Day 3: Cooperating for river basin management

By Prabin Rokaya

As an Asian Development Bank Youth Partner, I attended the Eye on Asia session. I must say the session was very much interactive and productive. Not only the content of the session, the profile of speakers and the messages delivered to the audiences were inspiring. The session structure and time framework were also really interesting.

The morning half was focused on plenary sessions where participants could learn about existing and new innovations and technologies implemented at different parts of world. The lunch session was more focused on water security of Asia, which gave a clear picture of present and future water challenges and also opened the floor for discussion to solve these challenges.

The most interesting session was post- lunch session, where a trans-boundary water negotiation role play was carried out. In small groups, the participants were divided into upstream and downstream countries. Negotiation were not only based on their country’s interests, but also the conservation and protection of their shared river at the centre of their discussion.

Though I felt the negotiation could have been more rigorous if there had been more information on monetary values, it was still a good way of bringing together two different interests and cooperating with each other to find a win-win situation. It was a way of learning to work together, partner with each other, and build synergy. As river basin management is often a trans-boundary issue, this kind of role play helps us understand the key challenges in cooperation and give us motivation to think out of the box to find mutual understanding.

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