22 participants attend the Training of Trainers course on Integrated Water Resources Management in the Netherlands

22 participants attend the Training of Trainers course on Integrated Water Resources Management in the Netherlands

18 June 2013

The International Training of Trainers on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) has just taken place in Wageningen, Netherlands from 27 May to 15 June. With 22 participants from 16 countries this intensive training is the first of the ‘new’ Training of Trainers courses run by Wageningen UR Centre for Development Innovation and replaces the course on wetland management. Both courses have been endorsed by Ramsar as excellent training for wetland managers and planners as well as those working at the policy level. This current three-week IWRM course uses approaches that are consistent with Ramsar’s wise use principles and is particularly relevant for the Ramsar handbooks on river basin management, water allocation and CEPA as well as management planning.

How does this course differ from the previous course? It brings together wetland managers as did the previous course but it also has attracted those more concerned with water management as well as land use planners and those involved in water and sanitation; a diverse group of implementers giving the opportunity for cross-sectoral sharing of experiences and learning. The course aims to enhance the water stewardship skills of participants providing them with practical tools and skills to guide stakeholders, often with different views and concerns, towards cooperative planning for integrated water management that ensures the wise use of wetlands and water. Here’s the three-week programme:

Week 1 Wageningen: Looking at the key concepts behind Integrated Water Resources Management, water stewardship and participation, capacity development and learning styles.

Week 2 Biesbosch National Park (located in North Brabant and South Holland): Using essential skills in facilitating multistakeholder processes and management planning.

Week 3 Wageningen: Conflict management; curriculum development.

I arrived at the start of week 3, just in time to learn more about the outcomes of their field week in the Biesbosch (and of course to give everyone a presentation and materials about Ramsar). During the field trip the participants, working in small teams, carried out stakeholder interviews with a broad range of ‘user’ groups in and around the park including a farmer, artist, hotel owner, tour operator and representatives from a fishing company, the municipality, a nature and conservation group, the State Hydraulic Works (Rijkswaterstaat), the State Forest Service (Staatsbosbeheer), the Government Service for Land and Water Management (DLG) and the local Water Board (Water Board Hollandse Delta). Analysing these interviews the participants used many tools such as stakeholder ranking, developing problem trees and then objective trees, leading finally to the development of a management plan. The plans from different groups were then presented during an interactive Saturday morning with the stakeholders. An exhausting week most certainly, working very long hours, but without doubt a great experience. said Ms Yaa Tiwaah Amoah from the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture development in Ghana “I am used to working closely with farmers in my job back home but this gave me experience with a broad range of stakeholders, including high level government stakeholders. It was a great learning experience giving me the confidence to use this approach back home”.

Stakeholder interview at the Biesbosch

The final week was focussed on conflict management on one day and the remainder of the week looking at curriculum development processes. Using their own experiences in working in small groups during the field week participants looked at the kinds of conflict that arose within the teams. What caused them and what solutions evolved? To take the learning experience further in managing conflicts, participants used a role play exercise where a facilitator had to manage a meeting with local stakeholders in a village on the outskirts of the Waza Logone Ramsar Site and National Park in Cameroon. The exercise assessed how the facilitator managed the meeting and dealt with the conflict among stakeholders and participants shared ideas on what might have been done differently to produce a more productive and less conflictual meeting.

The final section of the training looked at curriculum development. Wetland and water managers regularly organize and participate in training courses. This section of the training used the current training programmes participants were already developing in managing wetlands or water and participants selected three of these for group study. Various key techniques were used including visioning, identifying target groups, setting learning objectives, methods and tools for training activities, and preparing session plans.

A visioning exercise as part of the curriculum development work, in this case focussed on the Sundarbans.

This course will run again next year and information on this will be sent out through Ramsar’s web and e-lists when available. As in previous years, funding is available to support participants from over 60 countries through the Netherlands Fellowship Programme.

Report by Sandra Hails, CEPA Programme Officer. Photos by Ingrid Gevers, Wageningen UR CDI