News / 12 November 2012

Both ENDS in Benin newspaper

On November 6th 2012 ‘La Nation’ covered a workshop organised by Both ENDS and partner organisation JVE-Benin. The workshop aimed at bringing together policymakers and NGOs that are active in various river basins throughout Africa, and to familiarize them with the so-called ‘Negotiated Approach’. Professor Vijay Paranjpye of Gomukh Trust, a local organisation from India that has been at the base of the development of this alternative approach to managing natural resources, was present to inspire African delegates with experiences from the Indian practice.

Local expertise

All over the world, local communities whose livelihoods depend on the natural resources around them are marginalised. They are pushed off their lands by project developers, their rivers are polluted by emerging industries or the water flow is hampered by dam building. The Negotiated Approach empowers local communities to play a proactive role in the negotiations on - as well as the execution of -water management. The difference with other participatory methods is that within Negotiated Approach, local communities themselves can plan and propose policies, based on their own expertise and needs; rather than to be given the ability to say yes or no to plans designed from behind the drawing board.


Poor water management and droughts

Professor Paranjpye started working with local communities in the Bhima river basin in India over two decades ago. Poor water management and droughts in the basin led to ecological degradation and conflicts between water users. By structurally bringing together various communities and authorities they were able to turn the tide. Building on the successes of Gomukh and other organisations from different parts of the world, Both ENDS and these partners have further developed the Negotiated Approach.


Negotiated Approach in Africa

The workshop in Cotenou, Benin, was the second in a series to examine the potential of the Negotiated Approach in Africa. At the initiative of JVE Benin, supported by Both ENDS, civil society organisations came together for three days. Landry Alagbé of JVE Benin explains why: “Sustainable management of water is necessary because of developments such as quick urbanisation, resource exploitation, migration and the need for food security. The current approach has reached its limits, the Negotiated Approach offers far more opportunities.” The workshop’s participants from Ghana, Togo, Benin, Senegal, Mali, Uganda and Kenia shared a wealth of knowledge and experiences, and showed great interest to apply the method in their practice, by knowledge building and local action on the ground and by influencing relevant policy processes.


Read  more about the Negotiated Approach here.

Article in 'La Nation' , 6 november 2012



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