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TopNARBO NewsletterNARBO Newsletter 14th Issue
Topics

Activities

   Launch of the Twinning Program between MASL and JWA in April 2008
  1st Meeting of the NARBO Technical Advisory Committee, Singapore, 5 April 2008

Members Initiative

  Flood Control and Planning Mechanisms
  Enhancing Cooperation between MEKONG RIVER COMMISSION Member Countries in Addressing Trans-boundary Flood and Related Issues

Announcement

  International WaterCentre Water Leader Scholarships
  NARBO Chairperson will make a presentation at WWW2008
  The 2nd Thematic Workshop on Water Related Disaster and Its Management in Asian Countries

From Secretariat

  NARBO SEEKS YOUR ARTICLES!

Activities

Launch of the Twinning Program between MASL and JWA in April 2008

Masahiro SUGIURA*

Between Sri Lanka NARBO and Japan Water Agency (JWA), MOU and Agreement were conducted as a third case of Twinning Program on April 2008. Then, exchange of personnel on Twinning Program between Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka (MASL) and JWA was also agreed and signed. The Program aims at sharing information to solve problems as well as to contribute toward the best IWRM. Continuing to strive forward together and maintain and create a better relationship for the future, too.


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Dr. Sadahiro, Mr. Tanaka, Mr. Oshima, and Mr. Sugiura were dispatched to Sri Lanka from early May 2008 to late May 2008. We exchanged practical knowledge for water resources management at Head Quarter of MASL in Colombo mostly, but we also exchanged knowledge at some local offices of MASL.


We had visited many offices of water resources management in the Mahaweli River and Walawe guided by MASL staff. It seemed that MASL had been doing their water resources management well in spite of their severe budget condition and some difficult problems. Staff seemed to have good skill to maintain and repair facilities and they know facilities condition well. Also documentation was well managed based on their rules.


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For example, we were impressed with seeing a check list and maintenance plan of facilities on the wall of Engineer's room. Then they are managing a stock of the spare parts in storehouse well. What's an especially interesting is that they make many opportunities to hear real voice by inhabitants and stakeholders anyway ("Public Day"** system is one of those instances).


We thought that MASL would be able to take an active role in the monsoon Asia Area thorough dissemination of water resources management skill to other NARBO members.

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Spare parts in storehouse

At the end of Twinning Program, we reported our activities to MASL and also presentation on Dam safety management based on the JWA experience. Hoping to continue this program, we returned to Japan with fruitful experience and good friend ship with MASL. Finally, we would like to express our sincere thanks to MASL staff.




*) Senior Engineer, Japan Water Agency
**) The official Offices accept proposal or petition from any inhabitants to improve their living conditions.


1st Meeting of the NARBO Technical Advisory Committee, Singapore, 5 April 2008

Dennis Von Custodio *

I. Background

The Network of Asian River Basin Organizations (NARBO) is keen to improve the quality and credibility of its annual training program on integrated water resources management (IWRM) to the level of a prestigious regional flagship program. At NARBO's 3rd General Meeting in Indonesia last February 2008, NARBO agreed to establish the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) who will review and advise NARBO's leadership and secretariat in revamping the training program, based on experience gained by NARBO over the past four years and taking into account approaches and experiences by other training providers.


NARBO held its 1st TAC Meeting in Singapore WaterHub
(http://www.pub.gov.sg/waterhub/Vtour/Contact_Us.htm) last 5 April 2008, back-to-back with the meeting of the regional water knowledge hubs. Selected experts from the regional water knowledge hubs meeting were invited to join the NARBO leadership and secretariat team. The Director General of the National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia (NAHRIM) was invited to chair the meeting.

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Heated Discussions

II. Findings and Recommendations

At the outset, the meeting recognized the need for capacity development in RBOs and water resources agencies in the region to implement IWRM in river basins. The meeting demonstrated (i) a keen interest to advise NARBO in improving the quality and credibility of its training program on IWRM; and (ii) the availability of valuable experiences and approaches in conducting IWRM training courses which can be useful references for NARBO.


