Workshop C3: The Nexus in Transboundary Basin Governance
Chaired by Lars Ribbe
Presenting speakers :
Learning from many examples, we have formulated four main recommendations to guide governance of the nexus by basin organisations. These recommendations are: 1. Establish a high-level mandate to coordinate and cooperate between the water, energy, food and environment sectors; 2. Build partnerships across sectors, levels (including the local level) and with the private sector; 3. Identify mutual benefits and coordinate planning, as well as implementation, of common solutions; 4. Build capacity on expanding the knowledge base, analytical tools and institutional capacity.
Coordinated governance can improve energy, water and food security, foster synergies, manage trade-offs, support sustainable development, maintain or restore ecosystems and the services they provide to society. Water resources are essential for all targeted sectors, and basin organisations have practical experience integrating multiple disciplines and levels and work across sectors. Basin organisations can thus be ideal catalysts to help govern the water-energy-food nexus. At the same time, effective solutions will depend on partnerships that bring together water stakeholders with energy, food and ecosystem stakeholders.
It does so by scrutinizing four cases in which either international RBOs or REGs are playing a role in ongoing negotiations on HPPs. These include a comprehensive literature review on the Xayaburi dam on the Mekong main stem in Laos and own empirical investigations on the Rusumo Falls HPP by Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania on the Kagera River, the Ruzizi III HPP by Burundi, DR Congo and Rwanda on the Ruzizi River, as well as on hydropower development on the Coruh River by Turkey and Georgia.
The paper finds that in the donor-supported Kagera case the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) as an international RBO has been able to mediate the project and to foster the application of environmental and social safeguards, however, with substantial donor backing. In the case of the Xayaburi dam – developed without donor support – the Mekong River Commission (MRC) had a very moderate influence on dam design. In the case of Ruzizi III a REG, Energy of the Great Lakes (EGL), is playing an important role in mediating ongoing negotiations and even initiated the set up of the international Lake Kivu RBO in order to protect the HPP from negative land use impacts; still donors insist on environmental and social safeguards. On the Coruh, an impasse in transboundary water negotiations was at least partly overcome by a bilateral deal of the Georgian and Turkish Energy Ministers setting up a bilateral committee for electricity trade; still it is unlikely that this arrangement will also address negative environmental effects. Hence, not only international RBOs but also REGs may play a role in fostering cooperation on HPPs on shared rivers, and may in some cases even be more successful than RBOs. However, REGs might be less concerned with the environmental and social effects on such projects. Hence, international RBOs may still be important for bringing these issues on the agenda, so are international donors if involved.
We develop a model to understand the effects of economic gain expansion on cooperative agreements to encourage regional cooperation among the Eastern Nile Basin countries, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, in fields beyond water to increase interdependency, regional security and decrease the possibility of conflicts. Using a hydro-economic simulation model of Eastern Nile, we determine the economic value of cooperation emphasizing agriculture and hydropower production by calculating the economic benefits of each country under four scenarios of status quo and full cooperation with and without Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
The game is structured as a three-player trust game in which each player represents decision makers of one of the Eastern Nile riparian countries as upstream, midstream and downstream. By offering various set of options to players, we examine whether economic payoffs, compensations and incentives would foster a culture of trust and transparency for sustained cooperation within controlled environment of a laboratory setting. Results of the simulation model of Eastern Nile, provides payoff options assigned to each scenario as a set of choices for players to decide on. A win-for-all situation would be where all players receive the amount of water they required, or receive equitable compensation for any deficits in allocation from other team members.
The study would also be inclusive by conducting questionnaire-based survey to the native water experts, decision-makers and academics. Responses from the questionnaire create a system of inclusion to compare factors and social values or objectives, in other words capturing priority of riparian countries’ interests and intentions towards basin-wide cooperation. We use political and economic aspects of consultation process on the Eastern Nile issues, to demonstrate the dynamic nature of a negotiating process and its influencing factors such as long-term economic beneficiaries, to explain its possible outcomes in less sophisticated situation.
The combination of approaches applied in this study illustrates how transboundary cooperation is preferred alternative where benefits from cooperation will exceed gains from non-cooperation while the main challenge is to make benefits of cooperation transparent, attractive and equitable to all decision-makers ergo aiding them for cooperation. It also highlights the opportunities to demonstrate how benefit sharing could be used as a framework to investigate the water-energy-food linkages and tradeoffs in a transboundary context and to develop a multi-country water-energy-food model.
Target audience: We invite interested participants from all disciplines and at all career stages specially early stage PhD student and postdocs.
Date and time: Jun 16th, 10:30 – 12:15
Location: ZUK, Osnabrück, Room 3
- Lars Ribbe