Regional Validation Workshop on the Inventory of Data, Models and Information Systems"

The regional workshop on the adoption of the inventory of the types of scientific / technical data to be retained in the Mékrou Project was held in Cotonou from 5 to 7 November 2014. It brought together about thirty participants from the three countries covered by the project (Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger) and partner organizations (GWP, JRC, NBA, etc.).

The official ceremony was held under the patronage of the Beninese Minister in charge of water and marked by four interventions. All speakers and especially the Minister in charge of water from Benin stressed the need to see the Mékrou project effectively contributing to the resolution of the concerns of the populations of the three (3) countries.
Several communications were made including on the various ongoing initiatives by countries (Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger) and some key actors (AGRYMET, ACMAD, SAP / UNDP NBA) in the Mékrou basin. It is important for the Mékrou project to profit and exploit the information provided by the various projects and initiatives to achieve its own results.

The discussions came out with a number of reflections including the conduct of extensive field studies because there is a real problem with the knowledge of the water resources. It also revealed the necessity to strengthen institutional and inter-communal capacity to deal with the problems of quality and updated data at the micro level (sub-basin). Participants also stressed the need to make concrete the establishment of an observatory for conflict management. There are indeed problems of knowledge on groundwater resources that do not facilitate the construction of drinking water supply structures. It has been recommended to take into account the concerns of local people including farmers and sustainability aspects.

After the presentations on the models by countries and institutions, it was noticed that each model presented has its weaknesses, so participants proposed a multi-model approach for the Mékrou Project. Thus it was proposed unanimously that AGRYMET given its experience is in charge of coordinating the scientific models used for the Mékrou project and ensures their operationalization. The project opts for "open source" type models.

Regarding the data, it was recommended to think about how to make the available information accessible to all, on the role of each project actor and the need to develop the list of data needed for the project. The project will work to improve collaboration between all partners to collect data and draw a map of the basin that will zoom on the area covered by the project.

After three days of work and fruitful discussions, the Chair of GWP-WA, Professor Abel AFOUDA thanked everyone and invited stakeholders to a synergy of action for achieving the objectives of the "water for growth and poverty reduction in the Mekrou transboundary River basin" project.