or intensified in various regions of the world such as Western Europe, the Horn of Africa and South America, among others and water scarcity has been constant in Central Asia and Southern Africa. Equitable and sustainable allocation of scarce surface and ground water in transboundary basins is thus even more important in the effective management of shared freshwater resources, along with allocation’s complementary approaches.


Numerous issues related to preserving water and its allocation in a transboundary context such as climate change adaptation, preservation of freshwater ecosystems, transboundary legal frameworks to name just a few, have also gained increased recognition during recent UN global processes and platforms. Most notably the UN Water Conference in March 2023 and the Water Action Agenda, but also inclusion of freshwater ecosystems in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.


Under the Water Convention’s Programme of Work Area 3.3 on ‘Water Allocation in a Transboundary Context’, co-led by Finland and Hungary, the Handbook on Water Allocation in a Transboundary Context (Handbook) was developed and adopted by the Convention’s 9th Meeting of the Parties in September 2021. It covers the global practice of transboundary water allocation, including key elements, frameworks and modalities to consider in the application of transboundary water allocation, while recognizing that each allocation context is unique and allocation is simply one option.


Under the Programme of Work 2022-24, regional workshops were envisaged to raise awareness of the Handbook and build-capacity on transboundary water allocation, along with the elaboration of a Summary Handbook on Water Allocation in a Transboundary Context (Summary Handbook). In response to interest expressed by countries in accession, Twinning Initiatives and Namibia as the first Party from Southern Africa on the topic of transboundary water allocation along with WEFE Nexus and the development of agreements and other arrangements, a workshop under the Programme of Work Area 3.3 of the Water Convention is planned for 15-16 April 2024 which Zambia offered to host.




The ‘Workshop on Transboundary Water Allocation, WEFE Nexus and Development of Agreements and other Arrangements: Supporting exchanges of lessons learned, good practices & practical tools’ will bring together countries, representatives of river basin organisations, and other experts to exchange experiences, share good practices and showcase tools  such as the Handbook (and recently published accompaniment Summary Handbook featuring new case studies from Southern Africa and Central Asia); the Practical Guide on the Development of Agreements and Other Arrangements (adopted at MOP9); and Methodology for assessing the water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus in transboundary basins and experiences from its application: synthesis (Nexus Synthesis).  


The overall objective of the workshop is to increase capacity, support exchange of information and good practices, and promote the Handbook on transboundary water allocation under the framework of the Water Convention. It will do so by increasing understanding and knowledge: 

  • firstly, about mechanisms, tools and good practices for water allocation in transboundary basins and aquifers;
  • secondly, the value of broader approaches to be considered in connection with transboundary water allocation, particularly the science-policy interface regarding the WEFE nexus approach and development / revisions of allocation agreements and other arrangements;
  • and thirdly, on the broader-reaching benefits of effective and climate-resilient agreements and other arrangements for transboundary water cooperation in supporting sustainable development, regional integration and peace.


A key objective as regards the Development of Agreements and Other Arrangements and utilising the Practical Guide is to support states, basin organizations and other organizations in sharing challenges, problem-solving and exchanging good practices on allocation agreements and other arrangements on transboundary rivers, lakes and aquifers. Specific attention will be paid to the science-policy interface between allocation modelling, WEFE Nexus approach and developing flexible, ‘climate-proof’ legal agreements and policies.


More specific objectives are to:

  • To share knowledge, experiences, and lessons learned on proven strategies for crafting effective transboundary water allocation agreements or other arrangements that yield mutual benefits for countries and basins, especially for conjunctive management of surface and groundwaters;
  • To provide practical guidance and support for negotiating allocation agreements or other arrangements, including in complex environments through a systematic, step-by-step process showcasing a variety of complementary approaches for water allocation and WEFE Nexus that can be adapted to each context;
  • To build awareness and knowledge on the role and value add of the Water Convention’s institutional framework in supporting peaceful cooperation, specifically the POW areas and related tools on water allocation in a transboundary context; WEFE Nexus and development of agreements and other arrangements;
  • To provide a platform for networking, establishment of valuable partnerships, and strengthening collaborative efforts to develop or revise allocation agreements or other arrangements;
  • To contribute to the broader understanding of the pivotal role of legal and institutional frameworks in achieving sustainable development, conflict prevention and regional integration, and environmental protection.


Target audience


The workshop is targeted at government representatives, representatives of joint bodies’ secretariats, legal and technical experts, and decision-makers directly engaged in the processes of negotiation and establishment of allocation agreements, revision of existing allocation agreements or other allocation arrangements for transboundary waters and in broadly promoting transboundary water cooperation. The workshop aims to assist countries and basins which have embarked on the development / revision of allocation agreements or other arrangements or are considering they may do so in the near future.


Format of the workshop and sessions


The workshop will employ a combination of interactive sessions, panel discussions, case studies, group work to address common challenges on transboundary water allocation, including the science-policy interface and development or revision of allocation agreements and other arrangements i.e. policies and, more broadly, transboundary water cooperation. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in peer-to-peer learning, group work and knowledge exchange. The workshop will review key steps in planning and operationalising allocation agreements in line with the Handbook, addressing issues pertinent for states and basin organisations in early or more advanced stages of cooperation.




The workshop will be organized under the leadership of the Governments of Finland and Hungary, with the support of the Water Convention secretariat and Zambia as the host country. Funding for the workshop is provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and Finnish Environment Institute, the Ministry of Interior of Hungary, the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation of Zambia, European Union, International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) BRIDGE (Building River Dialogue and Governance) Program. The following organizations are partners in organizing this workshop: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA); CGIAR Nexus GAINS Initiative; Northumbria University and University College Cork.


Concept Note

58385 _ Concept Note: Water Allocation Workshop _ 388682 _ English _ 773 _ 407251 _ pdf

Agenda and Programme

60171 _ Water Allocation Programme _ 389952 _ English _ 773 _ 410300 _ pdf