The IUCN BRIDGE programme works towards building river dialogue and governance in transboundary basins. Implemented by IUCN in close collaboration with regional partners, a fourth phase of the programme was launched promoting collaboration between countries over shared waters and hydro-diplomacy across fourteen transboundary basins in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Globally, over 276 lake and river basins stretch across multiple nations. Around 60% of these international river basins lack any type of cooperative management framework. Good transboundary water management is crucial for peace, health, and prosperity. As part of IUCN’s global strategy for conservation and development, one of the Water Programme’s key pillars is to help countries and stakeholders put in place good water governance and collaborative dialogue.
During the 2018 UN Security Council, Secretary-General António Guterres stated that “the United Nations recognizes the potential for shared management of natural resources as a means for preventing conflict and enhancing regional cooperation for peace and sustainable development. Water is a ‘catalyst’ for cooperation.”
Water as a broker of peace has been at the centre of the BRIDGE programme since it began in 2011, helping support countries in resolving issues and creating agreement over their shared waters. On the basis that equitably sharing joint water resources benefits all, BRIDGE works along with the IUCN Environmental Law Centre at multiple institutional and governance levels towards reaching agreements, unlocking stalemates, and building capacity for key stakeholders to support and improve transboundary water governance processes.
Funded by SDC, BRIDGE-4 will run from 2019 to 2021. The BRIDGE inception workshop was organised by the IUCN Asia office and took place in Chiang Mai, Thailand from 8 to 12 July 2019, including a field visit to communities on the Salween River along the Thailand-Myanmar border. During the fourth phase of BRIDGE the Asia region will focus its work on the Mekong tributary 3S Basin (Sesan, Sre Pok, and Sepok), and the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Basin. IUCN will also work in partnership with MERFI to initiate new activities in the region. For a full map of both BRIDGE and other transboundary basins where IUCN's Water Programme works, please click here.
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