The Global Water Initiative (GWI) was an action-research and advocacy programme that ran from 2008-17. The project is now closed. This site is no longer being updated, but allows access to GWI outputs until 1 October 2020 when it will also close. After that date, information about the project and core GWI technical publications will continue to be available from the IIED website and Publications Library.

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Increasing cross-border collaboration for IWRM

The countries of West Africa share the same water resources, often large rivers and drainage basins that cross several countries. In light of this fact, cross-border collaboration is essential for effective Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) and to avoid competition and possible conflicts over limited resources.

GWI worked to increase trust, communication and technical collaboration across national boundaries. For example, in the Sourou river basin between Mali and Burkina Faso we helped establish a cross-border integrated resource management committee. This committee, which is part of official intergovernmental co-operation between the two countries, is formed of an equal number of representatives from the State, local collectives and grassroots organisations from both countries. It now gives advice on all IWRM initiatives in the Sourou river basin, ensuring that all stakeholders have a voice in cross-border natural resource management.

The following documents are examples demonstrating successful cross-border collaboration for IWRM.



The Joint Technical Committee formed by this agreement represents an official collaboration on water resource management between Mali and Burkina Faso.

Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali and the Ivory Coast all share the natural resources of the Black Volta river basin. Collaborative water management is therefore crucial to help build and maintain mutual trust.

Given their shared water resources, the necessity for cross-border collaboration is clear to both communities and governments of Burkina Faso and Mali.

The roles and responsibilities of each key member of the Sourou Cross-border Integrated Resource Management Committee (CGTS) are outlined in this document.