Increasing Capacities of Policy Makers in International Water Law

The GWP Latin American International Water Law Training Programme held a successful VIII edition of a regional workshop with focus on La Plata Basin on 26-29 September. It was attended by 23 participants from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay, and Uruguay, most of them from public institutions.

The Water Director of Uruguay, Mr Daniel Greif, the Director of the Montevideo Training Centre of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), Mr Manuel de la Iglesia-Caruncho, and the Regional Coordinator of GWP South America, Ms Lucía Matteo, opened the event in the premises of AECID.

The Water Director indicated that “the challenge of the relations between de countries regarding the transboundary waters is historical, as waters were used as frontiers, dividing countries. It´s a challenge to see waters as a unifying resource and, the vision of basin should prevail for a proper management” He highlighted also that “it is important to generate long term scenarios integrating all aspects of the environment and also the perspective of stakeholders, as suggested by our National Integrated Water Resources Management Plan, recently launched.”

The Director of AECID Montevideo referred that “Spain is highly committed with Water and Sanitary issues, an initiative that demanded an investment of 1000 million of Euros during the last nine years”. 

The Regional Coordinator of GWP South America highlighted that “75% of Latin America territory is within transboundary basins. Despite of this situation, most of them lack of a solid legal framework supporting its effective governance” … “Since 2014 we are working through this Programme to strengthen the technical capacity of individuals in a position to advise decision makers in this regard.”

The workshop was delivered by renowned teachers. The International Water Law Manual developed by GWP and LA-WETnet/CapNet (now also available in Portuguese thanks to the cooperation of ANA Brazil) and other technical documents were sent in advance to the participants to prepare them for more meaningful interventions and for the role playing exercise, that enables a closer look into problems that usually occur in transboundary basins. 

Focused on La Plata Basin, there were presentations of relevant basin authorities from the Foreign Affairs Ministry: Mr. Javier Vidal and the Rio de la Plata River Basin Binational Commission, Uruguayan representative Mr. Rafael Michelini, who gave an overview of the current status on  water legal framework in this basin.

The event was a joint effort of GWP Central and South America, the Spanish Agency of International Development Cooperation (AECID), the National Water Agency of Brazil (ANA), The United Nations of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) and LA-WETnet/CapNet.