How the communities consider the equity in the UN convention framework on climate change and on international watercourses and the Nile cooperative framework agreement through a human rights approach to ecosystems based capacity-building. A rights writing workshop by the communities during a mediation for the design of the management plan of transboundary biospheres: A tool for human rights and ecosystems-based climate governance?
Stephanie Demay, GWP Eastern Africa.
Human rights, climate change, livelihood protection, international river basin, biosphere
Climate change impacts can be measured in terms of water ecosystems services rights, including a right to biospheres. Local governance of water rights by the communities along with other actors of transboundary biospheres is a key hopespot of the response to climate change. Water ecosystems services rights of transboundary biosphere projects can enhance through legal action national civil society movements for the harmonization of the frameworks for transboundary biospheres pilot projects, and financial cooperation at basin level.
The proposal builds on the current sub-project between GWP, NBI (Nile Basin Inititive) and UNEP ‘Adapting to climate related water induced stress in the Nile basin’.
Building capacities is a key principle and strategy for development assistance and UN reform along with the human rights mainstreaming for United Nations Development Group (UNDG). UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has also developed a human rights based approach to governance strategies , including capacity-building . Significantly, capacity-building belongs to country programming as it is embedded in national development strategies. Consultative processes for the regulatory framework formulation of transboundary biospheres would be key opportunities to align the UN development assistance framework and the MDGs as a measurement framework of water related development. The measurement framework can also serve transboundary cooperation through social mobilization for international and regional rights before the regional human rights court.
The solution is an emerging initiative in the intergovernmental institution of the Nile Basin Initiative. It is a human rights based approach to capacity-building through a rights writing action as part of the design of integrated management and livelihood plans of biospheres and which could inform environmental protection guidelines for the interpretation of the equity principle in international climate change law as well as equitable utilization in international and regional watercourses law: Case study in a transboundary biosphere of a sub basin of the international Nile river (example: Mount Elgon water tower of the Sio Malaba Malakisi sub river basin.
The aim of the solution is to develop inclusive stakeholders mediation for legal frameworks of water related ecosystems along with water engineering and indigenous knowledge management, in line with UNESCO led Seville strategy for biospheres. Legal mediation for the elaboration of the biosphere protection framework has to raise questions about the interactions between ecological and social indicators of sustainable development: Are the norms a constraint to the planned results? How about the collaboration between state frameworks of climate change responses and customary practices, and leading to coordinated legal frameworks? (Use indicators are mostly capacities indicators that enable to deicide about a use and that are linked to the institutions, which govern the response to climate variability and change.)
In a key transboundary biosphere – hopespot for climate change of GWP/NBI/UNEP project – where indigenous peoples as the most vulnerable population to climate change live or move, e.g. Mount Elgon national parks , which have been GIS analysis as one of the most vulnerable catchment areas.
Who is currently developing this solution?
GWP, NBI & UNEP.
Who should initiate the project? Which actors will be strategic in the implementation?
GWP; IUCN; NBI; UNDP; UNEP; UNESCO; UNOHCHR; AMCOW; AMCEN; African court for human and people’s rights; parliamentarians; legal mediators; donors; social and natural scientists; agriculture, energy, environment, forest, water, wildlife, police, education, tribal health and welfare central authorities; carbon forestry developers; climate change governmental units; private park managers; CSOs.
The following initiatives involving these actors should guide the project:
• UNESCO cross units biodiversity initiative for the assessment of ecosystems services by traditional knowledge within an International Panel, and Seville strategy;
• UNEP Africa Environment Outlook 2 – improved governance system based on catchment units ;
• AMCOW and NEPAD transboundary water basin management ;
• GWP water and climate (WACDEP) programme .
Who should follow up of the solution at the local level?
Local water councils; customary institutions; legal mediators; donors; social and natural scientists; agriculture, energy, environment, forest, water, wildlife, police, tribal health and welfare local authorities; carbon forestry developers; climate change governmental unit; hydropower and irrigation developers; park managers; CSOs.
What is the current development status of the solution (if relevant, please describe the steps already taken and on-going /planned activities leading to the full development and preliminary testing of the solution?
A legal framework has been endorsed for the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Porgram (NELSAP) Sio Malaba Malakisi river basin management by the Nile Basin Council of Ministers, and Mount Elgon biosphere is part of the hydrological unit of Sio Malaba Malakisi sub basin of the Nile. The above mentioned approach could be part of the technical committee activities.
Preliminary testing: The history of norms coping with resource scarcity developed by traditional leaders has been identified as a foundation to develop by-laws during participatory workshops for the elaboration of a wetlands protection management plan, i.e. Sio Siteko in Mount Elgon vicinity, addressing trees and vegetation cover.
The question is as follows: How can the interpretation of equity in the equitable utilization principle of the UN Convention on international watercourses integrate all existing climate change responses approaches, i.e. ecosystems and rights-based adaptation and mitigation, water engineering and social behavioural change of indigenous knowledge through multi-stakeholders dialogue with the customary institutions for an inclusive spatialization of the protection of the ecosystem/catchment of Mount Elgon in the legal architecture of sub-basin and greater basin protection and management?
