Capacity Building on Environmental Flows Assessment in WIO Countries

Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) through the support of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) and the Nairobi Convention (NC) is conducting an international training workshop on the "Capacity Building on Environmental Flows Assessment in Western Indian Ocean (WIO) Countries” from 19th – 24th September 2022 - at Rufiji Basin Water Board, Rujewa Catchment Office, Mbeya, Tanzania.

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Topic: Capacity Building on Environmental Flows Assessment in WIO Countries
Time: This is a recurring meeting Meet anytime
Meeting ID: 994 5955 7383
Passcode: 702171


WIOMSA is implementing a five-year Marine and Coastal Science for Management (MASMA) Programme (2018 - 2022), that aims to assist the countries of the western Indian Ocean (WIO) to achieve the 17 ambitious SDGs, and comply with the Paris Agreement.

These two frameworks, particularly the SDGs, present a universally applicable and interconnected framework for integrating the three dimensions of sustainable development. While the focus of the new Programme will be on SDG 14, this will be linked to the other SDGs that have strong linkages with this goal, such as SDG 13.

On the other hand, the Contracting Parties to the Nairobi Convention are implementing the GEF funded project on ‘Implementation of the Strategic Action Programme for the protection of the Western Indian Ocean from land-based sources and activities’ (WIOSAP).

The objective of WIOSAP is to reduce impacts from land-based sources and activities and sustainably manage critical coastal- riverine ecosystems through the implementation of the WIO-SAP priorities with the support of partnerships at national and regional levels.

The effective implementation of WIOSAP will among others help to achieve the wise use of catchments and natural resources and contribute to all SDGs, particularly 14 “A pathway to Ocean Sustainability” and will be an entry point to achieving other SDGs such as SDG 6 and SDG 15.

Presently, most governments are striving to promote effective management of water and catchments in order to meet current and anticipated requirements in the near and distant futures. It has been recently recognised that provision of water for the environment is one component of an intersectoral water allocation process in which the right to the use of water is distributed amongst various users.

Therefore, Environmental Flow Assessments (EFAs) have in recent years gained attention and become a scientifically-accepted method for determining the quantity, quality, and timing of flows needed to sustain ecosystems and ecosystem services. In this case, provision for environmental flows is currently becoming a central issue in the debate of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in river basins.

IWRM improves water management by ensuring a sustainable water supply to meet the needs of people, agriculture, energy, industry and the environment. Also, it provides tools to coordinate upstream-downstream water allocations in order to maintain healthy ecosystems and vital services, and this is well reflected in the WIOSAP Project objective.

The output C1.1 of the WIOSAP provides that “the priority is to address the realization that ……. capacity for IWRM implementation in most of the participating countries has been limited by lack of appropriate decision-making tools for allocating water to various users including water allocation (environmental flows) for sustaining ecological systems that include coastal and marine ecosystems”.

To remedy deficiencies in the management of river basins, the SAP proposes to focus on building capacity for Environmental Flow Assessment (EFA) and implementation in the region. The application of EFA is still underdeveloped in most countries in the WIO Region.

In this regard, awareness on the value of EFA needs to be created and capacity for EFA implementation developed. The Output C1.2 of the WIOSAP primary aim is the implementation of flow assessment recommendations and promotion of participatory river basin management approaches.

This EFlows training course comes as a follow-up to the training workshop on EFlows for WIO water managers in Cape Town, RSA conducted in November, 2019. As a way forward, the WIO training came up with four important ‘next steps’:

  1. Enhanced awareness of the application of EFA in IWRM
  2. Capacity building in EFA taking advantage of the WIOSAP demo projects
  3. Establishment of a community of practice on EFA hosted by the Nairobi Convention
  4. Production of a regional case studies report on EFA for shared learning

Therefore, this training course addresses the next steps 1, 2 and 3 to enhance awareness of the application of EFA in IWRM and capacity building in EFA taking advantage of the WIOSAP demo projects, as well as establishing a community of experts on EFlows in the WIO region. Realizing the benefits that could be accrued from the implementation of the WIOSAP demo projects, this training will benefit from the case studies.

The training will have a strong focus on building local capacity of local scientists and managers, and informed stakeholders at all levels with experience to run and implement EFlows.

Objectives of the Training
Main Objective
The main objective is to build the capacity of EFlows in the WIO region countries and develop a team of local scientists and managers, and informed stakeholders with experience to run and implement their own EFlows.

Learning Objectives
Upon completion, the WIO region trainees should be able to:

  1. Explain what EFlows are, and examine their relevance for managing water and natural resources in WIO river basins.
  2. Describe the physical, chemical and biological processes of river systems that are relevant EFlows.
  3. Analyse legislation, policies and social dimensions that influence the implementation of environmental flows at multiple geographic scales, including the involvement of stakeholders and the societal benefits of flow-related ecosystem services.
  4. Compare the main methodologies for assessing EFlows and synthesize the knowledge acquired to propose a methodological approach to assess EFlows in a river basin taken as a case study.
  5. Analyze the factors that support or obstruct the successful implementation of environmental flows in a river basin

Approach to Teaching
Mixed approaches to include lectures, seminars, discussions, practical and fieldwork as well as online. We will set-up an online platform to allow other participants from other WIO Region Countries to participate without the need to travel to Morogoro, Tanzania.
Training Modules
The training is structured into 8 different modules and their integrated use is expected to provide a holistic assessment of the impact of alternative interventions for the sustainability of landscapes and the ocean and marine life. The modules are:

  • Module 1: Concepts and understanding of EFlows
  • Module 2: Situation analysis
  • Module 3: Science of Environmental Flows
  • Module 4: EFlows Assessment Methodologies
  • Module 5: EFlows Implementation
  • Module 6: Lessons Learnt from WIO regions demo experiences
  • Module 7: Monitoring and Adaptive Management
  • Module 8: EFlows information systems

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