A National Workshop on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Adaptation to Climate Change took place at the Dead Sea in Jordan on May 26-27, 2016. Bringing together more than 40 participants from national and regional public authorities and agencies, the event was the stepping stone for a series of workshops, trainings and activities that will take place in the selected demonstration site (the Yarmouk River Basin), as well as at national and regional levels.
The workshop, designed to accommodate a strong participatory approach, used a dynamic methodology that interwove plenary sessions, thematic group sessions (on water demand management, water resources protection, and climate change monitoring and adaptation), and working groups on the assessment of inter-institutional cooperation and dialogue processes in Jordan. The workshop helped participants to gather vital data and information that will be analysed and used in follow-up, capacity-building activities.
The workshop opened with the welcome note delivered by a representative from the Ministry of Water and Irrigation who spoke on behalf of Mr. Ali Subah, the Ministry’s Secretary General for Strategic Planning. The WATER SUM/WATER POrT project manager, Ms. Jovanka Ignjatovic, then set the stage for the whole day by introducing the workshop’s objectives and structure before giving way to the three thematic group sessions.
The WATER POrT international experts presented implementation methodologies and options for each thematic group, and then worked together with groups members to reach a common understanding of relevant information and metadata and of how to use them most effectively to achieve project goals.
The conclusions following the group discussions were the result of all participants presenting outcomes arising from within each group, as well as from agreed data collection processes and templates. The open-floor format of discussion also permitted participants from other thematic groups to comment and provide input for the draft outcome documents.
The “Inter-Institutional Dialogue and Cooperation” session was developed in order foster both a horizontal and vertical understanding of how different institutions have a common interest in working together — a concept that is central to improved and sustainable use of available water resources, and to effectively linking hard skills (the “technical” side) with soft skills (the “dialogue” side) in order to achieve a balance between both.
The participants split into four small working groups. Each group was set up so that none included more than one expert from the same institution. Each group was asked to develop a SWOT analysis to contextualize and assess the status of inter-institutional dialogue and communication processes for IWRM and adaptation to climate change in Jordan’s water sector. Based on initial inputs received during the workshop, the project team will pinpoint those traits common to multiple groups. Tools and methodologies that might help to overcome differences and conflicts of interest will be presented at future trainings.
The results of the WATER POrT photo competition in Jordan was also announced during a brief award ceremony.
Ms. Ignjatovic closed the event with a review of workshop conclusions, and outlined the next steps for future activities.
“Strong human and technical capacities in water management sector are already a reality in Jordan,” the WATER SUM project manager explained to workshop participants. “The purpose of our project, having first identified your needs and priorities in managing water resources, is to support further development and improvement. We want to achieve this through targeted national activities that are built onto existing knowledge and through regional actions in which the different target countries will have the opportunity to share experiences and expertise in IWRM and adaptation to climate change, and also to cooperate in addressing common water challenges.”
In addition to the participants providing initial, useful insight on how to improve inter-institutional collaboration, the workshop produced several positive outcomes, such as increased understanding of the issues, recommendations on how to make improvements, and constructive input on how to shape forthcoming activities that will focus in-depth on: water demand management, water resources protection and adaptation to climate change, as well as on how these themes intersect with cooperation and dialogue processes in the water sector.
Key messages and workshop documents and materials will be published in due course on the WATER POrT trainings/Workshops webpage.