About 97% of the world’s available freshwater is found in aquifers and the latest figures from the International Groundwater Research Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC) show more than 400 transboundary aquifers worldwide. However, the paucity of specific legal and institutional arrangements to manage these aquifers in addition to the need to further deepen the understanding of the science policy interaction and the emergence of the payment concept for ecosystem services, linked to groundwater resources, calls for further debate. The Southern African Development Community region, where 20 transboundary aquifers have been identified amongst 13 countries, presents a specific example.

Against this background, the International Training Center for Local Authorities - CIFAL Scotland - is organizing an International Roundtable Conference (Glasgow City Chambers, 15 & 16 October 2013) to provide a unique opportunity to discuss transboundary aquifer management from a multi-disciplinary perspective, focusing on its scientific-hydrogeological, socio-economic and legal-institutional dimensions. The conference will be framed around the following debates:

  • 2013 UN International Year of Water Cooperation and Scotland as a Hydro nation
  • Emerging challenges in Groundwater Science
  • Linkages between Groundwater Science and Transboundary Aquifer Law and Policy
  • Transboundary Aquifer Management: An Environmental Accounting Perspective
  • Transboundary Aquifer Cooperation: From Global to Regional

Key objectives of the Rountable Conference are:

  • To celebrate the work of the UN in International Water Cooperation and the role that Scotland can play therein
  • To underpin the role of science in decision making in the context of transboundary aquifer cooperation
  • To discuss the role of emerging legal instruments in the management of transboundary aquifers
  • To explore the value of water and the role it plays in transboundary aquifer cooperation

Participants (Government and Non-Government science, research and policy organisations, academics and researchers, international organisations involved in integrated water resources management ) will have an opportunity to:

  • Engage in multidisciplinary debates examining cooperation in the field of transboundary aquifers from a science, legal and value perspective
  • Listen to worldwide specialists coming from policy, practice and academia
  • Participate in facilitated networking and interactive sessions with the range of stakeholders and decision makers