The Pacific IWRM National Planning Programme
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The Pacific IWRM National Planning Programme focuses on supporting 14 Pacific Island Countries (Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu) to develop and strengthen processes, structures and frameworks Integrated Resources Management (IWRM) in order to enhance the involvement and coordination of regional, national and local stakeholder groups.

The programme will also support the development of Water Use Efficiency (WUE) plans as a key tool for equitable and effective allocation of the countries’ water resources which is a key element to IWRM.

The programme specifically responds to theme five of the Pacific Regional Action Plan on Sustainable Water Management on “Institutional strengthening: Policy, Planning and Legislation” and to the implementation of the seventh Millennium Development Goal on environmental sustainability “to develop integrated water resources management and water use efficiency plans“.

The European Union has provided SOPAC with € 2.8 million to implement the programme over three years (2008-2010) as part of the Pacific IWRM Programme where it complements the practical demonstrations of the GEF-funded Pacific IWRM project by providing an enabling environment for practical action and by picking up lessons from the field to ensure the validity of national level policies and plans.

The Pacific Island Countries have progressed in different ways when it comes to establishing some of the key governance structures and frameworks that support integrated planning and management water resources, whether it is forming a water apex body, or revising policy, legislation and action plans (see table below). The EU-funded IWRM National Planning Programme will support the different countries working from their specific situation and needs to initiate and strengthen national processes and frameworks for integrated water resources management and water use efficiency planning.

IWRM governance component















Intersectoral water apex body















National water resources policy















Overarching water resources legislation















IWRM Plan or similar















Water Use Efficiency Plan















  Formally adopted, fully integrated and proactive
  Not existing
  Draft/interim – not formally adopted, fully integrated or proactive

The programme focuses on supporting the participating countries within four main areas:

1. Improving coordination and knowledge exchange for IWRM planning and action on the national and regional level

Building on and working through existing structures such as the Pacific Water Partnership to ensure regional coordination, establishing a regional web based IWRM Resource Centre, and promoting exchange between countries through regional meetings and twinning arrangements. The IWRM resource centre can service countries with information, tools and expertise on key issues relating to IWRM and WUE, highlighting best practice from the region and globally. The Pacific Action Matrix also supports improved linkages and coordination between regional initiatives, helping to promote and integrated and strategic approach to regional agencies and donors.

2. Strengthening national governance structures for IWRM planning and action with provisions for effective stakeholder involvement

Establish and strengthening specifically their national apex bodies for intersectoral coordination of water related governance issues (National Water Committees). This includes ensuring that these bodies have official endorsement and support as a national planning body, clear and feasible terms of reference, and appropriate membership and structures that allow for intersectoral and stakeholder (civil society, private sector, communities, provincial/municipal level, etc.) involvement in planning and management of water resources.

3. Establishing national frameworks for IWRM planning and action

Developing and establishing national planning frameworks (such as policies, legislation, national action plans, etc) for integrated water resources management and water use efficiency. This includes mainstreaming of IWRM into national planning frameworks and reviewing existing frameworks to ensure harmonisation between different sectoral policies and legislation, as well as between national and local level governance frameworks.

4. Improving stakeholder understanding of the benefit of an integrated approach to water resources management and support for IWRM planning and action

Developing approaches and tools for strategic communications to increase awareness and support for IWRM and WUE among high-level decision makers, government officers, key stakeholder groups and regional agencies/donors.
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