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EU Water Initiative - WATER for Life

EU Water Initiative – Research Component
Review of international S&T cooperation projects addressing integrated water resources management – Lessons to be learnt

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Background of the international IWRM review

Press release: Reviewers recommend constructive engagement of
water researchers in FP7
(PDF 98KB)

With a European investment in some 60 international S&T cooperation projects (PDF 156 KB) addressing integrated water resources management (IWRM) over the last 10 years, it is time to take stock. Integrated water resources management is a key concept of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) that also influences water policies and management discourses in many parts of the world.

As part of its commitment to the EU Water Initiative, the European Commission has invited 10 renowned experts, five from Europe and five from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Mediterranean to review what lessons can be learnt from those projects, how much research results have been used to inform practice and how this should inform future cooperation in IWRM. The experts have an ambitious tasks set out in their terms of reference (PDF 22 KB).

They will carry out most of their work in three working sessions in Brussels, scheduled as follows:

  1. 18-22 July 2005
  2. 19-21 September 2005
  3. 24-28 October 2005.

The principal expected outputs of the review are:
  1. A technical report
  2. A policy brief
  3. A brochure for a general public.

The draft technical report is scheduled for early November 2005 and will be validated by a large mirror group of experts in different parts of the world.

This international review is intended to be complementary to a more European-focused review process carried out under the auspices of the NeWater Project. Both reviews are closely coordinated.

Their combined results and the wealth of experiences analysed will be presented to the 4th World Water Forum in Mexico City, 16-22 March 2006.

Intermediary findings

The IWRM review panel had its last working week together in Brussels, from 24 to 28 October 2005.

The experts

  • re-examined the robustness of their newly developed analytical scoring method and were satisfied with the way it allowed them to assess trends across research framework programmes;
  • decided to write up a separate paper describing the method to facilitate its use by others;
  • analysed feedback to a questionnaire on communication with social actors outside projects and impact;
  • found that constructively engaged integrated water resources allocation and management arise as the most adequate conceptual approach to address growing scarcity of water to account for the political context of often competing demands;
  • elaborated recommendations in view of the 7th Research Framework Programme and linkages between research results and their use e.g. in development cooperation;
  • made presentations of their findings to Dr. András Siegler, Director of International S&T Cooperation, and to Commission staff working with the EUWI Secretariat and with the Water Facility for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. Ensuing lively discussions explored opportunities for strengthening synergies to increase impact;
  • explained that impact had been strong so far on human and institutional 'capital' in partner countries through the collaborative mode, but could be further enhanced through more constructive engagement with constituencies outside the realm of research.
  • will further elaborate in their report which areas of research hold greatest potential for FP7, including research into the gap between underlying fundamentals (e.g. natural ecosystems, economics) and perceptions in societies, which are at variance with fundamentals. It is the latter that drive political and often investment decisions that may not be sustainable and thus need urgent attention.
  • noted that a group of highly respected personalities from different social groups and regions of the world had already accepted to read the draft report critically for validation before it gets published.

The draft report will shortly be circulated to this 'mirror group' and then be finalised for the 4th World Water Forum (WWF4), March 2006 in Mexico City. The team will meet again in that occasion to share its insights and recommendations with representatives illustrating local examples of constructive engagement and further explore how local action can benefit from wider generalisations coming out of the review.

In parallel, progress is also being made on a brochure for the general public, intended to connect research processes and results more effectively with citizens. This will be available in several languages as of the WWF4 as well.

Snapshots from the interactive sessions between the panel and interested Commission staff.

