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Strategy and methodology for improved IWRM - An Integrated Interdisclipinary Assessment in Four Twinning River Basins in Europe and Asia

Final Report Summary - STRIVER (Strategy and methodology for improved IWRM - An Integrated Interdisclipinary Assessment in Four Twinning River Basins in Europe and Asia)

The STRIVER project employed interdisciplinary approaches to assess and develop tools and methods for integrated water resources management (IWRM). A problem specific research methodology was undertaken in four twinning catchments in Europe and Asia, relying on a multidisciplinary knowledge base and a preliminary IWRM conceptual framework.

The project undertook activities related to water governance, environmental flows, water pollution, land and water use interactions, stakeholder participation, basic environmental data and interactions between scientists and local stakeholders. Provision of adequate information to stakeholders was critical, along with promotion of the benefits of IWRM, particularly in developing countries. In addition, definition of indicators for assessing IWRM status and developing of tools for specific problems' analysis was essential. The undertaken approach included the interdisciplinary integration of natural, policy and social sciences, as well as interactions with end users.

Specific IWRM problem components were analysed, namely:
1. water regimes in internationally regulated rivers;
2. environmental flow;
3. land and water use interaction; and
4. pollution.

The project facilitated detailed studies elaboration and local stakeholders' integration through the examination of sub-catchments. Dissemination activities were evaluated as being critical for the project success. Stakeholders' participation was mobilised via workshops' organisation.

Moreover, the workshops allowed for the integration of different user groups, with varied and conflicting interests. Dialogue was facilitated, even though the political, cultural and institutional context within each of the basins had a major impact on participation. It was also noted that research projects could mobilise communication despite conflicting interests, because of the presentation of 'objective' research findings. As a conclusion, the workshops helped in fostering linkages between researchers, managers, end users and policymakers, while improving acceptance of project outcomes. Additional dissemination actions included the organisation of STRIVER final conference, the launching and updating of a project website and the production of bulletins, briefs and books.

STRIVER had the following conclusions:
1. stakeholder participation was critical for successful IWRM implementation;
2. research projects could act as an independent facilitator, and provide a neutral platform for stakeholder dialogue;
3. international cooperation ought to be facilitated in cases of transborder river basins in order to apply IWRM strategies;
4. the creation and promotion of supportive tools was highly appreciated by water managers;
5. the practical application of the approach required further development and mobilisation in all the examined case studies, even though a significant number of IWRM initiatives already existed.

Finally, specific basin outcomes, useful towards applying the promoted approach, were derived by the twinning catchments investigation which was undertaken as part of the project.

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