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Regional Short Course in Transboundary Water Management

Posted: 8 January 2019

Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan,

A truly transboundary regional Australia Awards Short Course in water management in South, Central and West Asia included participants from both within and outside of Program countries.

The Supporting Water Security and Cooperation in South Asia: Integrated Water Resources Management Short Course helped facilitate and encourage greater learning and cooperation in a field of vital importance to the region.

Delivered by Queensland University of Technology, the Short Course provided training to 26 participants over three weeks in Brisbane in July-August, 2018. Participants came from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan, as well as non- Program countries, including India (five recipients), Tajikistan (two) and Kazakhstan (one).

The implementation of participants’ Return to Work Plans resulted in a range of outcomes related to transboundary water cooperation for the region, with high potential for sustainability.

One of these outcomes included the mapping of all critical water sources in Bhutan, a project that will inform the decision-making process of Bhutan’s water sector.

The project leader, Sonam Choden, from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests in Bhutan, described the team’s success: “All of Bhutan’s water sources that are used for drinking, irrigation and commercial uses are now on the map, with extra information that can help design interventions and strategically allocate scarce resources where they are needed.

“This Short Course helped build my network among water professionals and provided me with the skills to foster change in my community and beyond”.

A further significant outcome involved a community engagement project in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, India, where a learning platform was created to help community members gain a greater understanding of large government and developer projects. This initiative is, in turn, helping provide traditional and local knowledge to inform policy development.

Participants confirmed that there was considerable opportunity to share their new knowledge and observations when they returned home. Many were able to apply what they had learnt in cross-border water-related cooperation in their workplace.

Short Course participant Sabina Kharbuja, Senior Divisional Engineer (Water and Energy Commission Secretariat, Nepal).

Sabina Kharbuja, a participant from the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat in Nepal, delivered an address to participants, course staff and Australian Embassy officials, including Australia’s Ambassador to Nepal H.E. Pete Budd, during a Return to Work workshop which took place in Kathmandu in November.