International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

Regional Dialogue and Twinning to Improve Transboundary Water Resources Governance in Africa

The GEF has funded one dozen multi-country African freshwater basin projects through foundational-type initial work worth 90 million US$. This proposal for a Medium Size Project (MSP) Grant from the GEF is to assist countries of these African basins to share experiences and catlayze partnerhips toward effecting policy reforms for governance and transitioning to needed investments. This will be done by supporting

  • (i) the adoption and national ownership of a number of GEF-catalyzed partnerships on transboundary waters in Africa,
  • (ii) the shift to systems thinking approaches by including groundwater, lakes and climate change considerations in shared basin planning and management.
  • (iii) the strengthening of investment planning processes, and
  • (iv) exchanges of GEF project experiences that can inform global policy dialogues such as the World Water Forum (WWF) in 2009..

At the broader development level, the MSP is expected to contribute to the achievement of MDGs and of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and reforms in the water sector. In particular, this MSP will help ensure that successful experiences in benefit sharing are replicated, that legal reforms support investments and that intersectoral coordination supports poverty reduction efforts in sectors underpinned by the use of water resources. This MSP has been designed to complement the upcoming Petersberg Process Africa Transboundary Basin Roundtable thus reflecting the priorities and concerns of African governments and stakeholders.

Water management needs in the Great Lakes region of Africa are acute, with inadequate institutions, policies and implementation capacity for effective watershed management. As part of a larger GEF project “Regional Dialogue to Improve Transboundary Water Resources Governance in Africa”, UNU-INWEH is undertaking a comparative study of management approaches by lake commissions in the African Great Lakes and Laurentian Great Lakes in North America. 

This “Lake Twinning” project involves five lake commissions with similar mandates and a potential wealth of common interests, challenges and experiences, namely:

  • The International Joint Commission (IJC), as an independent advisor to prevent or resolve disputes between USA and Canada under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty.

  • The Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC), established by Canada and USA in 1955.

  • The Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO), established formed in 1994 by the three riparian states of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

  • The Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), formed by The East African Community Council of Ministers in July 2005.

  • The Lake Tanganyika Authority (LTA), formally launched in December 2008 by four countries: the Republic of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Zambia


The Lake Twinning project aims to:

  • Facilitate policy, legal and institutional reform for transboundary waters management (quantity and quality) through comparative analysis

  • Enhance regional and national knowledge and capacity for the management and planning of shared water resource systems

  • Strengthen planning processes in shared water resources management, facilitating self-sustaining regional water institutions in Africa.

We anticipate that this project will lead to the development of a framework for collaboration on great lakes systems through enhanced science and policy linkages and that this framework will form the basis for longer term partnership between the commissions.

Other (not set)

Tanganyika , Lake Victoria

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Documents & Resources
General information
GEF ID 3341
Project type Medium-Size Project
Status closed (Project Closure)
Start Date 09 Jan 2008
End Date 30 Sep 2012
GEF characteristic:
GEF Allocation to project USD 1,000,000
Total Cost of the project: USD 2,915,000

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Project contacts
Alice Aureli Chief Of Section
Janot-Reine Mendler de Suarez West Africa Focal point-IFRC
Adeel Zafar Director
Joseph Weiler Professor
Mirey Atallah Regional Technical Advisor Land Degradation and International Waters