The experts had productive discussions with the NARBO leadership and secretariat on ways in which NARBO could improve its IWRM training course, starting with the 5th course scheduled for November 2008. Specifically, the recommendations from the experts were for NARBO to


  • explore opportunities to complement face-to-face training courses with available on-line training programs, recognizing that the latter can be a convenient, efficient, practical and cost-effective means of learning;
  • continue targeting NARBO's international face-to-face training course, including course modules on effective presentation and facilitation skills, to mid-level management professionals in RBOs;
  • add short executive training opportunities for RBO executives;
  • focus course content on developing and implementing inter-disciplinary solutions to IWRM challenges, with the help of case studies, team work, and role plays, and support by qualified faculty/resource persons;
  • strengthen course content on water governance;
  • invite resource speakers with excellent communication skills and inter-disciplinary experience;
  • maintain registration fees at $200 per person per course to stimulate partial cost recovery, recognizing that such fees could be sponsored from a variety of sources on the initiative of the participants;
  • consider promoting and marketing its training program using the following strategies:
    • - identify an influential patron or champion who will promote the program;
    • - tap the services of media;
    • - improve the quality of packaging the program; and
    • - advertise in relevant websites through web links.
  • consider follow-up activities for training participants.

Towards a broader framework of IWRM certification of water professionals and RBO practitioners

The experts recommended that NARBO take a broader view to support the development of certified programs of continuous learning for staff working in RBOs, from entry level to senior management, and beyond that for regional experts. In promoting continuous and certified learning paths, the experts suggested that NARBO might target four levels of certification of IWRM proficiency and competence: (i) basic entry (IWRM advocate); (ii) middle management (IWRM facilitator); (iii) senior RBO management (IWRM leader); and (iv) regional IWRM adviser (IWRM master or counselor).


The basic entry level would be targeted broadly to junior RBO staff as well as to those doing research work or interested in a particular IWRM element. NARBO could provide access to books, manuals, guidelines, links to relevant websites, online training courses, and other reference materials on IWRM. Such assistance would be available to all NARBO members for free, and NARBO might consider charging a fee to non-members.


The middle-management level would be targeted mainly to senior mid-career water professionals to enhance their expertise in water resources management for improved inputs to decision-making. NARBO assistance through training courses would be targeted to member organizations only, and participants would be charged a registration fee to help finance the costs.


The senior RBO management and regional IWRM adviser levels would be targeted to RBO leaders, for whom NARBO would provide more advanced and specialized training courses; and would charge a registration fee.


To help professionals in progressively attaining these four levels of proficiency, the experts recommended that NARBO consider to develop a credit-based process of accreditation involving both formal training (face-to-face and on-line) as well as supervised on-the-job learning opportunities, thereby offering professionals the flexibility to design their own personal development plan for IWRM proficiency. Certification could also be earned through participation in workshops, or through heavy involvement and valuable contribution to NARBO activities.

Next Steps

The recommendations by the experts will allow NARBO's secretariat team to formulate a proposal for revamping the IWRM training course and to explore NARBO activities to help realize this broader program of continuous learning for IWRM practitioners in the region. A discussion paper will be jointly prepared by JWA, ADB and ADBI staff.

Annex I List of Participants

  1. Dr. Mochamad Amron, Ministry of Public Works, Indonesia; and NARBO Chairperson (Indonesia)
  2. Ivan de Silva, Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka; and NARBO Vice-Chairperson (Sri Lanka)
  3. Wouter Lincklaen Arriens, Asian Development Bank; and NARBO Vice Secretary-General (The Netherlands)
  4. Michio Ota, Japan Water Agency; and NARBO Vice Secretary-General (Japan)
  5. Dr. Takeyoshi Sadahiro, Japan Water Agency (Japan)
  6. Akira Terakawa, International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (Japan)
  7. Dr. Salmah Zakaria, National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia
  8. Sun Yangbo, Yellow River Conservation Committee (Peoples' Republic of China)
  9. Mark Pascoe, International Water Centre (Australia)
  10. Carel Keuls, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education (The Netherlands)
  11. Dr. Ed Araral, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (Singapore)
  12. Wu Xun, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (Singapore)
  13. Eddy Djajadiredja, Ministry of Public Works (Indonesia)
  14. Fahmi Hidayat, Perum Jasa Tirta I (Indonesia)
  15. Dr. Ick Hwan Ko, K-Water (Korea) - gave a presentation during the welcome dinner on 4 April (Republic of Korea)
  16. Dr. Jeongkon Kim, K-Water (Korea) - gave a presentation during the welcome dinner on 4 April (Republic of Korea)
  17. Dennis Von Custodio, Asian Development Bank (Philippines)
  18. Michitaro Nakai, Japan Water Agency (Japan)
  19. Akira Nishimura, Japan Water Agency (Japan)
  20. Kawasaki Tadashige, ADB Institute (Japan)


