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The Development of a Roadmap for Stakeholder Participation in the Orange-Senqu River Basin Commission – an alternative approach

Congress: 2008
Author(s): Daniel Malzbender , Anton Earle, Chris Brown, Felix Monggae, Barbara Tapela, Motlatsi Mokhothu
The authors were all part of a regional team who worked with the ORASECOM to develop a stakeholder participation strategy for the commission.

Keyword(s): River Basin organisation, stakeholder participation, transboundary water governance, Orange-Senqu River, strategy
AbstractThe involvement of stakeholders in river basin management is recognised as an important component of good governance at all scales, including internationally shared rivers. The Orange-Senqu River Commission (ORASECOM) has recently concluded the development of a strategy for stakeholder involvement in the management of the basin. This process was based on intensive collaboration between the Commission, regional water professionals and an international development partner. Following a brief introduction to stakeholder participation in transboundary water management, the core section of the paper describes the process of developing a “roadmap for stakeholder participation in the Orange_Senqu River Basin” and key elements of the roadmap itself. The most important is that it was decided to move away from the usually practised consultant driven approach, where a consultant develops a highly polished product but little ownership by the Commission is achieved. Instead, it was decided to follow a participatory approach to strategy development that would involve the Commission and its task teams throughout the process of strategy development. The Commission members worked together with other resource persons to define the core elements of the strategy, forming a first draft document. This draft was further developed by selected regional resource-persons, representing each basin state, as well as a few other countries, drawn from regional research organisations, NGOs and the private sector. This resulted in the first full draft of the “road map towards stakeholder participation”. Following another workshop, where ORASECOM’s technical task team provided further input to the draft, the draft was revised and finalised and has been adopted by ORASECOM. The terminological shift away from a “strategy” to a “roadmap” is significant as it implies a change in the approach to bringing stakeholders on board. Whereas a strategy lays out a predetermined plan to be implemented as is, the roadmap identifies a framework for actions in which stakeholders are progressively brought on board and have a say in determining the nature and level of their involvement. In its final section the paper will conclude with a summary of lessons learnt from the roadmap development process and the benefits derived from it.
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