UNESCO-IHP and IGRAC launch publications on Groundwater Governance in Transboundary Aquifers

UNESCO-IHP and IGRAC launched a set of publications that were prepared within the framework of the “Groundwater Governance in Transboundary Aquifers (GGRETA)” Phase 1 project (2013-2015), funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and implemented by UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP). The first phase of the GGRETA project achieved raising the much-needed attention of the international community on transboundary aquifers by providing in-depth assessments of three transboundary aquifers, namely the Stampriet aquifer in Southern Africa, the Pretashkent aquifer in Central Asia, and the Trifinio aquifer in Central America. Building on the scientific knowledge generated by the project, a strong focus was given to a water diplomacy track as a means to promote gender equality and enhance capacity-building for improved transboundary and correlated domestic water resources governance.

The selected list of publications prepared by the project include:

  1. Brochure with an overview and results brochure of GGRETA project available in English, Russian and Spanish;
  2. Reports on the assessments of the Stampriet, Pretashkent and Trifinio aquifers, describing the current conditions of the aquifers, including a diagnostic of transboundary concerns, conducted with full participation of national experts;
  3. Report on the main achievements and key findings of the project;
  4. Brochure on the database and Information Management System (IMS) developed by the project for field data storage and elaboration that has become a permanent groundwater governance tool for the Countries. 
  5. Training manual on water diplomacy, international water law, and domestic water law.
  6. Guidelines for Multidisciplinary Assessment of Transboundary Aquifers prepared by the UNESCO International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC).

The training manual for capacity-building on water diplomacy, international water law, and domestic water law has been tested successfully in its full format in pilot training courses in Gaborone (Botswana, May 2015), Tashkent (Uzbekistan, July 2015) and San Salvador (El Salvador, November 2015). It is estimated that more than 200 people from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan participated in these capacity building events, ranging from staff from local municipalities to high level ministerial officers, academia and water professionals. Special attention was given to the involvement and training of young specialists. For instance, in Kazakhstan, particular focus was given to include and consider water diplomacy in Kazakhstan National Technical University’s regular programme. Participation of women was highly encouraged who made up approximately 30% of the participants. In view of its novelty and successful testing, the approach adopted by the training courses can be replicated by a wide audience of potential users throughout the global water community.

GGRETA Phase 1 project was also the first ever multi-country and multi-regional water-monitoring project with comparable sex-disaggregated data. By integrating the United Nations World Water Assessment Programme (UN WWAP)/UNESCO toolkit on sex-disaggregated water indicators and methodology, the project has been an important catalyst in promoting and raising gender issues in all GGRETA countries. The results of the GGRETA Phase 1 project gender component will be presented to a wider audience at the 2016 World Water Week in Stockholm.