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Andean System of River Basins Research Highlights


Equitable benefit sharing mechanisms can increase water productivity and reduce water-related conflict




Summary of CPWF Research in the Andean System of River Basins

Between 2002 and 2013, the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food conducted research for development in ten small river basins in the Andean region.

Piloting Benefit-SharingResearchers sought to identify ways to share the costs and benefits of water resources between all water users, including relatively wealthy, downstream urban water consumers and relatively poor, upstream rural communities.

People in the Andean region are facing many challenges that actualize the need to share water and land resources more equitably. Globalization of trade, changes in food consumption patterns, ecosystem degradation caused by agriculture, pollution caused by mining, climate change, and urbanization is leading to competition and conflicts between water and land users. Often downstream areas are using most of the water, although nearly all of it originates from upstream areas.

At the same time, increased competition over water is slowly creating interest for conserving ecosystems, improving infrastructure, and adopting new water management practices.

Benefit-Sharing MEchanisms HelpingThe need to share water more equitably brings about the challenge of how to establish benefit-sharing mechanisms. Benefit-sharing mechanisms encourage redistribution of benefits derived from water resources, for example by fostering investments that promote sustainable production and livelihood resilience in poor rural areas. CPWF regards benefit-sharing mechanisms as tools through which the benefits and risks associated with natural resource management, or development, can be more equitably shared.

Seizing the opportunity for change, CPWF developed tools and approaches for increasing water productivity and reduce water-related conflicts through the establishment of equitable benefit-sharing mechanisms.

Following the conclusion of CPWF the CPWF-Andes lead partner CONDESAN will continue to build upon the exist body of research, partnerships and outcomes.

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Summary of CPWF Research in the Andean System of Basins (Brief)

Since 2002, the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food has conducted research for development in ten small river basins in the Andean region. Researchers have sought to identify ways to share the costs and benefits of water resources between all water users. Seizing the opportunity for change, CPWF set out to find ways to increase water productivity and reduce water- related conflicts through the establishment of equitable benefit-sharing mechanisms.

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Benefit-Sharing Mechanisms: Agreements for Watershed Wellbeing (Policy brief)

How can we make the people who benefit from hydrological services contribute to the wellbeing of those who guarantee its generation and conservation? Based on this question, we thought about ways of building cooperative relationships through sustainable and efficient benefit sharing mechanisms, which are: processes of collective action that seek to guarantee the satisfaction of collective and individual interests without prejudicing the basic resources, the quality of life and the wellbeing of the population and the actors involved in the watershed.

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Piloting Benefit-Sharing Mechanisms and Influencing National Policy in Peru (Outcome story)

Since 2010, CPWF and CIAT had advised the Peruvian Ministry of Environment on how to design a benefit-sharing mechanism in the Cañete
River basin. When, in 2013, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) partnered with the ministry to support such a benefit-sharing mechanism, CIAT leapt at the chance to put its research into use.

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Beyond the Market: Recognizing Those Who Take Care of Water (Policy brief)

In recent years CPWF-Andes has promoted spaces for research and discussion regarding benefit-sharing mechanisms in the Andes. As part of these discussions, as far as Payments for Hydrological Ecosystem Services are concerned, some points of discussion have stood out, which will continue to be important in the coming years in line with the progress this scheme makes.

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Benefit-Sharing Mechanisms Helping Create a Virtuous Circle Between Welfare of People and Ecosystems in the Andes

CPWF-Andes has been working with communities in 10 small Andean basins in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru to design and implement Benefit-Sharing Mechanisms (BSM) that seek to redistribute the benefits of a healthy watershed equitably to everyone in the watershed.

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Modelling a More Equitable Water Future in the Andes

In the Andes, benefit-sharing mechanisms range from relatively simple payments for ecosystem services schemes, like the proposed Daule Water Fund in Ecuador, through complex negotiations between a variety of stakeholders in basins with conflicts over water use and management, such as the Coello-Combeima in Colombia.

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Facilitating women’s participation and impact in Colombia

A citizen call to action, or conversatorio, is a participatory mechanism that aims to promote environmental justice, defense of territorial rights, and social and institutional governance. This mechanism is used as a platform to improve local knowledge and capacities to negotiate conflicts involving access to natural resources and the distribution of common goods benefits.

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Application of Benefits Derived from Water Use in Colombia

A new agreement and alliance between COLACTEOS (Nariño’s Milk and Dairy Cooperative), the Latin American Center for Rural Development and The National Association of Milk Producers has been approved to begin field work for the joint design of a project to promote better use of water and soil in the highlands of Nariño. The alliance is working to help small milk producers transition their main source of animal feed from soybean meal to alfalfa.

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Strengthening Benefit-Sharing Mechanisms in the Andes

CPWF’s Andes Basin Development Challenge researched institutional mechanisms for the sharing of water-related benefits. This program builds directly on the findings of several Phase 1 projects, which are discussed here.

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AguaAndes Negotiation Support System and the Water Evaluation Planning system

Water resource agreements require baseline hydrological information and capacity as well as an understanding of the likely trajectories for change. These are not usually available for most of the poorer basins and sub-basins. AguaAndes provides that baseline around the world and can be used to bring stakeholders together around a common platform for discussion and negotiation to adopt the most suitable interventions. Linkages were made with the WEAP (Water Evaluation and Planning).

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What Are Benefit-Sharing Mechanisms? (Video)

This video provides an introductory overview of benefit-sharing mechanisms, a series of agreements between watershed stakeholders that seek to equitably redistribute the benefits of a healthy watershed. Watch CPWF-Andes Basin Leader Miguel Saravia explain more.

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Cuenca Río Cañete, Peru (Video)

An interview with Marcela Quintero, who works for the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and led the CPWF Andes project on ‘Assessing and anticipating the consequences of introducing benefit-sharing mechanisms’. The interview focuses on Peru’s Cañete River basin and efforts to implement a payment for ecosystem services scheme. (Video in English with Spanish subtitles)

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Regional Initiative Andean Ecosystems Hydrological Monitoring - iMHEA

iMHEA is a network of organizations interested in increasing and strengthening knowledge about the hydrology of Andean ecosystems to improve decision making regarding the integrated management of water resources at the Andean region.

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  • CPWF-Andes Website
  • Project on Benefit Sharing to Improve Water Productivity and Reduce Water-Related Conflicts Website
  • CPWF-Andes Flickr
  • InfoAndina Slideshare