International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

Coming together for sustainable development in the Drin River Basin: 5 key lessons from Southeast Europe for successful transboundary cooperation

Covering a geographical area of 20,361 km2 connecting 5 countries and 5 water bodies, the Drin Basin in Southeast Europe sustains unique ecosystems and endemic biodiversity, while supporting the economic activity of over 1.6 million people who call it home. However, four transboundary problems - deterioration of water quality, variability of hydrological regime, biodiversity degradation and disturbance of the natural sediment transport regime - are threatening the basin’s health with a direct impact on both the environment and livelihoods.  Transboundary cooperation in the Drin basin was institutionalized in 2011 through the signing of a related Memorandum of Understanding (Tirana, 25 November 2011) by the Ministers of the water and environment management competent ministries of Albania, Kosovo*, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Greece.The GEF Drin Project resulted in the joint body established through the Drin MoU, the Drin Core Group, to become fully operational, the development and adoption of the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) and the endorsement of the Strategic Action Programme (SAP) at ministerial level. Further, concrete steps were made for the development and negotiation of an international agreement for the management of the Drin Basin. All of these constitute a firm technical and institutional basis for action towards the sustainable management of water uses and addressing the causes of transboundary problems in the Basin. The Drin SAP operationalizes the Drin MoU, and constitutes the plan of action for the full achievement of the MoU’s aims and objectives. All actions and results were underscored by a high level of stakeholder engagement and ownership.So, what are the 5 key takeaways on how the GEF Drin Project managed to catalyse action towards transboundary cooperation among the five Riparians to save their common natural treasure?

4483: Enabling Transboundary Cooperation and Integrated Water Resources Management in the Extended Drin River Basin

15 Dec 2021