*) Asian Development Bank Water Operations Advisor



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Members Initiative

FLOOD CONTROL AND PLANNING MECHANISMS

Dr. To Van Truong*

A number of different methods are available for flood planning and control. These methods can be grouped into three broad areas, namely: Structural Methods, Non-Structural Methods, and Investigative Works. Selection of the appropriate method for a particular situation depends on site specific conditions and constraints, amongst many other factors. Indeed, a meaningful knowledge of the nature, history and geography of the regional flood regime is therefore basic to effective flood mitigation and management. This document provides a general overview of some of the methods available for flood control of planning, citing some specific examples from the Mekong Delta in Viet Nam.

Structural Methods

The following are some structural methods for controlling floods:

  • Dams, which form a barrier across flowing water that obstructs, directs or slows down the flow, often creating a reservoir, lake or impoundments. Whilst these structures are quite costly and are often associated with negative social and environmental implications, they are quite effective in mitigating floods. A cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative to conventional dams are rubber dams, which comprise a rubber bag resting upon a concrete floor on a river bed. The bag is then inflated with either water or air to create a barrier. Such structures are to be utilized at Traφ Su and Tha La in the Long Xuyen Quadrangular Region of the Mekong Delta in Viet Nam.
  • Overflow Spillways, often located on lower reaches of rivers to divert floodwaters. The river is widened at certain points and allowed to overflow, thereby reducing stress on the main river channel.
  • Dike systems, which are artificial earthen walls built along the edge of a body of water to mitigate floodwaters. They are used extensively in the Mekong Delta and are positioned either upstream (to control floodwaters and reduce their impact on downstream areas) or close to the ocean to reduce tidal components of flood events, which can be significant. For example, there is a dike line located just south of the Vinh Te canal near the Viet Nam - Cambodia border in the Long Xuyen Quadrangular Region, forming a deep inundation area and protecting downstream areas from excessive overland flow. Also in the same Region, a dike system has been implemented near the coastline of the West Sea to prevent high tide waters from raising upstream river levels, which would compound flood effects. A similar system is to be utilized in the Southern Nguyen Van Tiep canal area in the Plain of Reeds. Because rice production is highly important, priority is given to building embankments in the lowest areas, in order to retain the early flood to secure the second rice crop. There is also great pressure from farmers in these low lands to build fully protected areas to enable production of a third annual crop during the flooding period.
  • Canals. These are artificial channels that can be used to divert floodwaters, thereby acting as floodways. Canals are used quite extensively in the Mekong Delta to help divert overland flow through controlled areas. In the Plain of Reeds, there are plans to enlarge the canal system discharging floodwaters to the Tien River, and also the Bo Bo and T Canals between the 2 Vaico Rivers. Closer to the coastline in the Plain of Reeds, there are also plans to enlarge 21 main vertical canals in the Southern Nguyen Van Tiep area, which would help distribute floodwaters to the ocean, limiting overland flow. Similarly in the Long Xuyen Quadrangular area of the Mekong Delta, there are plans to enlarge 18 main canals for draining floodwaters to the West Sea. At the West Sea coastline, there are also plans to dig 20 canals to assist in floodwater discharge.
  • Sluice Control. A sluice is a water channel that is controlled at its head by a gate. Operation of these gates can help control the level of floodwaters from downstream or tidal influences from downstream. For example, sluices are operated in coastal areas of the Mekong Delta to help prevent salinity intrusion, but are also beneficial for controlling the high tide component of floods. Flood protection sluices are also positioned in upstream areas of the Mekong Delta, for example along the Bassac River and Vinh Te Canal near the Viet Nam - Cambodia border.
  • Road Strengthening. The major flood event in 2000 was a starting point for reinforcement of the road network. The national roads have been raised to a cope with water levels equal to those experienced in the 2000 flood. Rural road still suffer flooding but improvements to the weakest sections are being carried out. The road network also constitutes an embankment network protecting the low lands against flood.

