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The River Basin Organisation  

Integrated river basin management coordinates the management of land and water resources for multiple purposes, and can be considered a basin-scale application of integrated water resource management (Hooper 2008). A critical issue is the coordination of management across different sectors, different disciplines and various groups.

Regular meetings are important for the development of PJTC.
Source: GTZ 2009
( click to enlarge )

To manage land and water resources using this integrated approach, many stakeholders must coordinate operations at different scales (Hooper 2008). Stakeholders include individual water users, government agencies, industry, non-government organisations (NGO’s), and any other stakeholders who are directly or indirectly concerned with transboundary water management. Stakeholder groups can be found at different spatial locations and levels of government and may change over time (Sadoff et al. 2008).

IWRM takes place at scales from local to international, but at the basin scale, decisions for river basin management occur at macro and micro scales.

River basin management requires clear roles for government agencies, the private sector, non-government organisations and other stakeholders. River basin planning procedures involve the allocation of land and water resources to optimise national (or international) investments, and result in a basin management plan or strategy, supported by legislation and water policy within the countries which share the basin (Hooper 2008).

For more information on the main functions of River Basin Organisations, please refer to the River Basin Organisations section.

River Basin Organisation Stakeholders

Continental Scale

The African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW), established in 2002, operates across the continent and is the highest political water management body in Africa. Programmatically, AMCOW is closely linked to NEPAD (ORASECOM 2007). Recommendations are being finalised to make AMCOW a Specialised Technical Committee of the African Union (AMCOW 2008).

Regional Scale

Regionally, the SADC Water Division has been tasked with creating an enabling environment for the integrated management of shared watercourses. Supporting this integrated approach are the Revised Protocol on Shared Watercourses, regional water policies and the Regional Strategic Action Plan.

International River Basin Scale

The Permanent Joint Technical Commission (PJTC) is mandated to manage the water resources of the Kunene River basin. Transboundary cooperation in the Kunene basin, including the establishment of PJTC, has strongly depended on the political will of both Governments and on cooperation within the South African Development Community (SADC). PJTC has yet no own office and is still evolving towards a fully functional and sustainable institution, and continued donor involvement is anticipated for several more years to build capacity. Its first phase aimed at finding proper organisational and communicational structures, focused on technical cooperation to develop mutual trust.

Transboundary river basin organisations are typically established either to ensure coordinated water resources management between riparian countries on a shared water course (often referred to as commissions), or to enable joint development and management of water resources infrastructure between two or more countries. These organisations evolve over time through coordinating bodies into institutions established by agreement or treaty between cooperating parties. Where established, these agreements provide the legal framework and mandate for the functioning of these institutions, and provide for the delegation of functions and powers. National governments’ water departments or ministries engage with these institutions in terms of national strategic interests.




Explore the sub-basins of the Kunene River

Video Interviews about the integrated and transboundary management of the Kunene River basin

Explore the principles of Integrated Water Resource Management applied to the Kunene