Livelihoods in semi-arid areas depend upon a biological resource base underpinned by access to water. With increasing human populations and water stress come pressures to harness water resources for ‘higher economic value’ uses, instead of an integrated approach that includes provisions for ecosystem conservation and livelihood sustainability. Nowhere is this lack of integration more prevalent than in the semi-arid regions of Africa.
The linkages between Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), Sustainable Livelihoods (SL) and Conservation of Biological Diversity (CBD) are poorly known. River basin management, biodiversity conservation, and livelihood programmes in Africa have evolved independently, with often overlapping and/or conflicting goals and responsibilities. The result has been persistent intra- and trans-boundary conflicts; leading to increasing poverty and declines in biological diversity.
This EC-funded project, which uses the Mara river basin system in Kenya and Tanzania as its case study, addresses this disparity by recognizing that IWRM, CBD and SL are irretrievably interconnected and that water management and policy initiatives focusing on individual aspects are likely to fail. It aims, therefore, to resolve this gap by initiating and promoting inter-disciplinary and international collaboration to integrate sustainable water resource management, biodiversity conservation and livelihoods using the Mara river basin as a case study. It provides a platform for policy makers, practitioners and researchers to consolidate expertise on African IWRM systems and draw on experiences from the implementation of the EU-Water Framework Directive (WFD) to promote and reinforce the vital synergies between IWRM, CBD and SL.
The broad objective of this Specific Support Action (SSA) is to promote inter-disciplinary, interregional and international knowledge sharing, networking and collaboration between a range of stakeholders; namely: policy makers, researchers, government organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Community Based Organisations (CBOs) with a specific remit and or interest in the sustainable and integrated management of water, biological diversity and livelihoods in semi-arid Africa. The project focused on the Mara river basin as a case study but will draw upon the expertise of individuals and organizations from a number of other vulnerable river basins throughout Africa.
To achieve this general objective a number of specific, strategic objectives were followed. These are to:
The SAA addresses the following INCO-DEV specific objectives:
The INTREPID project is funded under the EC INCO-DEV programme which was set up to promote scientific and technological cooperation internationally; to reinforce Community capacities in the fields of science and technology; to support the achievement of scientific excellence within the wider international framework; and to contribute to the implementation of the Community’s external policy.
The INTREPID project produced four key policy relevant outputs including:
The publications include:
These outputs have been disseminated widely at a various fora including an international conference co-hosted by the United Nation’s Environment Program (UNEP), the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE), the African Society for ecological Economics (ASEE) and coordinated by the ATPS from 7 – 11 August, 2008, which was attended by the Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, the Prime Minister of Kenya. The program was coordinated by Dr. Kevin Urama.
Specific activities carried out under the INTREPID program include: