Transboundary waters governance for Sustainable Development and Blue Peace

Project completed

With increasing tensions around the rarefication of water, Switzerland, with its central position within the European continent, has chosen the path of regional water cooperation. This programme relies on the synergistic expertise of three international partners. It endorses the approach that increasing regional dialogue and fostering joint management and financing for the shared water resources contributes to socio-economic development and regional stability in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Water diplomacy and security
Water resources conservation
01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022
CHF  9’246’800

Over 2/3 of the world’s countries are sharing transboundary water resources (lakes, rivers and/or aquifers), which support the socio-economic well-being of over 40% of the global population as well as the ecosystems on which they depend. Due to growing population, economic development and climate change, the risk of increasing conflicts related to access to and consumption of water in and between countries is genuine. Water stress is already a reality for over a quarter of the world population, and should reach over 50% by 2050 is nothing is changed. In such a context, the promotion of fair and equitable management of water resources in a transboundary and integrated approach is being promoted as the way forward.

Switzerland has been one of the driving forces for the successful attainment of a dedicated Sustainable Development Goal on water (SDG 6). Keeping the momentum, Switzerland remains actively engaged in support of its implementation, with a particular focus on the issue of transboundary waters management, straddling the values of peace and prosperity.

Objectives Transboundary surface and ground-waters in targeted basins (in Africa, Asia and Latin America) are managed in a cooperative manner promoting sustainable development, regional stability and peace.
Target groups
  1. At regional level : basin organisations and/or regional economic commissions,
  2. At national level : government institutions and agencies,
  3. At local level : municipal and provincial level governments, and local communities and people living in the concerned basins
Medium-term outcomes
  1. Transboundary surface and ground-water cooperation is strengthened through joint frameworks, institutions and agreements in a financially sustainable manner.
  2. Transboundary surface and ground-waters are managed, monitored, assessed, with data shared, in key transboundary basins respecting integrated water resources management principles in a changing climate, backing evidence-based dialogue and decision making.
  3. Awareness and support for transboundary surface and ground-water cooperation is increased at all levels for a more favourable environment for water diplomacy.

Expected results:  

  • Enhanced knowledge base catalyses dialogues and planning for transboundary water cooperation.
  • Institutions for Transboundary water cooperation are established in accordance with regional frameworks
  • Institutional capacity of selected RBOs and RCs on transboundary aquifers strengthened to deliver statutory mandates
  • Regional Strategy for the management of transboundary aquifers in Africa developed
  • Countries understand the benefits of transboundary cooperation and accede to the Water Convention, and the development of agreements and establishment of joint bodies is supported
  • The development of and knowledge exchange on sustainable financing models for joint bodies and cooperation processes is supported

Results from previous phases:  

  • IUCN : BRIDGE tools and approaches have been consolidated and are meeting with increased demand across the regions.
  • UNESCO: development of a joint groundwater management mechanism for the Stampriet Aquifer between South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, embedded into its River Basin organisation  for a fully transboundary integrated water resources management, model to be further promoted.
  • UNECE : Chad and Senegal have acceded the Water Convention, which should open the door to further adhesion, based on the evidence that the Water Convention does make a difference.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Other International Organization
Private sector
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • International Union for the Conservation of Nature
  • Foreign private sector North
  • Schweizerische UNESCO-Kommiss

Other partners
Regional economic commissions, Basin organisations, National and local level government institutions and authorities, Universities, Research centres and networks, NGOs, Development Banks
Coordination with other projects and actors Each implementing partner relies on a network of partners at local, national and regional levels for execution of the activities, among others : GEF, UNDP, FAO, EU, GIZ, SIDA, USAID, Oxfam, etc.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    9’246’800 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    8’773’790 Total project since first phase Swiss budget CHF   26’435’485 Budget inclusive project partner CHF   64’000’000
Project phases

Phase 4 01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022   (Completed)

Phase 3 01.01.2016 - 30.04.2019   (Completed) Phase 2 01.04.2013 - 30.06.2016   (Completed) Phase 1 01.02.2011 - 30.04.2013   (Completed)