International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

Examples of key integration/implementation strategies


This step of the SAP development process involves direct engagement with the national development planning processes in each country in order to ensure the SAP is fully integrated into national development plans and vice versa.

In particular, it should focus on:

  • Integration/Implementation strategies
  • Legal and Institutional Frameworks
  • Mainstreaming activities
  • Investment priorities

What are the key integration/implementation strategies?

There is no agreed blueprint for the integration of the SAP into national and regional development planning processes. A number of approaches have been used over the last decade and tend to reflect the economic, political, institutional and regulatory frameworks of the countries where the integration is being carried out. Often, the SAP will use more than one approach to ensure that the it is fully integrated with both national and regional processes.

The main approaches are outlined below and presented in more detail below.

  • Embedding into existing National Action Plans
  • Strategic partnerships with other regional initiatives
  • Sub-regional and bi-lateral Agreements
  • Regional coordination networks
  • Development of water system-based National Action Plans (NAPs)

Embedding into existing National Action Plans

(e.g. Lake Victoria Basin SAP)

To ensure sustainability of SAP activities, it may be necessary to mainstream them into national priorities and relevant regional initiatives. Mainstreaming will pave the way for respective institutions to eventually capture SAP activities in their annual budgets, especially for purposes of leveraging external funding.

Strategic partnerships with other regional initiatives

(e.g. Mekong River Basin SAP)

In order to reduce the replication of effort; waste of resources (financial, time and knowledge); and conflict between approaches, the SAP process should fully collaborate and integrate with other strategic partnerships and national and regional initiatives. Examples could include engaging and collaborating with on-going national Integrated Water Resource Management Plans, River Basin Management Plans or Integrated Coastal Management Plans, amongst others.

Sub-regional and bi-lateral Agreements

(e.g. South China Sea SAP)

Countries could be encouraged to enter into sub-regional and bi-lateral agreements to address issues relating to the implementation of the SAP. The Memorandum of Understanding signed by all participating countries in the SAP can form the umbrella under which these sub-regional and bilateral agreements are negotiated and implemented.

Regional coordination networks

(e.g. Yellow Sea LME SAPLake Victoria Basin SAPLake Chad Basin SAPNubian Aquifer SAP)

Often, regional Commissions are created, strengthened or revised as part of the SAP process and are given the responsibility for promoting and coordinating the implementation of priority actions that the participating countries have defined in the SAP.

National Action Plans (NAPs)

(e.g. Lake Chad SAPGCLME SAPFreplata SAPDnipro SAPCaspian SAP)

The SAP can be supported to a large extent by national interventions contained in specific water system-based National Action Plans (NAPs) developed during the SAP process. Whilst the NAPs feed into the SAP, they are also cohesive, independent documents detailing national objectives, targets and interventions to be achieved. Without commitment to implement the national actions, the regional interventions of the SAP would have no foundation and their implementation would be undermined. Some countries will place the NAP higher in the political process than others (i.e. at a parliamentary level rather than ministerial). Therefore no two NAPs will have quite the same appearance, scope or focus.