09 May 2016

UNEP-DHI Partnership has completed a collaborated project to assess and protect the transboundary river basins around the world

The UNEP-DHI Partnership, in collaboration with eight other organisations and research institutes, have recently completed assessment of the world’s 286 transboundary river basins. The assessment is the first of its kind in scope and ambition. The multi-pronged purpose of this assessment was to identify river basins at risk as well as to encourage knowledge exchange and to increase awareness of the importance of the transboundary waters.

The River Basins component, part of The Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme (TWAP), was initiated by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and coordinated by UNEP to create a baseline assessment of all the transboundary water resources on Earth.

The assessment contains results for 15 core indicators, covering water quantity, water quality, ecosystems, governance and socioeconomics. Five of these indicators are projected to 2030 and 2050. The assessment also covers risks in 26 deltas. With the UNEP-DHI Partnership and collaboration with other bodies, a more conclusive finding of risks to the river basins can further stimulate action to be taken on these basins to ensure their survival.

Our team has successfully assessed the conditions of the river basins. Some of our key findings include:

  • Moderate to very high extinctions risks of freshwater biodiversity in 70% of the transboundary river basins area.
  • The construction of dams and water diversions in progress or planned are often without adequate international water cooperation instruments such as the commitment to avoid significant harm to the river.
  • Risks in four hotspot regions – the Middle East, Central Asia, the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin, and the Orange and Limpopo basins in South Africa – are projected to increase in the next 15-30 years.

The results of our six-year assessment will be launched at the GEF International Waters Conference (IWC) on 9 – 13 May 2016, and at the second session of the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA-2) on 23-27 May 2016 in Kenya.

More information on transboundary river basins can be found at http://twap-rivers.org/, including link to the Interactive Results Portal with global maps of assessment results and indicator metadata sheets.

Results map of River Basins Assessment © GEF-TWAP