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Regional Dialogue river

Systematic action for a Regional Dialogue on TWRM issues in SEE had been initiated under the Petersberg Phase II / Athens Declaration Process in 2006. GEF IW:LEARN2 (2005-2008) contributed substantially and supported the Process in this regard. The GEF intervention included fostering of a regional Community of Practice engaged through a series of partnership building activities for the benefit of the SEE riparian countries and stakeholders as well as of the GEF projects in the region. More than 150 institutions and organisations were engaged in these activities in the period 2005-2008. The partnership between the Process and GEF leveraged the involvement of additional donors and contributors leading to a considerable expansion of the activities from its initially foreseen size.

The themes tackled under IW:LEARN2 included policy and technical aspects of integrated management of transboundary rivers, lakes and groundwater, climate change adaptation, multi-purpose uses, stakeholders’ participation etc.

The initiation of an official Dialogue among the Riparians of the Drin River Basin that led to the signing of an MoU among the competent Ministries has been among the most important and tangible results.

In addition to the Drin case, the initiation of communication and exchange of experience among transboundary basins as well as among GEF projects, the facilitation of dialogue on shared aquifers management in the Sava River basin and the initiation of a related process for the structured participation of stakeholders, are among key tangible results. Cross-fertilization of institutions and practitioners at regional and national levels has already shown results while more are expected to be witnessed over time.

Overall, activities in SEE supported by IW:LEARN2 demonstrated how systematic and coordinated action among stakeholders, international organizations and donors can result in concerted action at national, basin/transboundary and regional levels.

The continuation and deepening of the Regional Dialogue in SEE under the Petersberg Phase II / Athens Declaration Process based on the past experience and the replication of practices used in the previous years, aim to provide further benefits for TWRM in SEE and the related GEF agenda. This is most relevant since:

- Transboundary cooperation for the management of the majority of the shared basins is not yet in place.

- Issues such as shared groundwater management has not been addressed yet effectively in the region, especially at the transboundary level.

- Emerging challenges such as incorporation of climate variability and climate change considerations in the management of the transboundary basins have not been taken into account in the processes for the enhancement of cooperation and have to be timely addressed.