Some other structural measures are being examined as they require heavy investments and may have questionable long term impacts. For example, KOICA (from South Korea) have proposed to construct a 45km long, 40m wide canal with dikes from Sarai to Thanh Hung through the Plain Of Reeds in Viet Nam. However, great care would need to be taken in such a project, since digging such a large canal requires plenty of agricultural land. Compensation and resettlement factors are potential socioeconomic issues that would need to be addressed. Further, a huge volume of flood water drainage to the southern part of Tien Giang would cause inundation in orchard areas.

Non-Structural Methods

The following are some non-structural methods for controlling floods:


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  • Building and Development Controls (Flood Proofing). This can often be a highly beneficial activity, aimed at minimizing property damage due to floods. In the Mekong Delta, the issue of housing located in risk areas is being tackled. Some new settlement areas have been built for these families and some are still in progress or planned. Families living in risk areas are being encouraged and supported to move to safer places.
  • Shifting and Changing crop pattern and schedule. Land use planning can significantly improve flood control, particularly in agricultural areas such as the Mekong Delta. Because rice production is highly important, priority is given to building embankments in the lowest areas, in order to retain the early flood to secure the second rice crop. There is also great pressure from farmers in these low lands to build fully protected areas to enable production of a third annual crop during the flooding period. Such activities can significantly alter flood patterns and should be managed carefully. There is also an increasing shift towards aqua culture production, which may reduce rice cultivation areas and increase demand for saline waters. This would alter some of the structural control measures outlined above, such as sluice and embankment control near the coastline.
  • Education and Awareness Programmers. Educating local residents and authorities on the nature of flooding and flood control measures is often very important, particularly in high density areas such as the Mekong Delta (over 800 inhabitants/km2 in some districts). This includes transfer of information on important structural flood control measures, such as sluice gate operation, and also advice on land use patterns, such as crop schedules and embankment building. It is important to recognize any education program as a two-way process, since local residents often have valuable information and ideas to help improve flood control.
  • Emergency Relief. Despite the various flood control measures that can be implemented, it is inevitable that serious floods will continue to occur, placing people's lives and property at risk. It is therefore important that emergency response strategies are in place for such situations. In the Mekong Delta, some measures on dealing with emergencies have already been implemented or are under implementation.

Investigative Works

Detailed investigative works are a critical aspect of any comprehensive flood management process. This may include some of the following activities:


  • Numerical Modeling. Hydrological models are commonly used to simulate flood events on a large scale, and many such studies have been conducted for areas such as the Mekong Delta. Popular models include MIKE-11, SOBEK and RMA2 to name a few. Hydraulic modeling can also be utilized to more accurately simulate flows in channels and through man-made structures.
  • Flood Forecasting and Warning. The Flood Forecasting and River Monitoring System in the Mekong River Commission (MRC) has over the years been improved to provide timely and accurate river forecasts to its member countries in order to reduce the vulnerability of floods in the Lower Mekong Basin. During the dry season (November-May), seven-day river monitoring and low flow forecasts are conducted and updated weekly on the internet while five-day flood forecasts at 21 key stations along the Mekong mainstream during flood season (June-October) are updated on a daily basis. The MRC Forecasting System consists of three main components; data collection and transmission, forecast operation, and forecast dissemination. A variety of forecasting tools is applied for forecasting water levels and discharges: The Stream flow Synthesis and Reservoir Regulation model for the upper part of the basin, multiple regression models for the lower reach of the delta with over bank flow, an Artificial Neural Network model for both, upper and lower reaches, and MIKE-11 for flood mapping in Mekong Delta. Forecast products including water level forecast bulletin are published on the MRC website and disseminated to the National Mekong Committees,
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    Flooding Season In the Mekong Delta
    concerned line agencies, National Disaster Management Committee and other interested parties by e-mail. This mechanism is important in flood planning, in the short, medium and long term, and methods to improve this are constantly being evaluated.


*)RBO Cuu Long Office, Southern Institute for Water Resources Planning & Management (SIWRP),Viet Nam



ENHANCING COOPERATION BETWEEN MEKONG RIVER COMMISSION MEMBER COUNTRIES IN ADDRESSING TRANS-BOUNDARY FLOOD AND RELATED ISSUES

HUYNH MINH NGOC, NICOLAAS BAKKER*

ABSTRACT

In the aftermath of the devastating floods of 2000, the Mekong River Commission developed a strategy and program to deal with the threat of future flood disasters in the Mekong River Basin. Its Strategy on Flood Management and Mitigation outlined the role the MRC could play in the management of flood risk in the Lower Basin and led to the formulation of a Flood Management and Mitigation Program, which was established in 2004.