Rapporteur Tony Allan summarises the panel's findings to a captivated audience, including Martin Walshe from DG Development and Wiepke van der Goot from DG AIDCO (from left to right - panel member Basim Dudeen is half covered behind Tony Allan). Panel member Pedro Monteiro explains a graph summarising evolution of IWRM responses from Research Framework Programme 4 (FP4 - 1994-1998) through FP6 (2002-2006). From right to left: András Siegler, Director of International S&T Cooperation, panel chair Dipak Gyawali and embedded journalist Wendy Barnaby listen attentively to an argument from the panel floor.
Wiepke van der Goot, AIDCO Head of Unit in charge of the ACP Water Facility consults with collaborator Monique de Genissel, while panel member Pavel Novacek and Johan Holmberg, adviser to DG Development look on From right to left: Panel member Basim Dudeen is looking on, while rapporteur Tony Allan keeps his computer ready to take notes with panel member Pietro Laureano in the background. Panel member Paula Antunes (middle) explains a point in her analysis drawing attention from (from left to right) Ines Minguez (Commission) and panel members Pavel Novacek, Cassio Luiselli and Nguyen Hong Khanh.
Commission staff Ines Minguez and panel member Pedro Monteiro listening to a presentation. Panel member Nguyen Hong Khanh concentrated on feedback from projects to the panel questionnaire. Panel member Pietro Laureano proudly showing the English version of his book 'Atlas of water' published in English and Spanish by Unesco. It deals with traditional methods to fight desertification many of which have had demonstrated potential for innovation to fit our modern challenges.

Feedback from projects

Feedback on communication and impact of selected INCO Water Projects

- MECO - Mediterranean co-ordination and dissemination of land conservation management to combat desertification
- MEDCORE – From river catchment areas to the sea: a comparative and integrated approach to the ecology of the Mediterranean coastal zone for sustainable management
- WADI - WAter supply watersheD planning and management: an Integrated approach
Download (PDF 122 KB)

- RURBIFARM - Sustainable farming at the rural-urban interface
An integrated knowledge-based approach for nutrient and water recycling in small-scale farming systems in peri-urban areas of China and Vietnam
Download (PDF 112 KB)

- RESMANMED Resource management in karstic areas of the coastal regions of the Mediterranean, (1997-2000)
COLASU Sustainability of Mediterranean coastal lagoon ecosystems under semi-arid climate (2002-2005)
- COLASU Sustainability of Mediterranean coastal lagoon ecosystems under semi-arid climate (2002-2005)
- OPTIMA Optimisation of sustainable water resources in the Mediterranean, FP6 INCO-Med Project (2004-2007)
Download (PDF 90 KB)

- REAL – Systems research on small groundwater retaining structures under local management in arid an semi-arid areas of East Africa
Download (PDF 86 KB)

- Foggara - Inventory, analysis and valorization of traditional water techniques of European and Saharan drainage tunnels
Download (PDF 96 KB)

- WATER WEB Water resources strategies and drought alleviation
in western Balkan agriculture
Download (PDF 84 KB)

- CATCHMENT 2 COAST Project - Communication and impact Research into and modeling of the impacts of river catchment developments on the sustainability of coastal resources, which support urban and rural economies: the case of Maputo Bay - Incomati River
Download (PDF 92 KB)

- WASAMED Project - Communication and Impact Water savings in Mediterranean Agriculture
Download (PDF 92.5 KB)

- The WERRD project and the follow up for OKACOM – the Okavango River Basin Water Commission Water and ecosystem resources in regional development: Balancing Societal Needs and Wants and Natural Resources Systems Sustainability in International River Basin Systems
Download (PDF 110 KB)

- CAESAR – Project – Communication and impact Cooperative applied environmental systems research of the urban-rural interface Sustainability in water management and land use in the Havana region
Download (PDF 108 KB)

Feedback from independent water experts in the mirror group

Independent members of the mirror group validate the draft report

From early December 2005 to January 2006 a group of independent experts forming a mirror group to the international IWRM review panel scrutinised the draft review. Twelve of these experts came back with substantive feedback that helped to finalise the report. (PDF 14 KB)
Their valuable contribution is gratefully acknowledged.

The products of the review get show-cased at the World Water
Forum in Mexico, 16-22 March 2006

External reviewers deliver report in time for Mexico Forum

The high-level expert panel delivered its final report reviewing more than 10 years of international scientific and technological cooperation related to integrated water resources management. The report has been validated by an independent mirror group of experts expressing different perspectives from government, private sector, civil society and academia.

The report will be initially presented in several sessions at the 4th World Water Forum in Mexico from 16 to 22 March 2006. A general public brochure has also been produced to help connect the science better with citizens and their concerns and aspirations. The brochure is therefore be available in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French to make access easier across language barriers.

