Experience Note: Fostering Transboundary Cooperation Through Regional Dialogue Processes
With 90% of the territory of Southeastern Europe (SEE) countries falling within shared water basins, the effective management of transboundary water bodies is of particular importance for the region. Such a fragmented situation means that international legal frameworks and cooperation arrangements need to be worked out to ensure protection and sustainable use of these transboundary water resource systems. This Note examines whether and how a regional dialogue process can leverage such outcomes. It examines whether experience-sharing and consensus building lead towards the types of confidence-building measures needed to foster trust or highlight shared benefits. The intervention specifically included the fostering of a regional community of practice engaged through a series of roundtables and capacity building workshops. Operationally, six types of activities constituted the formal aspects of this regional dialogue process (a Coordination Group, Roundtable Dialogues, Capacity Building Materials, Targeted Workshops, Information Management and Partnership Building) The AthensPetersberg Process, through a suite of different types of activities, leveraged some key outcomes, especially in the period 2004 to 2008. The series of activities under the Athens-Petersberg Process demonstrates that such technical level dialogues and exchange of experience improve understanding and communication and offer the basis for the initiation of cooperation processes among stakeholders; they may also offer real political outcomes. The Athens-Petersberg Process is demonstrating that water can indeed be a catalyst for cooperation. Replication rests on financing, incremental progress, shared benefits/joint visions, keeping partners and stakeholders focused and sustained investment.
12 Jan 2015