Virtual Think Tank Roundtable - Tennessee Valley Authority
The richness of the dialogues during this roundtable resulted in a fruitful and inspiring exchange. This exchange was particularly timely as participating transboundary river basin development organizations have recently undertaken strategic development actions – notably the OMVG Integrated Development Master Plan as well as the first OMVS Senegal River Basin Economic Forum – and are exploring new participatory and community financing mechanisms such as the OMVS Financing and Support Platform to Promote Local Entrepreneurship and Job Creation as well as new ways for OMVG to access the bond market to finance capital investments.
It was agreed that this initial exchange would be followed by more focused meetings between the TVA Panel and the working groups at OMVG and OMVS. Resources permitting, a physical exchange could also be planned for 2023. Proposals are being drafted for continuing and deepening this dialogue. In addition, a report will be posted shortly, synthesizing lessons learned and recommendations from the first roundtable.
Below is the TVA presentation.
Challenges and Opportunities of Sustainable Socio-Economic Development and Financing for West African Integrated River Basin Development Organizations
This roundtable brings together four Panelists from the Tennessee Valley Authority with representatives from West African Transboundary River Basin Development Organisations (RBDOs) and their global and African partners in government, development, academia and civil society. This virtual roundtable was co-organised by the Geneva Water Hub and the Dakar Water Hub to explore how African RBDOs can strengthen their integrated socio-economic development mandate to more effectively manage 21st century mega-risks and prevent local conflicts and systemic crises.
Indeed, river basin organizations are peacemakers and accelerators of sustainable development. National or transboundary, they are by design multi-stakeholder platforms. They are places for dialogue, between countries on a transboundary scale, between users and direct or indirect water stakeholders on a sub-national scale. In a context of crisis of multilateralism, it is therefore fundamental to develop these scales of sharing and solidarity so that water can fully play its role as an instrument of peace and prosperity, in order to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as resilience to current and future climate challenges.
The mission of the West African Integrated River Basin Development Organizations OMVG (Gambia River Basin) and OMVS (Senegal River Basin) is to accelerate the economic development of Member States through the joint development of the opportunities offered by the Basin. Their integrated development mandate allows them to act in a transboundary, territorial and intersectoral manner to catalyze sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development, to adapt to the effects of climate change, to prevent water-related conflicts, pollution and disasters, and to foster convergence between peace, humanitarian and sustainable development agendas.
To meet the current and future challenges in the Sahelian region, it is therefore necessary to strengthen the institutional, human and financial capacities of River Basin Development Organizations. The virtue of water as a vector of peace is already a historical reality in West African river basins, where major infrastructures have been or are being built in a collegial manner, benefiting each Member State. The challenge is therefore to enhance these infrastructures through sustainable and inclusive local socio-economic development supporting social cohesion, through community and small private sector development to generate sustainable employment, especially for youth, women and marginalized populations.
Back in the 1960s, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) served as a model for the development of the Niger, the Gambia as well as the Senegal River Basin Development Organizations. An exchange of experiences could help them inspire each other, learning from their challenges while valuing their successes, to chart an inclusive and sustainable course to prosperity and peace for the coming decades. Indeed, as the Vision Statement of the upcoming UN 2023 Water Conference in New York City indicates, their integrated river basin development model aimed at making water a catalyst for sustainable development and peace has never been more relevant and should inspire the world.
The full agenda is available below.
A supplamentary information note is available below.