In 2010, SADC released Guidelines for Strengthening River Basin Organisations, a series of four guidelines designed to assist practioners in making decision, based on best practices from River Basin Organisations (RBOs) in the region (SADC 2010). Guidelines were developed in the following areas:
The goal of the Stakeholder Participation Guideline set is to establish a set of procedures that can assist RBOs implement participatory processes. The importance of active stakeholder involvement and the mechanisms for stakeholder involvement within the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and the SADC Regional WaterPolicy are highlighted within this guideline. Four strategic areas for implementing participatory processes are presented: i) participatory framework, ii) communication and outreach, iii) stakeholder consultation, and iv) collaboration with stakeholders. Additional details on these strategic areas are outlined in the box below.
Box: Strategic Areas for Implementing Participatory Processes within aRiver Basin Organisation
The Stakeholder Participation Guideline outlines four strategic areas for implementing participatory processes.
Under participatory framework, the guidelines recommend defining the context ofparticipation, identifying and classifying the stakeholder groups, developing a participatory strategy and creating an enabling environment. The Stakeholder Roadmap, developed within the Orange-Senqu River basin is an example of a strategy for stakeholder involvement.
The strategic area of communication and outreach discusses the importance of information sharing to ensure that stakeholders are informed on a range of issues. The possible interventions proposed under this area include: sensitising the broader public; providing in depth analysis of the core issues; providing first hand exposure to the RBO activities through involving the public in activities; reaching out to marginalised groups and younger audiences; and providing updates and specific information on RBO initiatives through a website. The River Awareness Kit (RAK) approach is provided as an example of a tool for communication and outreach within an RBO.
Stakeholder consultation focuses on the two-way flow of information withstakeholders. The potential interventions presented include: obtaining contextual information through questionnaires and surveys; gathering input on RBO activities through interviews; and gaining inputs on priorities and preferences through focus groups and public consultation sessions. The Basin Wide Forum established by the Okavango Commission is an example of a stakeholder consultation initiative.
The collaboration with stakeholders strategic area focuses on how to act on the information provided by the stakeholders. The possible interventions outlined in the guidelines include developing joint plans, formalising the institutional framework for stakeholder engagement, and developing the capacity of stakeholders. The Komati Joint Operation Form is a mechanism for stakeholder involvement within the KomatiRiver basin.
The Environmental Management Guideline outlines the critical importance ofenvironmental management within SADC, as outlined in the 2000 SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses and the SADC Regional Water Policy. The Environmental Management Guideline introduces the key principles of environmental management:sustainability, precaution, integration and participation. The guidelines are presented in three strategic areas: i) environmental policy, ii) environmental information management systems, and iii) environmental management programmes.
Funding and Financing
The purpose of the Funding and Financing Guideline is to establish a set of procedures that can assist RBOs become financial sustainable. The different types of RBOs and range of mandates are reviewed and examples of financial strategies for different RBOs are presented. The three strategic areas presented in the Funding and Financing Guideline include the following: i) financial planning, ii) revenue streams, and iii) financial management. Six case studies from RBOs from around the world are reviewed to gain insight into how the guidelines translate into practice.
Establishment and Development
The goal of the Establishment and Development Guideline is to propose procedures to assist Governments in establishing institutions to manage transboundary watercourses. Institutional arrangements provide the foundation to develop human and financial capabilities to ensure sustainable socio-economic development and environmental protection of natural resources. The key issues that need to be addressed in establishing effective institutional arrangements are: i) establishment process, ii)watercourse agreement, and iii) organisational structure. The Establishment andDevelopment Guideline proposes a number of initiatives, methods and instruments to address these issues.