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Special Session: An Integrated Approach to the Governance of Shared Watercourses in Africa

IWRA 2021 World Water Congress in Daegu, Korea (29 November - 3 December 2021)
E. Development Pathways
Author(s): Host : University of Aberdeen *, University of Aberdeen

Session 1: East Africa Basins (Nile, Omo-Turkana)
Session 2: Southern Africa Basins (Zambezi, Limpopo)
Host : University of Aberdeen *, University of Aberdeen


  • Julie Gibson(University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom)
  • Zeray Yihdego(University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom)
  • Andrea Castelletti(Politecnico Milano , Italy)
  • Kevin Wheeler(University of Oxford, United Kingdom)
  • Eric Odada(University of Nairobi/ACCESS, Kenya)
  • Fritz Kleinschroth(ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Salman Salman(Nile Research Consortium, Sudan)
  • Alistair Rieu-Clarke(Northumbria University, United Kingdom)
  • Paolo Burlando(ETH Zurich, Switzerland)



Session Objectives, Justifications and Projected Outcomes

Nearly half of the population of Africa have no access to potable water; millions live without access to affordable, renewable and reliable energy resources; and food shortages and hunger continue to be rampant within some parts of the continent. Such realities are not for lack of potential. The World Bank (2019) outlines that less than 5% of the continent’s cultivated land is irrigated, and only 10% of hydropower potential has been utilised. Therefore, while resources within the continent are rich, their management and utilisation are failing to provide vital lifeline services to the population. Shared watercourses underpin all of the aforementioned areas: water, food, and energy. Existing difficulties relating to the governance of such shared resources are now exacerbated by rapid population growth and climate change.

The Nile Research Consortium, together with the EU-H2020 project DAFNE, propose two interconnected Special Sessions focusing on East and Southern Africa. The sessions will bring together world leading expertise to present case studies which utilise progressive and innovative research methodologies to contribute to knowledge transfer and development within two regions of Africa.

The two special sessions will cover three key areas:

  1. The merits of an integrated governance approach to shared water resources through the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus;
  2. The opportunities and challenges associated with basin-wide cooperation and coordination among riparian states through the integration of international watercourses law and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
  3. Potential for cooperation that integrates focus on transboundary basins and aquifers.
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