Expert meeting: integrating land & water management

Everybody agrees: integration is key 

Integrated land and water management is key to sustainable solutions. Whether we are from Ethiopia, Rwanda or the Netherlands, we all want to produce sufficient food, use our water responsibly and generate energy in a climate friendly way. In short, operate on the nexus of water, food and climate change. To do this, we rely on functioning landscapes that provide all services, now and in the future. Also with a changing climate, growing populations and changes in land use.  

So why is integration so hard?  

If we are all so aware of the importance of integration, why is it so hard in practice? Why do we still see people working in relatively isolated, single-issue projects, disregarding or even counterproductive to other relevant issues? Why do we still see funding schemes directed to water management and to land management separately? Or the funding of food security & nutrition projects without looking at WASH, as was the recent topic of a workshop organised by IGG. Why do we still see governments organised in silos of decision making, with vested institutional interests dominating the sectoral directions chosen? Integrated management of landscapes requires careful balancing. Working in isolation does not make this any easier. Yet true cooperation, in the interest of truly integrated, sustainable solutions, remains rare.  

What could be solutions? 

Recent experiences with the landscape approach, multi-stakeholder planning and strategic environmental assessment (SEA) for strategic planning in delta’s, catchments and landscapes show that there are ways to improve integrated decision making for land- and water management. How do these approaches complement each other? And what does this mean for SEA? Does SEA bring what it promises? What could we do better? 

The meeting and speakers

The expert meeting will investigate the opportunities for the planning, decision making and management of land and water resources in a truly integrated way. And what does this mean for SEA? 

In this expert meeting, three key actors present their views on the situation, after which the floor opens for a facilitated debate between all present: 

  • Responsible government: Mr François Tetero, Director of Water Resources Management at the Rwanda Water and Forest Authority, shares his experiences on Catchment Planning and the role of SEA; 
  • Responsible donor: Mr Omer van Renterghem, MFA Netherlands, explains how donors try to find integration in their programmes, such as in Rwanda and Ethiopia; 
  • SEA expert: Mr Roel Slootweg, international advisor and coach of SEA processes, explains how SEA can help balancing possibly competing interests and finding integrated solutions for a more sustainable and equitable future. 

Facilitator: Ms Gwen van Boven, NCEA