The political acceptance and implementation of the multi-leveled principle of equitable utilization will be increased through the self-determination and participation rights.
This project offers a legal framework to optimize the current status of water resource management and development, and its impact on sustainable development for local communities in key transboundary biospheres for harmonized climate adaptation and mitigation. The analysis is based on the assumption of community-based transboundary water management as the most effective level to ensure human and ecosystems health and conflict resolution between water users and water ecosystems services providers in biospheres, in the context of climate change negotiations at the international level. Affected by climate factored health problems, indigenous peoples vulnerability to climate change should be measured and addressed. Therefore, the human and ecosystems health status of indigenous peoples should be the criterion guiding the elaboration of regional climate change responses in transboundary biospheres.
What key qualitative and quantitative indicators would you suggest to monitor progress and success over time in the process of effectively implementing this solution ?
Next step: Mediation for the formulation of biospheres indicators, please see note 12 . The indicators should inform the UNDAF indicators as a step for the harmonization of transboundary IWRM in national action plans for adaptation and mitigation. The indicators would focus on disaggregating data and specific indigenous rights , e.g. right to participation in public affairs of biospheres management. Cross sectoral public policies would then been informed for transboundary climate induced water responses, finally reach IWRM if aligned with rights-based monitoring mechanisms of development policies and first coordinating PRSPs according to UNOHCHR guidelines and UNDG approach to capacity-building.
T. Tvedt in ‘The River Nile in the Post Colonial Age’ highlighted the diverse definitions of cooperation for the Nile use and management, and emphasized the dynamic linkages between societal and physical river systems to show that the institutional solutions to cooperation and conflict are not to be homogeneized even if collective action at the basin level is needed. This currently happening collective action can be explained along with T.Tvedt as a critical mass of people who decide the collective benefits to be allocated to others as part of an initial joint commitment. The NBI has launched the process, i.e. a pioneering vision of a river as a shared resource for all basin states, with shared benefits. The role of the peoples of the Nile states will have to be further analysed in the collective action of the Nile, i.e. key waterscapes for climate change adaptation and mitigation, such as Mount Elgon transboundary water tower, Dinder and Boma/Gambella national parks sheltering a rainforest, Murchison Semliki transboundary waterscape, Virunga-Volcanoes-Bwindi-Mahinga transboundary area, and Bugesera transboundary biosphere.
Investors and governments of public private partnerships in water infrastructure, buyers of carbon credits such as international organizations as potential funding partners of the Nile Basin Initiative who are interested in climate mitigation to fund adaptation, indigenous peoples and governments would have to strengthen their common collaboration capacity through legal mediation and implement accepted and internalized norms for ecosystems services assessments in climate change responses, and to enforce them through community self-policing as the best suited norms enforcement method for Least Developed Countries budgets.
In what context do you think this solution could/would work best and why?
Where vulnerable people affected by climate change, i.e. indigenous peoples (UNOHCHR 2008) such as fisher groups, pastoralists and forest peoples, are concentrated at the borders within transboundary waterscapes whose ecosystems services they contribute to sustain through their knowledge to ensure their maintained spiritual, political, social, economic and cultural relationship to the resource. In addition, mobility corridors is an ancient climate resilience method to cross the borders for human and animals drinking water points as well as non timber and non poaching income generation, e.g. hunting, fishing and gathering. Mobility has been supported by UNEP, IOM, and OCHA ‘security in mobility’ project in Eastern Africa to stop regional arms proliferation.
What is the minimum investment necessary (in terms of human resources, time, energy, infrastructure, financial resources, political will, etc) in order to effectively implement this solution?
Increased financial resources of UNEP/GWP Eastern Africa sub project within the whole programme ‘Adapting to climate change induced water stress in the Nile river basin’, i.e. US$ 374000 on US$ 3.2 Million.
What projects/programmes inspired this solution?
UNESCO biosphere reserves network, which has a few transboundary freshwater biospheres to ensure a transboundary experience sharing for environmental social mobilization towards litigation against illegal logging and environmental degradation of a UNESCO biosphere, as well as recently created transfrontier parks such as the Great Limpopo park in the Incomati basin. In the Incomati basin, a water sharing agreement has been signed to translate the equity principle into measurable and enforceable commitments, guided by the UN international watercourses convention and the SADC Protocol on shared watercourses.
Please see paragraph ‘Actors’.
Which steps have you already taken to secure these commitments?
A project is being developed between GWP, NBI and UNEP including the division for environmental policies implementation, and the division for early warning and assessments. The project has planned a mapping of hotspots and hopespots within the basin to define ecosystems-based adaptation options at all levels. As a second step, institutional resilience and a rights-based approach would be adopted.
In the four options proposed for the future design of the Nile river organization, with the support of the previously mentioned actors, protecting the ecosystems will not be addressed in two options. Equitable use will not be addressed in three options while emergency measures will not be addressed in two options. Disasters prevention is not preferred to emergency funding under different institutional design options. Biospheres laboratories on the responsibilities between the international community and state management would however hopefully enable the funding of the prevention.
Skype address Stephanie.demay1
Phone number: +256 792471414