Issues in Brief, No. 29, August 2014

Five Challenges to the Future of Transboundary Water Governance

IIB August 2014 By Leeann Sullivan
August 2014 (8 Pages)
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In this Issues in Brief, Pardee 2013 Graduate Summer Fellow Leeann Sullivan uses the Okavango River in Southern Africa as a case study to discuss the key challenges of the future of transboundary water governance. She argues that while local-level management has been successful thus far, climate change and rapid socio-economic development pose basin-wide challenges that communities cannot address alone. By creating a regional framework to help communities tackle issues of communication, governance, financial stability, resource allocation, and data management, water managers may be able to strengthen political and environmental resilience in the basin. She concludes that lessons drawn from the integration of management systems in the Okavango could inform practices for sustainable water management in a more global context.

Leeann Sullivan is a graduate of BU’s International Relations and Environmental Policy program where she studied the relationship between ecosystem resilience and adaptive management. Her research interests include coupled human-natural systems, international river basin management, and the role of community groups in coordinated management. Leeann was a 2013 Graduate Summer Fellow at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and also worked in the Center as a Publications Assistant, assisting with program and seminar coordination, publications, and the organization of future Graduate Summer Fellows Program.