In addition to establishing and enhancing the flood database, plus tools and capacity for better management and mitigation of flood problems in an integrated manner, the FMMP, through its Component 3(FMMP-C3), also contributes to the goal of enhancing effective regional cooperation. This component follows the objective 'to identify potential trans-boundary issues for negotiation, mediation and conflict prevention; and develop mediation and conflict management capacity' as set in the MRC Strategic Plan for 2006-2010.

The FMMP-C3 aims to strengthen cooperation and enhance capacity to address differences and disputes in trans-boundary flood issues by developing and achieving the following products and targets:


  • Common understanding and agreement on trans-boundary flood issues in the basin;
  • Information and reference documents related to international, regional and national 'best' practices, instruments and case studies for use in capacity building and reference in case of differences and disputes related to implementation of the Mekong Agreement;
  • Development and implementation of a comprehensive capacity building for the National Mekong Committees, national line agencies and MRC Secretariat staff in the field of conflict management and addressing differences and disputes related to trans-boundary flooding and related issues;
  • Establishment of a toolbox for facilitating and supporting the process of addressing differences and disputes. This will include administrative tools (e.g. manuals, guidelines and procedures), technical tools (numeric and/or physical models, assessment frameworks), and knowledge and information ('best' practices, cases studies, literature and instruments) .

The component will run for a period of three years from 2007-2009, with significant financial support from the Government of the Netherlands.

INTRODUCTION

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Two of the most common trans- boundary issues that can lead to problems in international river basins are the twin menace of droughts and floods. Both can be caused by nature, including climatic changes, and/or by human induced developments or expansion of activities. In many cases an attempt by one riparian state to mitigate the harshness of nature in droughts or floods exacerbates the problems and causes harm for others within its own boundaries and in the other riparian countries.


In recent years, the Mekong River Commission has made significant progress in developing a number of mechanisms to promote cooperation and prevent conflict among its Member States, at the same time helping them to achieve timely and amicable agreement on a range of trans-boundary issues. Coupled with its conflict prevention obligation through cooperation and mitigation of adverse impacts, the MRC's founding document, the 1995 Mekong Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin, provides for a develop mediation and conflict management capacity'


In addition to establishing and enhancing a flood database, plus tools and capacity for better management and mitigation of flood problems in an integrated manner, the FMMP, through its Component 3 (FMMP-C3), also contributes to the goal of enhancing effective regional cooperation. This component follows the objective 'to identify potential trans-boundary issues for negotiation, mediation and conflict prevention; and develop mediation and conflict management capacity' as set in the MRC Strategic Plan for 2006-2010.

TRANSBOUNDARY FLOOD ISSUES IN THE MEKONG RIVER BASIN

A common understanding on the issues and possible options for addressing trans-boundary flood issues is an important basis for exploration of any problems that may arise. The MRC Member States, with assistance and facilitation from the FMMP, have jointly identified trans-boundary flood issues (TBFIs) through a bottom-up and participatory approach. The identification of TBFIs aims to build common understanding among the Member Countries regarding transboundary flood issues in the Mekong River Basin, as well as ways through which the countries address these.


By 'transboundary' it is understood that something that happens in one country has positive or negative impacts in one or more other countries. These trans-boundary impacts are 'inter-jurisdictional'. In the case of river basins with two or more riparian states, the trans-boundary/cross-border dimension gives rise to the upstream/downstream (consecutive) or left bank/right bank (concurrent) legal relationship, depending upon the location of the national boundaries/borders.


TBFIs include both those of natural origin and those caused or aggravated human activities and/or interventions. Natural TBFIs may be identified, avoided and/or mitigated through cooperation before and after an occurrence; while floods caused or made aggravated through human activities/interventions may pose a contentious issue, difference or dispute, that needs addressing and resolving. Figure 1 was developed to illustrate the origins, nature and solutions associated with TBFIs.


Focus was given to man-made flood impacts, as these potentially cause differences and disputes between parties concerned. For this reason the MRC Member States, during the exercise to identify TBFIs, adopted the following working definition:


"Any existing or potential substantial adverse impact on the natural, economic or social environment within an area of a Riparian State resulting from a change of the water conditions during the occurrence of floods and/or during the flood season of the Mekong River system caused by a human activity, originating wholly or in part from within one or more areas of one or more other Riparian States."