EU-INCO water research
from FP4 to FP6
a critical review

982 KB

technical report

EU-INCO water research from FP4 to FP6 (1994-2006) – a critical review
Other evidence from the reading of documentation by the Review Panel and from other experience of panel members

82 KB

( 3 MB)
a new approach to integrated
water resources management

Una nueva visión de la gestión
integrada de recursos hídricos

Une nouvelle approche de la gestion
intégrée des ressources en eau

Uma nova abordagem à gestão integrada dos recursos hídricos

general public brochure

EU-Water Initiative
Research component

1 MB

policy brief

Photos from the World Water Forum in Mexico, 16-22 March 2006

All photos courtesy C.E. Nauen

Pavillons were focal points of interaction and information exchange

A rare moment of relative tranquility at the EC booth at the 4 th World Water Forum in Mexico
RTD colleagues P. Balabanis and Z. Vergos preparing for the next long day at the EC booth
The Spanish Pavillon with its water wall attracted many visitors
The Japanese Pavillon was particularly varied in water perspectives

Many parallel sessions made it hard to choose, where to go

Multi-stakeholder approach to the European regional plenary session
Session on approaches to risk and adaptive learning – several panel members collaborate in the NeWater project
Session podium with personalities discussing water challenges in the Middle East chaired by H.Ex. Dr. Abu Zeid, Egyptian Minister of Water
Dr. Pedro Monteiro and Dr. Maria Donnoso on the podium of the Session FT2.33 ‘Advancing local actions in basins, sub-basins and aquifers (SBA) through comprehensive IWRM learning and global networks’
Members of the international IWRM review participate actively in a range of sessions – Prof. Paula Antunes and Prof. Tony Allan in the foreground and Pragya Dipak Gyawali looking on in the background
Dr. Pedro Monteiro of CSIR South Africa and Dr. Cornelia E. Nauen of the European Commission RTD team between sessions
Dr. Hong Khanh Nguyen of the Institute for Environmental Technology (IET) in Hanoi, Vietnam, member of the international IWRM review panel in session
Documenting unforgettable moments in lively sessions – Zissimos Vergos of the EC-RTD team at the 4 th World Water Forum in Mexico
Dr. Andrea Tilche moderating Session FT3-04 ‘Knowledge generation and innovative technologies for the sustainable management of water resources in Europe and world-wide’

Special Session to sign the Ministerial Declaration on the Latin American Component of the EU Water Initiative

A special session was hosted by the Mexican Environment Minister to preside over the signature of the Ministerial Declaration on the Latin American Component of the EU Water Initiative – from left to right Mag. Werner Wutscher, Secretary General of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management for the Austrian Presidency of the EU, Sr. José Luis Luege Tamargo, Secretario de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales of Mexico, Mr. David Grant Lawrence, Director Water, Chemicals, Cohesion of DG Environment, Ms. Cristina Narbona, Spanish Environment Minister
The signature of the Declaration by Sr. Eduardo Aninat Ureta, the Chilean Ambassador in Mexico
The signature of the Declaration by Mag. Werner Wutscher, Secretary General of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management for the Austrian Presidency for the EU and by Mr. David Grant Lawrence, Director Water, Chemicals, Cohesion of DG Environment, for the European Commission
Sr. José Luis Luege Tamargo, Secretario de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales of Mexico, with his Water Atlas
Members of the Argentinian Delegation chatting at the conclusion of the signing ceremony, IWRM review study in hand
The concluding photo of the Mexican host, Sr. José Luis Luege Tamargo, Secretario de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, and Mag. Werner Wutscher, Secretary General of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management for the Austrian Presidency of the EU, with the Declaration

Outside the Forum, age old water management practices bring productivity to vegetable and flower production

Outside the Forum, the Chinampas or floating gardens, resist urbanisation pressures from southward expanding Mexico City – fertilising fields with mud from the bottom of the canal.
Chinampa is an Aztec term referring to a method of ancient Mesoamerican agriculture—small, rectangle-shaped areas of fertile arable land used for agriculture in the Xochimilco region of the Basin of Mexico.