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Developing a practical approach to 'light IWRM' in the Middle East

Patrick Moriarty
IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, the Hague, the Netherlands; moriarty@irc.nl
Charles Batchelor
IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, the Hague, the Netherlands; wrmltd@aol.com
Peter Laban
International Union for Conservation of Nature -€“ ROWA; peter.laban@iucn.org
Hazem Fahmy
CARE Egypt; hfahmy@egypt.care.org

ABSTRACT: This paper outlines the development of an approach (and a set of tools) for 'light' integrated water resources management (IWRM): that is, IWRM that is opportunistic, adaptive and incremental in nature and clearly focused on sustainable service delivery. The approach was developed as part of the EC funded EMPOWERS project in three middle-eastern countries: Egypt, Jordan and Palestine. Developed specifically for use at the intermediate and local levels (that is, sub-national and sub-basin) it is based on a facilitated process of stakeholder dialogue for concerted action supported by a strategic planning framework. The paper describes and discusses the justification for the approach, and sets out its main elements as well as experiences gained during its application. The main lesson of the EMPOWERS project is the seemingly simple -€“ in fact, rather complex and time-consuming -€“ work on facilitating dialogue, taking a structured approach to examining problems, collecting and sharing context-specific information, and helping to formulate a shared vision and strategies to achieve it all of which contribute to improved decision making. However, a major limitation to effective action is lack of appropriately decentralised finance, with local authorities reliant on financing from the national level that is often earmarked and over which they had very little control.