Define Values, Rights and Responsibilities

Define values, rights, and responsibilities

Cooperation on water management reform requires that all parties share a common understanding of their values and goals, of what is expected of them and what they can expect from others. Rights and responsibilities must be transparent, and people and institutions must be accountable to their commitments. Effective communication is needed among local groups, scientists, water managers and decision-makers.  

National systems that build a balance of integrated policy, good water law, and effective and participatory institutions are the basis for solutions that work.  These systems need to incorporate mechanisms for defining the responsibilities of all parties, assuring access to relevant information, and transparency in decisionmaking.

At the beginning of setting up a basin commission or an international agreement, WANI encourages negotiation of a document that lists the ‘terms of agreement’ or a ‘code of conduct’ so that all parties have a common set of rules going forward.  Later, a ‘water charter’ might set up a shared vision for water management in a basin, and a framework that identifies stakeholders, rules for meetings, institutional mechanisms for implementation of agreements, and methods for dispute resolutions. These framework documents make resolution of thorny issues go more smoothly.