Phase II Nexus Assessment in the Drin basin

Drawing directly from the conclusions of the qualitative Phase I Nexus Assessment in the Drin basin, the quantitative Phase II Nexus Assessment focuses on the following topics:

1. Hydropower and floods

The physical relation between hydropower operations and flood episodes in the basin needs to be better understood, to clarify the actual and potential role of increased cooperation along and between the two hydropower cascades on flood management and prevention. This requires building a model of hydropower in the basin that is capable of representing the impact of different types of hydropower operations, and different types of cooperation, on water discharges along the basin. In order to also understand the impact on electricity production (and energy security), this model should also represent the wider power system that the hydropower plants are part of.

Building such an integrated water-energy model for the Drin basin will also allow to: understand the basin-wide impact that the building of new dams planned in the basin would have, both in terms of flow regulation and power production; model the impact of future trends (such as climate change) on the power system and the hydrological system; and compare the competitiveness of hydropower compared to other alternatives (notably, other renewables).

Further to the modelling analysis, the Assessment also aims to quantify the costs and benefits of shifting to a “flood-smart”, cooperative hydropower operation regime in the basin, and to Identify the key changes in governance that are needed to allow for such a shift.

2. Sustainable Biomass and Forest management

The consequences of unsustainable forest management affect related ecosystems and all the economy-wide services that they provide. In particular, forest degradation contributes to soil erosion (adding to the pressure coming from various sectors, including notably gravel extraction and agriculture).

The analysis under the Assessment aims at improving the understanding of inter-sectoral dynamics and implications of sustainable biomass and forest management, and at increasing awareness of the cross-sectoral benefits related to it, to inform coordination of policies and management practices.

The analysis will produce a map of interlinkages (cross sectoral impacts, trade-offs, synergies) related to the use of biomass and sustainable forest management, and associate them to quantifiable key indicators. The framework of reference for the mapping on interlinkages (and indicators) is given by the three pillars of sustainability: environment (e.g. forests and water, impact on climate and biodiversity), economy (e.g. employment in forestry, agriculture) and society (e.g. gender equality and women empowerment in the context of rural development, implications for marginalised communities).

The analysis will then suggest a package of solutions (under Institutions, Information, Instruments, Infrastructure, International cooperation) towards sustainable forest management and production and consumption of biomass in the region, to maximize cross-sectoral benefits.

The Drin Core Group (DCG) -that has the role of coordination of actions in the Drin Basin for the implementation of the Drin MoU- also functions as the basin-level Steering Mechanism of the SEE Nexus Project’s activities in the Drin basin, and the Drin Stakeholders Conferences held under the Drin Coordinated Action process, also serve as Regional Consultation Meetings in the context of the project.

The Drin basin was selected as one of the 3 areas of focus of the SEE Nexus Project by the Regional Working Group on Environment (RWG-Env), established under the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), which also serves as the Steering Committee of the Project.

For more information on related activities, see news items below

               Watch or download the presentations here