Reinforcing Multistakeholder Platforms in Ethiopia: Key to Fostering Greater Collaboration for Water Resources Management
This post was written by Yonas Tafesse and Mintesinot Kassa (International Water Management Institute (IWMI) Ethiopia communication consultants).
Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water and Energy (MoWE), IWMI and other stakeholders have heralded that reinforcing the Central Rift Valley (CRV) lakes sub-basin multistakeholders’ platform (MSP) is key to fostering greater collaboration for inclusive and sustainable water resources management. This was disclosed in a recent consultative workshop held at MoWE’s headquarters in Addis Ababa.
Speaking at the workshop, Dr. Abreha Adugna, state minister of MoWE, said, “The multistakeholder platform has significant potential for collaborative development and management of water resources in the CRV lakes basin.” He added that stakeholders need to work together and develop guidelines for effective coordination, integration, experience sharing, financial mobilization, out-scaling to other sub-basins and other key aspects.
The workshop was convened with the aim of consolidating and strengthening actions and aspirations of multiactors operating in the CRV lakes sub-basin with various development interventions. It was funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
Dialogue and experience sharing for mutual understanding
Attended by 50 experts from 26 governmental and nonstate actors, the workshop was featured by engaging experience sharing, live discussions and future action designing exercises.
Many participants stressed the ineffectiveness of the existing platform in managing land and water resources in the CRV. They added that development efforts by different stakeholders are uncoordinated due to the lack of a responsible coordinating body and mechanisms.
Participants urged that past and present performances of the MSP need to be evaluated and that its strengths and weaknesses be analyzed. They emphasized that the platform’s stakeholders should be comprehensive and inclusive in terms of involving relevant actors from various sectors, including public institutions, private sector and civil society organizations.
Workshop participants also underscored that the platform’s sustainability relies on the championship of mandated institutions with strong accountability, vision, intention and capability to coordinate integrated basin management initiatives. They, therefore, proposed that MoWE and the Rift Valley Lakes Basin Administration Office need to take the lead in ensuring the involvement and coordination of all relevant stakeholders.
Participants further proposed that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) should be signed by key stakeholders. They stressed that each member of the MSP should allocate its own budget to strengthen and sustain the platform.
Wetlands International Ethiopia, as one active member of the platform, also showcased one of its notable achievements from the Safeguarding Sahelian Wetlands for Food Security (SaWeL) Program, which it co-implemented with IWMI and other stakeholders. The program has been recognized for saving the Abijata-Shalla Lakes Park and restoring the larger landscape of the Ziway-Shalla Basin through a multistakeholder and multidisciplinary approach.
Toward consolidating MSP targets
Workshop delegates underscored that a guideline needs to be developed for the platform that directs coordination, communication, experience sharing, resource mobilization and stakeholder engagement targets of the MSP and out scaling MSP to other sub-basins and basins in the country. They further underlined that a shared goal and vision, communication strategy, database, monitoring and evaluation system, and legal status need to be developed for the platform.
Dr. Amare Haileselassie, principal researcher with IWMI, said, “We are more than happy to support the development of a practical guideline for establishing and managing the platform, as well as for supporting ongoing interventions through the generation of evidence for policy decision and testing innovations in CRV and beyond.”
MoWE delegates also heralded that the ministry’s latest policies and structures have undergone changes to ensure effective collaboration with partners.
Mr. Debebe Deferso, lead executive officer for hydrology and basin information with MoWE, said, “The creation of a unified platform is unquestionably important and that MoWE is ready to take the leading role in ensuring ownership and sustainability of the MSP.”
For more information and queries, please contact Dr. Amare Hailesellassie (principal researcher, IWMI Ethiopia) at [email protected] and Dr. Wolde Mekuria (senior researcher, IWMI Ethiopia) at [email protected].