This paper is about regional cooperation over transboundary waters and transboundary aquifers. This paper discusses seven pillars that are usually considered for long-term, sustainable and reliable transboundary cooperation: 1) legal instruments, 2) institutional structures and capacity development, 3) an integrated approach, 4) exchange of information and joint monitoring and assessment, 5) a participatory approach, 6) benefits and costs-sharing, and 7) financing.
- Public participation is fundamental to maximize agreement, enhance transparency and decisionmaking, create ownership and facilitate the acceptance and enforcement of decisions and policies. However, numerous challenges exist: differing legislation and management and public participation systems -- as well as priorities -- in neighbouring countries; linguistic, cultural and socio-economic nature; underdeveloped mechanisms of public participation in many countries and at the transboundary level. Critically, public participation requires adequate financial resources to be effective. Transboundary public participation efforts can be successful: witness the Danube Convention, the Sardar Sarovar Project and the Regional Partnership for Prevention of Transboundary Degradation of the Kura-Aras River.
- Riparian countries should focus first on optimizing the generation of basin-wide benefits, and secondly on sharing those benefits in a manner that is agreed as fair.
- Climate change will magnify regional differences in the world's natural resources and assets; however the necessity to adapt to climate change, will also offer new opportunities for cooperation in developing adaptation strategies.
- A sound legal framework is essential for stable and reliable cooperation.
- The right institutional structures at the national, transboundary and regional levels are a precondition for sustainable development and management of transboundary waters and for lasting cooperation among the riparian States.