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A South African perspective on a possible benefit-sharing approach for transboundary waters in the SADC region

Anthony Turton
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa;

ABSTRACT: The concept of benefit-sharing is emerging in the international discourse on transboundary water resource management with greater intensity than a decade ago. While it sounds simple, the concept is complex and benefits are difficult to quantify and thus the concept remains unconvincing to potentially sceptical negotiating partners. Any discourse on water resource management is based on a core logic. This paper tries to distil some elements of a proposed benefit-sharing approach, presenting an alternative core logic, showing how these differ from what can be thought of as the traditional paradigm. This work is linked to ongoing research at the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), into benefit-sharing and processes of policy harmonization, within the context of developing countries.

KEYWORDS: benefit-sharing approach, hydro-political complex, inter-basin transfer (IBT), Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), Parallel National Action (PNA), River Basin Commission (RBC), sovereignty