Defining priorities in the management of Transboundary basins with neighboring communities

Defining priorities in the management of Transboundary basins with neighboring communities: Key to sustainable management of shared waters

Defining priorities in the management of Transboundary basins with neighboring communities: Key to sustainable management of shared waters

Great Scarcies Sierra River, Sierra Leone                                                                   Photo RABE G. Florent                                                      


The Mano River Union Sub region is the third largest biodiversity reserve in the world, after the Amazon basins in South America and Congo in Central Africa. It has a large underground and surface freshwater reserve, and 80% of the water resources that feed West Africa derive from this area, through large rivers and other transboundary rivers. However, the populations of this region have different understandings or opposite views on the role of these water resources and some even adopt an aggressive attitude far from preserving the sub-regional environmental balance. These threats to the environment of river basins from source to sea, degradation of water quality, deforestation, depletion of pelagic resources, etc. due to the bad practices related to the activity of the man. One of the reasons for these problems is for the most part linked to a question of survival, if we can say so.

Great Scarcies Sierra River, Sierra Leone                                                          Photo RABE G. Florent    

The setting of common priorities with the communities living in the basins for sustainable management seems to be the laudable way to deal with these problems. To this end, the National Executing Agencies (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone) and the Regional Agency (MRU) have organized meetings by inviting representatives of national and local technical structures, NGOs involved in the management of the project, representatives of local communities living in transboundary river basins, members of parliament and traditional chiefdoms. These people were made aware of the threats to the environment of river basins and their commitment to join the dynamics of creating a consensual framework for sustainable management of river basins.
Because water resources are essential to the life of all living beings and are used in the various sectors of activity and therefore their management challenges all. The increase in demography is leading to a growing need for water resources and calls for good management of these resources.

Stakeholders in the establishment of the Great and Little Scarcia National Committee of Water Users, Sierra Leone


The commitment of these stakeholders and the imminent starting (the recruitment of international experts is effective) of the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) which can help to build trust between the partners involved, which is also an important point of this project implemented by IUCN with the funding the Global Environment Facility.

Community leader speaking

This will ensure that all stakeholders are involved in decisions related to water resource management and utilization, with a special focus on women and the poor who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods. A process of training in the TDA / SAP process of stakeholders is envisaged so as to give them the basics to contribute to the identification and prioritization of transboundary issues; collect and interpret information on the environmental impact and socio-economic impacts of each problem; and analyze the immediate, underlying, and root causes of each problem, and in particular identify specific practices, sources and locations, and areas of human activity from which environmental degradation or threat is born.


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