International Workshop on Governance of Transboundary Water Bodies of Latin America (Rivers, Lakes and Aquifers)

November 23, 2009 | Campo Grande, Brazil

It has often been fashionable in recent years to speak of water wars and political and social conflicts over water. The hypothesis of this meeting is that through proper inter-institutional coordinating mechanisms, the countries sharing the same water bodies can benefit significantly more through cooperation rather than through conflicts. Even though management of transboundary rivers, lakes and aquifers are considered important at present, a comparative and objective study of the efficacy of the institutions to manage such basins efficiently is still conspicuous by its absence. It is thus necessary to conduct a systematic and comprehensive objective analysis of the existing transboundary river and lake basins organisations and transboundary aquifers management institutions to determine their relative successes and failures, and the reasons thereof. Through this process, a community of good practices for sustainable water resources management can be reliably identified, and their potential replicability could be considered for case-specific situations of transboundary water management in Latin America. A few examples from outside Latin America are also discussed to consider their potential application in the region.

During the workshop, 8–10 major transboundary freshwater bodies are analysed from the appropriate Latin American countries. While considerable efforts have been made in the past to analyse the transboundary water bodies of Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East (for example, Ganges, Indus, Mekong, Salween, Nile, Zambezi, Rhine, Danube and Jordan), commensurate emphasis has not been given on the study of the Latin American transboundary water bodies. To the extent these have been studied in Latin America, the primary focuses have been on the major rivers like the Amazon or the Plata: smaller transboundary rivers, lakes and groundwater bodies have not received adequate attention.