The following six groups of TBFIs have been identified and agreed between the Member States (Figure 2):

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Figure 2: Six groups of regional TBFIs

In the course of TBFI identification, the member countries emphasized that technological and knowledge-related constraints appear to be most important, followed by policy, governance and institutional constraints to effectively addressing and resolving transboundary flood issues, differences and disputes (TBIDDs). The countries suggested a strategic approach for addressing transboundary flood issues:

  • To build on existing bilateral mechanisms supported or facilitated by the MRC Secretariat in general and Component 3 in particular;
  • To share experiences and lessons learnt from bilateral mechanisms, expanding them to the multilateral and regional level where appropriate; and
  • To strengthen multilateral mechanisms such as the Mekong Dialogue Partnership with China and Myanmar by providing suitable tools and services from the MRC Secretariat (relating to Upper Mekong Basin developments and global concerns associated with climate change).

MANDATE AND ROLES OF THE MRC AND MRCS AND OPTIONS FOR THE MRC MEMBER COUNTRIES IN ADDRESSING TRANSBOUNDARY FLOOD ISSUES, DIFFERENCES AND DISPUTES

Trans-boundary issues are defined as issues between two or more sovereign nations, each with its rights, interests, responsibilities and obligations, due to their status under international law. Similar impacts occur within a nation, where national laws, policies and practices are employed.


International law and the UN Charter provide a reference framework for addressing shared water resources and the rights and obligations of sovereign nations (transboundary issues). Their sources include treaties between nations; conventions proposed by the UN and regional bodies and approved/adopted and ratified by the requisite number of the respective constituency; and widely accepted international practices, often articulated in judicial decisions such as by the International Court of Justice. General international law and practice has and can be reliably applied to address contentious issues, conflict avoidance and dispute resolution through various approaches or mechanisms amongst the states of an international river basin or international watercourse, especially where a water treaty has not already been entered into by all or some of the states, or on matters not covered by the treaty.


The four MRC Member States have, in addition to general international law and practice, the 1995 Mekong Agreement, which provides a legal framework for cooperation in the development and management of the water and related resources of the Mekong River Basin. This can be used to address and resolve differences and disputes that might arise between members of the MRC.


The 1995 Agreement provides the MRC Council and Joint Committee (JC) with a clear mandate to address differences and disputes. It is likewise clear that the MRC Secretariat (MRCS) has no direct mandate or role for directly engaging in dispute resolution through negotiation, conciliation, mediation or arbitration unless it is specifically granted such authority by the Joint Committee. Figure 3 gives a brief framework on how the1995 Agreement addresses TBIDDs.


The four MRC Member Countries have two distinct options for addressing incidents perceived or understood to have been caused by the actions of another member country/ies and which to have caused a significant adverse impact or substantial damage. It or they can either pursue the matter under the provisions of the 1995 Agreement, or pursue the matter on a bi-lateral basis involving the concerned parties. The latter would be addressed on a government to government basis through the respective ministries of foreign affairs. The former would be pursued under the provisions of the 1995 Agreement. A combination of the two options may be applied as well.

COMPONENT 3 OF FMMP IN ENHANCING COOPERATION AND STRENGTHENING CAPACITY IN ADDRESSING TBFIs

The MRCS has an important role in supporting the Council, JC and the Member Countries by gathering, assessing, and analyzing data and information and by preparing report in a routine manner. It may also be specifically requested by the JC to conduct other forms of analyses, set up meetings, field trips, or to provide potential independent experts or organizations to assist in addressing development or conflict issues. Certainly the role of the MRCS is important in facilitating the enhancement of cooperation and avoidance or mitigation of incidents that may give rise to differences and disputes.


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Figure 3: Framework for Addressing Transboundary Issues, Differences and Disputes

In the process of identifying the TBFIs, the member countries grouped the main constraints to better addressing issues, differences and disputes in three areas:

  • Knowledge-related constraints limit access to reliable information on structural development plans including standard design criteria and policies. Better access to and operation of appropriate tools would help to improve understanding of causes and effects.
  • Policy, governance and institutional constraints refer to differences in administrative, institutional and policy frameworks in the four Member Countries.
  • Inadequate financial and economic resources are another important constraint. In the Lao PDR, for example, joint studies of bank erosion require considerable funding for which budget allocation is insufficient.

