Representatives of major national water sectors gathered on Monday, Oct. 24 for IUCN’s launch of the Mekong Region Water Dialogues’ (MRWD) Viet Nam component.
The dialogues constitute a process initiated by IUCN and regional partners to improve water governance through transboundary coordination in the Mekong region, specifically Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.
The Viet Nam component is coordinated and facilitated by IUCN, in close collaboration with the programme’s key partner – the Department of Water Resources Management (DWRM) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE). Each year, the Viet Nam component will conduct a number of case-studies and organise national dialogue(s) on urgent water governance issues in the country and, when appropriate, host the regional dialogue.
“Water governance in Vietnam still follows the sectoral tradition, with a lack of participation and integration in planning, development and implementation of policies,” said Dr. Nguyen Thai Lai of DWRM. “A more coordinated and participatory approach will help to address the challenges of food security, sustainable development and poverty alleviation.”
The MRWD connect members of government, business and civil society to share water management needs and concerns with each other in a transparent and participative water governance process, said Aban Marker Kabraji, regional director of IUCN in Asia.
For each country, a National Working Group (NWG) will be established with about 10 members representing the government, private sector, civil society, donors, universities and research institutions. The NWG will shape the agenda for the national dialogues and help establish connections with decision- and policy-makers. A NWG already has been established in Viet Nam.
The MRWD will be a country-driven process, with national stakeholders in each participating nation deciding the key issues for discussion, and then bringing those points to the regional level.
IUCN will use its strength as a convener to give all the various interest groups an equal seat at the table.
“Given the complexity and sensitivity associated with water governance, IUCN’s capacity to convene different stakeholders will form an integral part of this dialogue process,” said Ganesh Pangare, coordinator of IUCN’s Asia Regional Water and Wetlands Programme.