New Handbook for Integrated Water Resources Management in the Basins of Transboundary Rivers, Lakes and Aquifers

Press release 14 March 2012, Marseille - This publication was launched at the 6thWorld Water Forum in Marseille by the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO), the Global Water Partnership (GWP), UNECE, UNESCO, GEF, EVREN and AFD who worked together to produce it.

More than half of the world population daily lives in the basins of 276 transboundary rivers and lakes or nearly 300 aquifers. Cooperation among the riparian countries to better manage water resources and the environments in these basins, in the interest of all users and all sectors, is becoming imperative as the pressure on water resources is increasing because of the global changes which are intensifying.

The integrated approach to water resources management that many countries now have introduced in their national policy appears as the basis for improved management of transboundary basins.

The catchment areas of rivers, lakes and aquifers are indeed the spaces where hydrological, social, economic and environmental interdependences appear and where integrated development and management of water resources and territories have the potential to yield the greatest success.

The experience gained under existing transboundary cooperation agreements for many transboundary basins, allow today saying that Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) works well on the basin-scale of transboundary rivers, lakes or aquifers, when there is a real willingness of the stakeholders concerned.

Nevertheless, significant progress remains to be done everywhere in the world to improve or initiate the management of shared river basins. How then to move from theory to practice to implement transboundary cooperation on water? How can you possibly establish an effective and lasting transboundary basin organization?

To support this process, the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO), the Global Water Partnership (GWP), UNECE, UNESCO, GEF, EVREN and AFD have worked together to produce the "Handbook for Integrated Water Resources Management in the Basins of Transboundary Rivers, Lakes and Aquifers," presented at the World Water Forum in Marseilles.

This book, which took nearly a year of work and involved many professionals, aims to provide practical advice to improve water resources management in transboundary basins, using more than 60 examples of actions already successfully initiated in various basins.

Its drafting was coordinated by Christophe Brachet and Daniel Valensuela (IOWater) with contributions from Patricia Wouters (Dundee UNESCO-HELP Centre), Nataliya Nikiforova (UNECE), Jose Luis Martin Bordes and Raya Stephan (UNESCO-IHP), Ivan Zavadsky (GEF), Elisa Vargas Amelin (EVREN) and Lionel Goujon (AFD). This handbook, which supplements the "Handbook for Integrated Water Resources Management in Basins" published in March 2009 during the Fifth World Water Forum in Istanbul, is addressed to representatives of the governments of countries bordering transboundary basins and managers who must make decisions related to resource sharing and management, and more generally to all water users.

The Handbook is published in French and English. It has received financial support from the French Development Agency. Digital versions of the English and French Handbook can be downloaded, free of charge here: The handbook itself and its versions on CD-ROM can be obtained free of charge, subject to availability, by e-mails to

The International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO), established in 1994, supports the implementation of integrated water resources management in the basins of rivers, lakes and aquifers. It links basin organizations and other governmental agencies responsible for river basin management, in order to promote exchanges of experience and develop effective tools for better water resources management at the transboundary, national and local levels.

The Global Water Partnership (GWP) is an international network that promotes water security over the world. GWP’s task is to contribute to the development and sustainable management of water resources at all levels. GWP was established in 1996 to promote integrated water resources management and ensure a coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources by maximizing the economic and social welfare which results, without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems.