Delft, The Netherlands, 20 Sep 2018

Sharing lessons of downstream countries in transboundary water cooperation

From 12 to 14 September a high-level workshop took place with water experts and diplomats from Bangladesh, Egypt, Mozambique, Portugal, The Netherlands and Vietnam in Vlissingen, The Netherlands. The group shared experiences in transboundary water cooperation. The workshop was convened by IHE Delft, in collaboration with the Dutch Ministries of Infrastructure & Water and Foreign Affairs.

The pressure on water resources is steadily increasing in all regions of the world due to processes of societal and climate change. There is an increasing need for the coordinated utilization of fresh water resources, but in transboundary settings this is always a delicate affair.

From the delta looking up…

The 'From the Delta looking up…' workshop focused on the special role of downstream countries in transboundary water management and strategies to overcome location disadvantages. The workshop chronicled the experiences of six downstream countries and how they have strategized to gain the commitment of upstream neighbours. It was valuable to understand how they dealt with the natural, economic and political risks and opportunities of transboundary water issues from a downstream perspective. This is also where The Netherlands experience with transboundary water management of the Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt rivers proved relevant.

The outcome of the workshop contained policy-relevant lessons and best-practices that may be useful for downstream countries. These lessons were compiled in the Zeeland Call to Action, which the experts jointly formulated at the end of the workshop.

The Call can be downloaded here.

The Zeeland Call to Action is an open invitation not only to downstream countries, but also and especially to mid-stream and upstream countries. They could match and complement the 'From the Delta looking up…' initiative by coming together to exchange experiences and draw common lessons on transboundary water cooperation and diplomacy. This creates an opportunity for a synthesising initiative for all riparian countries to bring water diplomacy to a higher level of maturity, and thus contribute to peace and prosperity.

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