Zoe Rosenblum

Ph.D. Candidate, Oregon State University

Field Travel Grant Type 1

Transboundary wetlands governance: The Nile River Basin Wetlands

“The continued degradation of the world’s wetlands highlights the need for their improved management. One understudied option is the joint governance of wetlands that cross country borders. Governing water resources that are transboundary, and thus shared by more than one country, is a challenge. While there is often fear of competition for scarce water resources, such resources also pose an opportunity for countries to share the burdens and benefits of management and possibly generate benefits of cooperation even beyond the water sector. The research on water cooperation, while largely focused on rivers, provides important insights into the governance of shared wetlands.

To address the problem of global wetland loss and insufficient research on transboundary wetlands, I will conduct research on the global extent of transboundary wetlands. First, I will conduct a desk study to understand the different ways in which wetlands can be transboundary. This will result in a typology of transboundary wetlands. Next, I will do GIS and remote sensing research to understand where such wetlands are located. This step will result in a map of the global distribution of transboundary wetlands. Then, I will conduct an analysis of water governance mechanisms, e.g., international freshwater treaties and the mandates of river basin organizations, to understand to what extent these mechanisms apply to or address transboundary wetlands. Finally, I will conduct field-based research in three transboundary wetlands to understand how governance works on the ground, and which mechanisms are most important.