14:00 – 16:00 Sixth Plenary Session – Trans-boundary Management of Regional Public Goods and Natural Resources

Africa’s rich renewable and non-renewable natural resources that fuel growth and development traverse national boundaries, as such effective joint management arrangements are critical in promoting sustainable and equitable utilization in the context of increasing populations and changing climate. Africa’s approximately 80 transboundary water basins cover approximately 64% of the continent’s land area, which contain 93% of the water resources and are inhabited by 77% of the population (Africa Water Atlas, 2010). The water basins include forests, biodiversity, serve as carbon sinks and support agricultural productivity and food security. Climate change already impacts Africa’s water resources through recurring droughts and floods. The increasing drying of some regions contributes to the arid land area that currently covers 60% of total land in Africa. Droughts in Africa affect over 30% of the population while floods have severe impacts on the livelihoods of the communities.

There are increasing water demands on transboundary rivers and lakes due to increasing populations, settlement patterns that could led to loss of biodiversity and diminished ecosystem services which would affect livelihoods. Examples include recent droughts experienced in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel that impacted livelihoods and reduced the ability to cope with consecutive dry years as a result of reduced recovery time between the events.

  • What are best practices in managing transboundary natural resources around water basins? What are the challenges and how can these be effectively addressed?
  • What are some of the successful (and unsuccessful) experiences in transboundary natural resources management from Africa and beyond, in the face of climate change?
  • How can the sharing of benefits be ensured for all the actors and the local communities living adjacent to the transboundary resources?
  • How can financing be secured for the proactive management of the shared resources? What role can the private sector play?
  • What is the role of land use planning in transboundary resources management considering the capacity of the regulatory authorities?
  • What are the most pressing institutional support actions for regional institutions?

Addressing physical infrastructure deficit at national, regional and continental levels is critical for enhancing the pace of economic transformation. Several regional and sub-regional infrastructure development initiatives are currently being rolled out that engage two or more countries, e.g. power generation, roads and railway networks, as well as oil refining.

  • What are the impediments to the implementation of RECs infrastructure development programs and how can these bottlenecks be effectively addressed?
  • What are the prospects for including renewable energy in RECs infrastructure priorities?

Regional financial infrastructure and integration has an important role to play in promoting regional integration and mobilization of resources for regional initiatives. RECs are at different stages of Monetary Integration Frameworks Cooperation integration, e.g. COMESA has a Multilateral Fiscal Surveillance Framework; a Financial System Development and Stability Plan; an Assessment Framework for Financial System Stability; the COMESA Monetary Institute towards implementing the COMESA Monetary Cooperation Programme. Preparations for the transition to the EAC Monetary Union are underway including negotiations for the EAMU Protocol and review of the EAC macroeconomic convergence criteria. ECOWAS plans to launch the second monetary zone (WAMZ) by 2015 and launch the larger monetary zone by merging the CFA and the WAMZ zones by the year 2020.

  • Define the important role of financing integration, regional and domestic resource mobilization in advancing regional integration and transboundary management of public goods.
  • What are some of the best practices in promoting financial integration at regional level?

The role of collaboration in enhancing the quality, reliability and comparability of statistics for monitoring and evaluation process is emphasized by the African Charter on Statistics, adopted by Heads of State and Government in February 2009. But only 22 countries have signed and only six have ratified. A strategy for the harmonization of statistics in Africa (SHaSA) was adopted by Heads of State and Government in July 2010

  • Define the role of enhanced quality of statistics in promoting effective management of transboundary resources.  
  • What are the barriers to improving the quality of statistics at regional level and how can these be effectively addressed?

Significant progress is registered in CAADP implementation related to attaining Maputo targets of allocating at least 10% annual public sector budget to agriculture and at least six percent annual sectoral growth respectively. So far nine countries have reached or surpassed the 10% target, nine are spending between five and 10 percent and 29 countries have devoted less than five percent of their total budgets to agriculture. Twenty-nine countries have signed national CAADP compacts, of these, 21 have completed the formulation of CAADP-based country investment plans which have also been independently reviewed.

  • How can regional institutions act as a catalyst to enhance implementation of CAADP?

Some issues highlighted in AU Report on Status of Regional Integration moderator could use to follow up/guide discussions:

Regional integration challenges:

  • Harmonization of policies;
  • Inadequate political will to implement integration decisions;
  • Apprehension on the part of States to cede some of their competencies;
  • Absence/ inefficiency of compensation mechanisms for the temporary losers in the integration process;
  • Inadequate physical integration infrastructure;
  • Lack of ownership of regional projects at the grassroots level: this could be explained by the top-down approach used in developing the various regional and continental policies and programs with poor involvement of the private sector and civil society organizations;
  • Lack of ownership of regional programs at national level;
  • Inadequate financial resources; and
  • Inadequate human resources.


  • RECs’ role as a thinktanks needs to be strengthened;
  • Long- and medium-terms planning should be emphasized in translating the community strategies and policies into a real comprehensive development program;
  • RECs’ role of monitoring and evaluation of the integration process should be strengthened;
  • Member states should prioritize the implementation of Regional programs at national level;
  • Member states need more assistance in implementing regional policy frameworks through increased advocacy and technical assistance at the national level;
  • Ongoing work on the AU alternative sources of financing should be supported by the RECs and member states in order to finance integration programs and translate them into reality; and
  • RECs, which have not done so, also should start reflecting on putting in place their own alternative sources of financing.


  • Status of Integration in Africa V (African Union Commission, 2013)
  • Water and Sustainable Development in Africa: An African Position Paper. Africa Water Task Force. August 2002.
  • Africa Water Atlas (UNEP)
  • Transboundary Natural Resources Management in a Changing Climate – The Case of Shared Watersheds in Africa, CoP-18 Side Event Concept Note, AfDB 2013

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