Submitted by guest blogger on Mon,11/25/2013

By James Dalton of IUCN’s Global Water Programme. Version française

A year ago I wrote a blog post on a workshop that we jointly held with the Ramsar Secretariat in partnership with Danone Waters – the bottled water arm of the French multinational. It caught people’s attention, partly because of what we were doing, and partly because of who we were doing it with. We made a commitment at that workshop, with Danone Waters, to follow up on the workshop, and to report back to the participants about corporate changes in water management practices.

Last year’s workshop was designed to jointly review an internal water management tool Danone had developed. We brought together a diverse range of people to help us do this – a remarkable group in their openness and willingness to collaborate beyond ‘expert silos’. This year we re-convened the same group with the company to discuss progress in adopting the recommendations made a year ago.

We saw great change in the work that was presented to us by Danone Waters. The water management tool had been revised based on many of the recommendations made last year. It was one of those moments where you realise that working with the private sector can bring rapid change.

We had also identified the need for policy change within the company on water management. The company had clearly listened to this. We were presented with a draft outline of a new corporate water policy for the Danone Group (soon to be announced). Reviewing the technical nature of the work had clearly helped identify the need to expand groundwater policy into wider overall corporate water policy for the Danone Group.

...Read more


Submitted by guest blogger on Mon,11/25/2013

By Jane Lawton, Head of Communications, IUCN Asia.

The word ‘dialogue’ may be somewhat overused in our development lexicon, but the recent meeting of the Mekong Water Dialogues I attended in Siem Reap, Cambodia provided a powerful example of what we really mean by effective dialogue in action.

The meeting brought together national teams from Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam to plan activities for the Mekong Water Dialogues (MWD) project for the year ahead. A project coordinated by IUCN, MWD works on improving water governance in the Mekong Region countries by promoting transparent and inclusive decision-making that will protect water resources while also improving people’s livelihoods and ensuring the health of ecosystems.

I came to the meeting having read all the documents and reports about MWD but with only a vague sense of what the project actually did. That was until the dialogue began.

First to strike me was the wide range of activities, each tailored to the local context, but all working towards common goals. In addition to project-related action around wetland protection and supporting community livelihoods, in all the countries there has been significant progress made toward enacting new legislation that will protect water resources. In Thailand this has been achieved through community meetings – ‘waterlogues’ – that are contributing to recommendations to government. In Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, through more direct interaction with the policy process.

I was also struck by the nature of the project structure, and how MWD is as much about the process of dialogue and sharing information as it is about the outcomes. Each country has a National Working Group (NWG) that includes representatives of government and civil

...Read more


Submitted by guest blogger on Wed,11/06/2013

By Juan Carlos Sanchez of IUCN’s Environmental Law Centre.

One of the key messages coming from this year’s World Water Week in Stockholm is that climate change presents an opportunity for transboundary cooperation. After a series of seminars on this topic, there seem to be several arguments that support this.

It is clear that a growing number of eco-regions and countries are experiencing increasing water stress exacerbated by climate change seen by higher variability, intensity and frequency of droughts and floods. In a transboundary situation, the additional pressure on water resources leaves two options.

States can either opt for unilateral action motivated by self-interest and competition over water which can heighten existing regional tensions and may eventually lead to conflict. Or they can see the essential commodity of freshwater as a key ingredient for cooperation.

It’s clear from the discussions at Water Week that transboundary water cooperation in relation to climate change adaptation takes place at various levels. These range from top level, formal discussions between government agencies, with diplomatic relations and treaties framing the terms of engagement, to community engagement in smaller parts of shared river basins.

What we’re finding is that negotiations often get ‘stuck’ at the high level over issues of sovereignty and treaties, when in fact, sharing of water resources is already taking place at the local level. Communities often engage with their neighbours across borders to find solutions to common problems.

Considering that the impacts of climate change are most felt at the local level, it is at this level that we see the importance of community and stakeholder participation. This ensures more effective implementation

...Read more