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Rationale

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Practical strategies for implementing Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) have been shown to work. These work best when they address the needs of nature in combination with social and economic development. They require changes from traditional ‘top-down’ water management. Practical strategies overcome lack of coordination among sectors and disjointed planning that can otherwise easily result in unnecessary expenditure and large infrastructure that fails to provide expected results, at the expense of natural ecosystems.

IWRM is designed to replace fragmented management of water and encourage sustainable use. Planning for IWRM takes place using inclusive, participatory processes. The big challenge is to implement IWRM. A few initiatives have shown that implementing IWRM is made practical by explicit strategies to demonstrate what works, how to deliver results on the ground and learning-by-doing. Real progress is built by combining demonstra­tion and learning with empowerment of communities, and actions that support and catalyse national and basin-level water reforms with financing and investment that can be sustained.

Stakeholders with interests in water decisions need to work together to understand their differences and search for solutions that each can accept. Different stakeholders are identified and, usually through representatives, invited and assisted to interact in a deliberative forum that focuses on: sharing knowledge and perspectives, generating and examining options, informing and shaping negotiations and decisions.

The purpose and scope of a Multi-Stakeholder Platform (MSP) must be clear, with appropriate scales and levels for deliberation and analysis (for example watershed vs. local district vs. national). MSPs expand representation and participation of stakeholders in governance. They encourage learning and greater understanding of interdependencies among stakeholders and ways of resolving contested issues. By providing a pathway for deliberation, MSPs can lead to better decisions and water agreements that can be more successfully implemented.

In addition, GEF IW Projects should engage private sector organizations (companies, non-governmental organizations and private foundations) as a key element of their replication, sustainability and co-finance strategies. Starting a public-private partnership is not easy. However, together government, not-for-profits, foundations and companies can accomplish much more than they ever can independently.

Most businesses approach the environment through the lens of risk. How does the availability of natural resources impact their business? GEF IW Projects are well positioned to offer shared value through shared problem solving to meet business and environmental priorities in communities where the project and organizations work.

 

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