Eritrea: Vital aspects of the Eritrean IWRM planning process (#366)

Driven by the Water Resource Directorate of the Ministry of Land, Water and Environment, Eritrea initiated IWRM implementation in 2005. Several steps were taken including the drafting of a water situation analysis report, identifying strategic areas and major gaps for IWRM implementation, and completing an IWRM Action Plan. The lesson which should be drawn from this case study is the importance of proper management of the planning process and building capacity for IWRM.  


Eritrea began the process towards IWRM development at end of 2005. The lead agency has been the Water Resource Directorate (WRD) of the Ministry of Land, Water and Environment (MLWE). The Eritrean Country Water Partnership (CWP) has played an important role in IWRM planning process. Using CWP as a major platform for consensus building and dialogues, IWRM process continued through meetings, briefings and workshops to secure political will and consolidate stakeholder involvement for the preparation of the IWRM plan.

Action taken

With support of the government and commitment of partners, the water sector situation analysis report was drafted in July 2006. Five working groups worked on 18 thematic strategic areas. For each area, gaps were identified, and specific objectives and measures were agreed.

To facilitate the preparation of the IWRM Action Plan, a strategy on how to address the identified gaps for IWRM was formulated and documented with the full participation of stakeholders. At end of 2009 the IWRM Action Plan was completed and disseminated to the broader stakeholders. The Action Plan clearly documented 95 actions/project portfolios that address the identified gaps in enabling environment, institutional framework and management instruments.

As a result of IWRM planning process a major regulatory instrument (Water Proclamation) was amended and several new regulations were adopted. A capacity building component was critical part of the planning process. 
Up to 80 decision makers, water professionals and experts of relevant stakeholder institutions at national level and over 700 stakeholders at sub-national level undertook extensive capacity building programs in their own institutions.

Lessons learned

Two vital elements of the IWRM planning process are discussed in this case study: proper managing of IWRM planning process and building capacities on IWRM. A role of Eritrean Country Water Partnership in facilitation of the IWRM planning process was significant. Although the IWRM planning was initiated and funded by external actors, CWP succeeded to create national ownership.

A political will advanced the development of strategic planning document; however the implementation of the IWRM Action plan will test the results of this project. There are still challenges regarding availability of funds and expertise.