Achievement at a glance
Since 2016, a lot has been achieved to implement Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and and Water Use Efficiency (WUE) in Cabo Verde, Comoros, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles and Sao Tome and Principe.
A significant part of the progress and achievement has been realised thanks to the implementation of demonstration project in all six countries countries. This first component is now closing and the outcomes and achievements provided a valuable source of lessons and best practices that are currently guiding the implementation of the remaining components: i.e. the development of indicator frameworks and monitoring strategies for IWRM and WUE at national level; reforms and realignment in policy, legislation and institutional arrangements to support IWRM; as well as capacity building and knowledge exchange to support long-term sustainability of the project aims and objectives in the countries.
In order to fast track the remaining activities, Project Cooperation Agreements between UN Environment, UNOPS and the participating countries have been put in place. Subsequently, draft national indicator frameworks for Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe and Maldives were produced based on guidelines developed to support a regional framework (aligned with the SDG process). Draft national water policies have been formulated in Seychelles and Sao Tome and Principe. In Mauritius, a review of the Water Act is on going and a new policy for Water and Sanitation was just approved in the Maldives.
All six countries have produced draft IWRM plans as well as supporting communication strategies to adress various challenges. Two regional training of trainers where organised and followed by 14 national workshops on topics related to IWRM. Finally, several exchanges programmes between islands have been organised on specific topics such as gender mainstreaming in the water sector, policy reforms and financial mechanism to support investment in water management.
Challenges faced in implementation
Unnecessarily complicated overall project implementation/execution arrangements (and associated differences in management and communication lines and protocols), absence of formally-agreed budgeting and fund transfer mechanisms in the Project Document. Artificial ‘geographical’ grouping of very different countries into one project with no common IWRM related intergovernmental organisation or secretariat. Difficulties in identifying and recruiting a suitable full-time overall Project Manager. Difficulties in recruiting specialised consultant at national level to drive the national activities for components 2 to 4.
The next steps will target the official validation and endorsement of the plans and policies developed in all countries. This will be supported by the implementation of the communication, engagement and capacity building strategies. Another key area of action will be to further promote and support the replication at national level of the best practices tested at the demonstration level. This includes the creation of new river basin committees in different localities, the development of groundwater monitoring systems to more aquifers, the installations of more efficient rainwater harvesting systems in more households etc. Finally, the project team is starting a documentation phase of the project to gather and widely disseminate all best practices, lessons learned and experience notes from the project. It also worth noting that discussions on a potential phase 2 of the project are on-going.
government representatives, local communities, journalist, key project stakeholders
The new policies and plans developed in all 6 countries are designed to address identified gaps and inefficiencies in water governance. This should lead to more efficient and integrated water resources management and in turn support the sustainable development of the participating Small Islands Developing States. The indicator frameworks developed should support informed decision making and will help the participating countries to measure their progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Local communities, through awareness raising campaigns and river basin committees, are empowered and more engaged in taking care of their water resources, they also benefit from a relatively healthier ecosystems. By organising twinning exchange programmes and regional capacity building events, partner institutions have learned from each other. This type of south-south cooperation has laid the foundation for inter-SIDS partnership on integrated water resources management.
Implementing demonstration projects at local level to demonstrate the tangible benefits of IWRM approches in all 6 participating countries