Strategic Cooperation

Integrating Local Action within the international Dialogue on Water Food and Environment (water management)

In December 2000, 10 international organisations initiated the 'Dialogue on Water, Food and the Environment', to 'improve the management of water resources for food security and environmental sustainability with a special focus on the reduction of poverty and hunger and the improvement of human health.' It seeks to bring about major improvements in water resources management, to increase substantially agricultural production and simultaneously restore riverine and other ecosystems to ensure environmental security.

The Dialogue encompasses: (1) National Level Basin Dialogues, (2) Knowledge Base, and (3) Local Action. The latter sets out to bring ongoing water management initiatives into the mainstream of national and international dialogue, while providing an opportunity to local stakeholders to present innovative approaches and to enter the Dialogue process as full-fledged participants.

From February 23rd to 27th 2002, Both ENDS and Gomukh Trust hosted a Design Workshop on Local Action in Pune, India. Bearing in mind that this Workshop could only host a limited amount of stakeholder representatives, Both ENDS and Gomukh did facilitate an e-discussion in order to allow for a direct input by a larger number of stakeholders in Local Action. The attached 2nd Draft Discussion Paper was the basis for the discussion.

This Draft consists of three parts. Part I introduces the Dialogue and Local Action Block. Part II offers a review on sustainable, participatory water resources management. Part III develops a framework for the incorporation of Local Action into the Dialogue, including a proposed set of 'Rules of the Game'. Furthermore, it puts forth a number of Core Issues from the perspective of Local Action.

Comments and contributions to the revised paper are welcomed. Dealing with some of the key questions, dilemma's and challenges as listed below, will tangibly contribute to setting an effective agenda for the coming years.
  1. Which (regional) platforms can be used/developed through which organizations that implement local action projects could exchange information and experience ? What sort of co-ordination is feasible and most effective?
  2. How to best promote the replicating and up-scaling of successful local initiatives? (Thereby making a distinction between local action which is indigenous/internally or externally induced.). Which are the obstacles and what are possible remedies?
  3. How to ensure in the best way that members of the local dialogues participate in national and regional dialogues and, where possible, vice versa?
  4. What are the costs and effectiveness of different participatory approaches at different scales, with regard to managing water, environment and agriculture? How does this involve/effect different sections of society?
  5. Building bridges across sectoral perspectives: the option is given by the Dialogue Proposal to select 5-10 river basins to focus on real, on-the-ground problems and to discuss development and management of water resources? How can this be operationalised from a Local Action perspective?
  6. How to ensure in the best way that key angles like gender, eco-system approach, legal-institutional framework, technology, other cross-sectoral issues (e.g. market conditions) and the relationship between import-export, surplus production and local food security/livelihoods, are well embedded into the dialogues, without loosing sight of the main topic: water, food and environment?
  7. How to prioritize in the best way, under which criteria, the core issues which future local action dialogues will need to address?
  8. What principles and criteria are useful to help prioritize different types of technology, appropriate to (locally) specific conditions and requirements?
  9. Which methodological approaches for analysis and synthesis of local action expertise and experiences/best practices are most suitable? How to promote that generalized lessons can be drawn from the local action projects, which can be fed into the national/basin dialogues?
  10. What sort of capacity building and skill training is required in support of facilitating of dialogues among Local Action stakeholders and between local action projects and national/regional and global levels?

Please send your contributions to water(at) We will edit and share a regularly up-dated synthesis of the comments received through our website.

Proceed to the synthesis of comments.

If you face difficulty with downloading the paper, please let us know and we can send it to you by e-mail.

More information is available through the website of the Dialogue on Water, Food and Environment

Both ENDS (Amsterdam, Netherlands) & Gomukh (Pune, India)

Proceed to the 2nd draft of the discussion paper.