The support required from MRC to the member countries is presented in two groups: Technical and administrative support.


Technical support would focus on:

  • Information and knowledge generation and exchange to improve factual evidence of causes, effects and impacts. This includes science-based clarification and awareness raising, information exchange, joint fact-finding missions and studies, and harmonization of policies and regulations.
  • Development and application of tools to reduce complexity so that causes and effects become sufficiently clear to allow effective response strategies to be identified. The suitability of tools would be demonstrated and tested within specific pilot areas and projects.
  • Capacity building in impact assessment to provide a framework and develop analytical capacity for interested and value-based discussions on trade-offs between beneficial and non-beneficial impacts. The underlying assumption here is trust and confidence among the parties involved.

Administrative support is needed to:


  • Ensure adequate stakeholder participation with senior technical and administrative representatives of line agencies, including national and provincial levels if required.
  • To develop and agree on processes and procedures which provide sufficient scope for factual and information-based discussions that result in agreed strategies and actions; and
  • Ensure progress, continuity and sustained interest in the process through awareness raising, conflict prevention, management and funding.

From the above findings, Component 3 of the FMMP was developed to strengthen cooperation and enhance the capacity of the MRC to address differences and disputes in trans-boundary flood issues. Member States suggested that Component 3 ought to include three outputs:

  1. Information generation
  2. Awareness raising and knowledge and skills building; and
  3. Toolbox development

Output 1 "Information Generation" will be implemented firstly with activities on identification of trans-boundary flood issues from national and regional perspectives. The common understanding and agreement on the regionally concerned transboundary flood issues in the Mekong River Basin provide the background information and basis for all other activities of Component 3. A proper understanding of the trans-boundary flood issues will be facilitated by making available documentation, such as applicable 'best' practices, instruments and case studies relating to all suitable options for addressing differences and disputes in transboundary issues and natural resources management. Information generation will be documented and distributed to the Council and JC members, MRCS, the National Mekong Committees, relevant national line agencies and, where appropriate, to a wider audience, including resource managers, civil society organizations, regional institutes and universities . The compiled reference material will form part of the toolbox to be used by the MRC in addressing differences and disputes. The material will also serve as input for the general awareness raising, knowledge and skills building activities under Output 2.


Output 2 "Awareness Raising and Knowledge and Skills Building" will start with clarification of the MRC mandate in transboundary flood issues in addressing differences and disputes. The material developed under Output 1 will be complemented by more specific conflict management and resolution knowledge, tailored to the MRC environment. This will be used for development and implementation of activities on general awareness raising, knowledge and skills building. Implementation of pilot studies will improve the result of general awareness raising, knowledge and skills building activities and build practical knowledge, skills and mutual trust for Member States and the MRCS. Implementation of pilot studies activity will also be supported by the technical and administrative tools to be developed under Output 3.


Output 3 "Toolbox Development" aims at the development of a set of technical and administrative tools. These will be developed based on the requirements set out by relevant activities in Outputs 1 & 2. It should be noted that the establishment of the administrative tools activity strongly interacts with the implementation of pilot studies activity. The preliminary outcome of the administrative tools activity will be used as guidance for pilot studies, and lessons learnt from the pilot studies activity will help improve the established administrative tools.

A brief illustration of the Component 3 design is presented in Figure 4:

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PRESENT STATUS AND FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF COMPONENT 3

Component 3 has made good progress in 2007 and early 2008 in developing relevant MRC reference materials through the application of an intensive consultation process with Member Countries. The Component has initiated implementation of a nine-month training and capacity building program, which has the objectives of raising awareness and building knowledge and skills. The first phase of this program addresses the regional level, including the NMCs and line agencies dealing with trans-boundary issues. During Phase 1 exchange visits and training are carried out in other river basins where experience has been developed in addressing trans-boundary issues (preferably flood) issues. One of the most interesting elements of the training and capacity building program (but the most complex as well) is the implementation of one or more pilot studies. During Phase 2 of the programmer, specific focus will be placed on training and capacity building at national levels.


It is expected that the implementation of this Component will create a level playing field for participants, allowing them to work together closely and to apply a technical and practical approach. Such a joint setting will allow participants to build trust and confidence, which are conditions for the further development of the framework for addressing TBIDD. It became clear during the initial implementation period of Component 3 that each of the Member Countries is firmly committed to the scope of the component. It is therefore expected that with respect to addressing trans-boundary flood issues, Component 3 will help the Member States face the challenges of the future.



