“Study of Large Transboundary River Basins Shows Increased Focus on Environmental Issues” IISD

Aug 24, 2011 | Corporate Member News

Lessons learned from a study of large transboundary watersheds indicates integrated water resources management is most effective when focused on addressing big- picture issues, according to a report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development produced in partnership with the UNEP-DHI Centre for Water and Environment.

The report released at World Water Week in Stockholm reviews best practices in policies and programing for ecosystem goods and services (EGS) aimed at achieving effective integrated water resources management in some of the most water- stressed regions of the world.

“Well-designed EGS programing can be a key instrument for improved international cooperation and human security in water-stressed areas around the world,” said Henry David Venema, director of IISD’s Water Innovation Centre and an author of the report.   

About 40 per cent of the world’s population lives in river basins that straddle two or more countries, cover almost half of the Earth’s land surface and provide over 60 per cent of global freshwater flow. 

The report reviews some of these transboundary river basins, including the Mekong, Okavango, Congo, Danube, Jordan, Red and La Plata Rivers—representing Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe, West Asia, North America and Latin America regions of the world respectively.

The Red River Basin is the least studied of the group, yet has a major impact on the health of Lake Winnipeg, the world’s largest most eutrophic freshwater lake.

“In the case of the Red River Basin, there are significant opportunities for transboundary collaboration and international cooperation to address flooding and water quality as integrated issues,” Venema said.

“The institutions that manage transboundary river basins have traditionally focussed on issues like navigation, hydropower production and water sharing agreements. However, we are now seeing a shift toward cooperation on environmental issues. EGS programing can connect local issues such as habitat and flood protection with the overall health of the river and region. It’s one of the most important frontiers in global environmental governance.” 

Access the report here.  

For more information, please contact Nona Pelletier, IISD media and communications officer, phone:
+1 (204) 958-7740 or cell: +1 (204) 962-1303.

About the International Institute for Sustainable Development 

The world is challenged by a changing climate, biodiversity loss, abject poverty and environmental degradation. What can make a difference? Good ideas. Creativity. Passion. Innovation. The achievement of change. 

IISD is in the business of promoting change towards sustainable development. As a policy research institute dedicated to effective communication of our findings, we engage decision-makers in government, business, NGOs and other sectors in the development and implementation of policies that are simultaneously beneficial to the global economy, the global environment and to social well-being. 

In the pursuit of sustainable development, we promote open and effective international negotiation processes. And we believe fervently in the importance of building our own institutional capacity while helping our partner organizations in the developing world to excel. 

Established in 1990, IISD is a Canadian-based not-for-profit organization with a diverse team of more than 150 people located in more than 30 countries. Through our dynamic portfolio of projects, we partner with more than 200 organizations throughout the world. To learn more about our history, please visit the IISD Timeline. 

Click here to learn more about our project work and programs, which are guided by our strategic institutional directions. And please visit our IISD Linkages site to follow our coverage of international negotiations on environment and development. 

IISD is registered as a charitable organization in Canada and has 501(c)(3) status in the United States. IISD receives core operating support from the Government of Canada, provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Environment Canada, and from the Province of Manitoba. The Institute receives project funding from numerous governments inside and outside Canada, United Nations agencies, foundations and the private sector.

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