About CIWA: a Regional Approach

For more than 10 years, the CIWA Program, managed by the World Bank, has been addressing challenges that cross borders and helping national and regional institutions come together for the common good. CIWA makes investments to develop water infrastructure and offers technical support and analyses to create a better understanding of transboundary water issues so that governments, river basin organizations, and other stakeholders can make sound, evidence-based decisions.

CIWA’s projects, analyses, knowledge generation, and investments to achieve the regional public good of cooperation on transboundary waters and create resilience to shocks are fully aligned with the World Bank’s enhanced mission to foster sustainable, resilient, and inclusive development to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.

West and Central Africa 

West and Central Africa faces increasing climate change impacts, including prolonged drought and unpredictable rainy seasons. The Sahel also suffers from fragility, violence, weak institutions, and political instability. In a region with widespread gender inequality, CIWA is working to ensure the equitable participation of women in decision making about water resources. It also is improving water security by addressing knowledge and capacity gaps, identifying investments and policy actions, and emphasizing the sustainable management and development of groundwater. 

Lake Chad Water Security – further information will be available soon. Know more.

Improving Water Resources Management in West and Central Sahel: The cooperation is a three-year initiative that aims to improve water resources management by identifying pragmatic investments and policy actions, as well as addressing critical knowledge and capacity gaps. Know more.

East Africa 

East Africa faces numerous challenges, including food and water insecurity, growing violence and conflict, and climate change impacts. CIWA, which grew out of the progress made by the Nile Basin Trust Fund in water resources management and development in that basin, continues to enhance the region’s resilience to climate change and water insecurity through advancing water disaster mitigation and early warning systems.

The Nile Cooperation for Climate Resilience (NCCR) supports regional coordination on dam safety policies and flood early-warning systems in the Nile Basin.

Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Climate Resilience Program: NCCR also leveraged additional IDA funding for ENTRO and NELSAP-CU via this new Program so they can work closely with South Sudan in addressing the transboundary dimension of the floods. Know more.

Horn of Africa 

The Horn of Africa is facing cascading impacts from the worst drought in four decades, which CIWA is working to ameliorate. CIWA also is improving access to groundwater through nature-based infrastructure as the region’s cornerstone of water security. It is expanding the knowledge base on groundwater, strengthening the capacity of partners to manage and develop this valuable resource, working to understand the influences of water insecurity on FCV situations, and improving regional initiatives to build resilience.  

Untapping Resilience in the Horn of Africa (HoA) is increasing knowledge and capacity about the role of groundwater in regional water integration.

South Sudan Transboundary Waters Support Program – further information will be available soon.

Southern Africa 

Prolonged drought conditions in Southern Africa are fueling food and water insecurity, poverty, and economic fragility. CIWA is addressing the region’s significant challenges managing its increasingly important groundwater resources. It is building resilience to drought by addressing cross-border drought risks, improving management of shared waters, and facilitating cooperation around sustainable management of transboundary aquifers and river basins. 

The Southern African Development Community Groundwater Institute’s (SADC-GMI’s) Phase Two project: the NCCR project was initiated by CIWA to build resilience to water insecurity and transform water management infrastructure in the Nile River Basin in order to mitigate the increasingly intense impacts of climate change. Know more.

Support to Regional Climate Resilience in Eastern and Southern Africa: the Program Development Objective (PDO) is to strengthen the resilience of populations to climate-related shocks in Eastern and Southern Africa. Know more.

*CIWA intends to provide sustained (reliable) support to four priority basins identified early according to Operational Guidelines—Nile River, Niger River, Zambezi River, and Lake Chad basins; however, this is conditional on both resources and basin demand. Currently only the Nile and Lake Chad basins are receiving sustained support

Cross-cutting engagements

CIWA’s activities are cross-sectoral, including:

The partnership works to ensure that people and property are protected from water-related shocks and that they can sustain and use the valuable resource of water.

CIWA Program: Achieving its goals by focusing on its three I’s

CIWA’s work to safeguard, manage, and develop water resources in Sub-Saharan Africa is essential to people’s lives, livelihoods, communities, and countries. CIWA strives to do this by advancing three pillars:

  • Information: for understanding risks, better decision-making, and monitoring compliance
  • Institutions: to build trust, coordinate planning, and manage shared resources
  • Investment: to manage watersheds, develop groundwater, build storage, among others

By encouraging countries to work together to share information, strengthen institutions, and advance sustainable investments, CIWA promotes a cooperative approach to manage shared risks and equitably share socio-economic benefits. These efforts reduce resource-related conflict and strengthen regional integration for sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction, and resilience to climate change.

Theory of Change
CIWA Program: Theory of Change

COVID-19 Response

The COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impacts have shone a spotlight on the critical role of water in protecting people’s health and achieving a resilient recovery. It also has worsened existing vulnerabilities to water- and climate-related shocks, highlighting the challenges that Africa faces to ensure access to water to improve health, sustain lives, increase economic prosperity, and improve resilience to climate change. 

As every country works to contain the spread of the coronavirus and mitigate its impact, the World Bank Group has mounted the largest crisis response in its history to help developing countries navigate the pandemic. From April 2020 to March 2021, the World Bank committed more than $200 billion to address the pandemic, tailored to the health, economic, and social shocks that each country is facing.

The World Bank’s Water Global Practice, of which CIWA is a part, is focusing its response on preparedness and emergency response, mitigating secondary impacts, and building resilience against future diseases. Since CIWA is situated at the nexus of water resources, provision of water services, livelihoods, and food security, it is actively supporting the Water Global Practice’s COVID-19 response along all those dimensions.

Water resources will remain critical not only to ensure an inclusive, sustainable, and more efficient recovery, but also to make progress on countries’ development and climate goals. In this context, CIWA plays an important role in building the foundations for a bluer, greener, and more resilient future. 

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