Ramsar at CSD-13, April 2005

20/04/2005

From the 13th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development

Simulating river basin management...

On 18 April, the Ramsar Convention, RIZA and UNESCO-IHE (Institute for Water Education) organised a three-hour session on managing water resources in a river basin in the CSD13's Learning Center. The session was based on a computer simulation of a river basin developed by UNESCO-IHE. Participants, divided into small groups, took the role of the different stakeholders involved in a river basin management to try to find the idea compromise solution for managing water resources while fulfilling the needs of everybody.

After a brief introduction on the Ramsar Convention, by its Secretary General, Peter Bridgewater, and an overview of the contents and utility of Ramsar's handbooks by Rosa Montañez, from Ramsar's training center for the Americas, Oswald Lagendijk (RIZA) and Jetze Heun (UNESCO-IHE) co-led the simulation, guiding the participants into the role playing and explaining the model and the consequences of the actions and decisions from the participants on the simulated river basin.

Participants were divided into three groups representing the city, the agriculture sector and the river basin authority. A very active and animated discussion took place between the three groups, each one fiercely defending its interests and needs for water. At the end of the session, Jetze Heun presented three scenarios aimed at demonstrating the complexity and interlinkages among the elements in a river basin, showing that there is no "one size fits all" solution, but rather several compromise solutions according to the priorities and strategic choices of the different stakeholders.

Ramsar's session was selected, among all the sessions of CSD13's Learning Center, to be webcast on the UN website (http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd13/OP/18Apr/18Apr_LC.htm#ramsar.htm) as well as to be specially monitored by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) for its coverage of the Learning Center process.

Jetze Heun (UNESCO-IHE)

Group One, river basin authority

Group Two, urban interests

Group Three, agricultural interests

Oswald Lagendijk, RIZA

Kathleen Abdalla, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Rosa Montañez, Directora Ejecutiva, Centro Regional Ramsar para la Capacitación e Investigación en Humedales en el Hemisferio Occidental (Panamá); Peter Bridgewater, Secretary General, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

-- reported by Sebastiá Semene Guitart, Ramsar

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