Strategic Engagements



  • Year started: 2019
  • Key Partner/s: Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), covering Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda

Objective and Elements

CIWA is supporting a fast-growing portfolio in the Horn of Africa.

With the Horn of Africa Groundwater Initiative (HoA-GWI), CIWA promotes regional cooperation on groundwater management by bolstering the role of IGAD in the region’s economic and social development.

The project supports IGAD member states to prepare for groundwater development and management by strengthening knowledge systems, building national and regional (IGAD) capacities, and assessing the feasibility of specific investments. CIWA is undertaking feasibility studies for three aquifers – Merti, Bagara and Mt. Elgon – as jointly decided by the IGAD member states. This project enhances the knowledge base on groundwater in the sub-region and helps countries identify areas to build gaps in their capacity.

In 2020, CIWA launched another initiative in the region, Strengthening Resilience in the Horn of Africa, to strengthen the foundations for regional approaches to resilience-building by improving the knowledge base and the institutional capacity related to climate shocks and scoping for potential investments in the region. The analytical and technical assistance initiative focuses on three pillars: (i) strengthening information for resilience, (ii) strengthening institutions and organizations for resilience, and (iii) strengthening the knowledge base for regional resilience investments. The project has launched an online knowledge-sharing series to provide a dedicated space for learning and reflection on the meaning and implications of regional resilience building. A study to take stock of regional resilience investment projects in the region is underway.

New Study to Examine Fragility and Water Cooperation at the Local Level in the Horn of Africa 

People living in the Horn of Africa continue to be exposed to numerous complex challenges. Climate change and regional conflicts complicate the region’s ability to attain water security and governance. To better understand the multidimensional challenges in achieving water cooperation at the local level, CIWA has commissioned a study for the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) to examine the intersections between fragility and transboundary water cooperation at the local level. And to decide on which transboundary water sources the study will focus, SIPRI and CIWA conducted a two-hour virtual workshop on September 2, 2021, to present six potential communities and transboundary water sources. Workshop participants featured SIPRI representatives; World Bank water specialists; agriculture specialists; and fragility, conflict, and violence experts. 

Upon analyzing the six options and considering the workshop participants’ inputs, the decision was made for the study to focus on communities living in proximity to these transboundary water sources: 

  • The Sio-Malaba-Malakisi river basin (Nile sub-basin) shared by Kenya and Uganda
  • The Dawa river (the Juba-Shabelle river basin) and the Dawa aquifer basin shared by Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia 
  • The Bahr el Ghazal (Nile sub-basin) and the Baggara Basin aquifer shared by South Sudan and Sudan

Dr. Kyungmee Kim, Researcher with SIPRI, will lead the research together with SIPR colleagues Emilie Broek, Elizabeth Smith, and David Michel. The final report will be published in November 2021. 

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  • Year started: 2018
  • Key Partner/s: Government of Somalia

Somalia has the longest coastline on Africa’s mainland and an estimated population of 15 million. Approximately 60% of Somalia is arid or semi-arid with uneven and irregular availability of water resources. The Shebelle and Jubba rivers are essential sources of water for people, livestock, and irrigation purposes.

Objective and Elements

The Somali Transboundary Water Resources Management Project provides technical support to the Government of Somalia on water resources development options for the Juba and Shebelle basins.

Recognizing CIWA’s efforts in the country, the Government of Somalia has proposed to expand the project’s initial scope. In collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, CIWA provides technical assistance to the Government of Somalia, Office of the Prime Minister and Ministry of Energy and Water Resources to develop a National Water Strategy. The National Water Resources Strategic Plan and a Water Resources Development Road Map is helping convert key activities into projects aligned with the strategy. The project has enabled the Government to pursue dialogue with neighbouring countries.

CIWA is supporting the development of a Water Resources Model to build the capacity of water sector institutions and train selected hydrogeologists on water resources modelling. CIWA has trained a dozen Somalian hydrologists on the streamflow model for the Shebelle and Juba rivers to help visualize the fluctuation of flow through time.

The quality and depth of understanding on shared water resources provided through this support have enabled Somalia to begin foundational work that includes building capacity and experience, collecting and organizing water resources information, and articulating its vision for water resources and development. Ultimately, the project is helping Somalia shape the dialogue on transboundary water resources.

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