Transboundary River Basin Initiative (TRIB)

In early 2000, UNDP established a global trust fund with seed funding from the US State Department for the implementation of the Transboundary River Basin Initiative (TRIB) Project.

The TRIB project was established with several goals. The main goal was to support riparian countries in nationally owned efforts to improve their dialogues on shared rivers and build intra-riparian trust. In addition, the project aimed to facilitate an exchange of experiences and lessons learned, build internal capacity within riparian countries, leverage additional funds, and link political processes with the development and management of shared waters.

UNDP seeks to realize synergies between TRIB, GEF and other UNDP support relevant to transboundary water resource management to maximize the impact of TRIB. For the same reason partnerships are an essential feature of TRIB, with both bilateral and multilateral donors, as well as development organizations that provide co-funding and collaboration on activities. This collaboration enables linkages between the political processes, development challenges, and environmental management in transboundary river basins.

With nine of the twelve implemented components now complete, TRIB succeeded with a variety of achievements and lessons learned:

  • TRIB provided assistance to 36 countries through twelve project components. Projects varied in the range of countries involved, with some having a global scope and others focusing on three or four riparian nations.
  • TRIB leveraged US $76 for every US $1 invested. TRIB funding equalling US$ 297,795.00 was utilized in three components (Kura-Aras, Senegal, and Niger II). These funds leveraged US$ 22.625 million in funding from GEF.
  • TRIB strengthened relationships between UNDP, basin organizations and multilateral and bilateral donors. In the course of the TRIB implementation, UNDP partnered with numerous actors, among others: World Bank, UNESCO, CIDA, GEF, and the Carnegie Foundation. UNDP also partnered with non-donor regional and national organizations, varying from large basin organizations, such as the Mekong River Commission and the Nile Basin Authority, to the smaller local NGOs such as Proudesa and Asdeverde in the Rio Frio Basin.
  • TRIB improved communication between various levels of government and increased stakeholder participation. TRIB components strengthened the links between local, regional and national levels of government by facilitating communication and empowering stakeholders to participate in discussions. For example, in the Senegal River Basin, the project increased stakeholder participation, while facilitating dialogue between Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur le fleuve Sénégal (OMVS) and the Federal Government in Guinea.
  • TRIB built the capacities of communities to participate in transboundary waters management. By building capacity, TRIB enabled reforestation by communities in the Rio Frio Basin, created a curriculum to increase the number of professionals educated in transboundary waters management through the Universities Partnership, and strengthened communities’ capacity to participate in cross-border dialogues in the Mekong River Basin.
  • TRIB initiated policy, institutional and legal reforms necessary for effective transboundary waters management. Examples of institutional and legal support that resulted from TRIB funding includes the Framework for Cooperation in the Nile Basin, the initiation of regional and national institutional support mechanisms and legal reform in the Kura-Aras Basin, and the implementation of a conflict resolution mechanism in the Mekong Basin.
  • TRIB increased understanding of the methodology involved in transboundary waters projects. Numerous components have strengthened policy-makers and the international community’s understanding of issues in transboundary water management. The Infrastructure Seminar heightened the understanding of obstacles in implementing water infrastructure projects, the Zambezi Small Dams Study increased knowledge of the role of small dams in poverty reduction, and the Mekong II component provided lessons learned on mechanisms for successful stakeholder participation in community-to-community dialogues.
  • TRIB increased other donors’ awareness of the program through numerous outreach and partnership building activities. In 2005, TRIB pursued an active outreach to potential donors at international fora and meetings with individual potential donors.