*) MRC Regional Flood Management and Mitigation Centre, Phnom Penh



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Announcement

International WaterCentre Water Leader Scholarships


International Water Centre (IWC) is offering full and partial tuition scholarships for Australian citizens, permanent residents and international applicants for the Semester 1 2009 intake of the Master of Integrated Water Management Program. Applications close August 1, 2008. IWC's Masters Program aims to build capacity in water management, particularly for developing countries. The Program takes a project-centred approach, integrating coursework in water science, engineering, policy and planning, economics and community development. IWC graduates receive a degree from four of Australia's most prestigious universities: The University of Queensland, Griffith University, Monash University, and The University of Western Australia. The Program is another initiative of the IWC to improve the capacity and build the skill sets of water professionals and future leaders in water resource management in response to the water crisis, both in Australia and abroad.

For more information, visit
http://www.watercentre.org/education/masters/scholarships

Email admin@watercentre.org.
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NARBO Chairperson will make a presentation at WWW2008

Dr. Ir. Moch. Amron, M. Sc, the Chairperson of NARBO
will make a presentation at a session in the 2008 World
Water Week in Stockholm*.
The session "River Basin Approach of IWRM; Integrated
River Basin Management (IRBM) Towards the 5th World
Water Forum" will be organized by UNESCO-IHP and
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in Japan on Thursday, 21th August. He will talk about Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) from the viewpoint of Asia, titled "Political will and institution for River Basin Management."

* The 2008 World Water Week in Stockholm will scrutinize progress and prospects in the efforts to build a clean and healthy world. Special attention will be devoted this year to the sanitation challenge and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal target on sanitation, where we continue to fall behind.
<<-http://www.worldwaterweek.org/worldwaterweek/purposeandscope.asp



The 2nd Thematic Workshop
on Water-Related Disaster and Its Management in Asian Countries
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Thematic Workshop in Indonesia

Natural disasters (e.g. floods, droughts, landslides, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunami, typhoons, cyclones and other extreme weather phenomena) have hit monsoon Asia in recent years. These disasters have inflicted catastrophic losses to human lives and to the economies of countries which NARBO member organizations belong to.
Conducting thematic workshops has been considered at The 3rd NARBO General Meeting in Indonesia in February 2008 as one of the important activities of NARBO. Based on the updated NARBO Action Plan of 2008-2009, NARBO will carry out a series of workshops on the theme of Water-Related Disaster and Its Management in Asian Countries.
The 1st workshop was competed successfully on November 26-29, 2007 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia and the 2nd one will be held as the following statement.

Date of workshop
Place of workshop
Host Organization
October 7th –10th, 2008
Metro Manila, Philippines
Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), Philippines

The selected participants will gather for this workshop and have lively discussions according to the following planned program.

Day 0 (October 6) Arrival at Metro Manila
Day 1 (October 7) Keynote lecture and presentation from each country representatives
Day 2 (October 8) presentation from each country representatives (Continued)
Day 3 (October 9) Site visit and related discussion
Day 4 (October 10) Group discussion and assignment for the next (last) workshop

The next (3rd; last) workshop will be held in January 2009. NARBO Secretariat expects active involvement of the participants!


newsletter_header
fromthesecretariat

NARBO SEEKS YOUR ARTICLES!

NARBO Newsletter aims to be a tool for sharing good practices, lessons learned from practice and IWRM-related activities, etc. Therefore, we highly welcome articles from you, about good practices, lessons from practice, activities relevant to IWRM. In addition, the article such as topic providing, and fresh voice, etc is also very welcomed. The articles you will contribute to NARBO Secretariat will be put in newsletters to share experience and lessons and so on.
We would appreciate it if you could inform us of your opinions, suggestions and request to NARBO newsletter and website, if any.
We are willing to enhance the information content.

Guideline for articles;
1) Article (good practice, case study, etc.): Abstract 500 words (around)
Please attach some photos and charts.
2) Column (topic providing, fresh voice, etc.): Abstract 300 words (around)



NARBO Newsletter is produced by the Narbo Secretariat to provide current information about NARBO activities to readers who are interested in IWRM issues specifically in Monsoon ASIA.
For comment/information/inquiry, contact info@narbo.org Thank you for your cooperation!