IWRM and Transversality
Governance is among the most important factors for the world to overcome challenges related to water issues.”
Based on previous studies published in a “challenge paper” Revitalizing IWRM for the 2030 Agenda and discussed in a High Level Panel on IWRM during the 8th World Water Forum, the World Water Council’s Task Force on IWRM (2016-2018) reported that the world should look for a new approach to governance and Integrated Water Resources Management.
According to the challenge paper, critics perceive that IWRM comes up short in terms of delivering concrete outcomes. IWRM can appear to be entangled in technical and institutional intricacies rather than solving practical problems. It has been perceived as too much focused on policies and institutions, and with normative, idealized, technocratic, top-down approaches.
For IWRM to succeed, it must make changes in water management in complex social and political contexts manageable. It must reconcile IWRM’s principles and process with practical action and solution provision to pragmatic problem solving. The Challenge Paper explains that IWRM should be regarded simply as the means to an end, rather than the objective in and of itself. It deems IWRM to be an overarching, demand-driven, adaptive strategy for change that needs to be able to be applied to specific, local contexts, rather than a single, one-scale, prescriptive response. This requires an integrated approach across sectors and users, involving a wider range of stakeholders both inside and outside of the water box.
The IWRM Discussion Paper from the 7th World Water Forum provides input to the work of the 2016-2018 Task Force.
- Focusing attention on the natural environment, demand management, stakeholder participation, and the need to manage water resources as an integral part of a nation’s social and economic development.
- Providing the mechanism for trade-off analysis across sectors of food, energy, water, health, and ecosystems.
- Exploring the interlinkages between water, energy, food, health and education will help in achieving synergies between these sectors, under the guidelines of IWRM and Transversality.