Communications and stakeholder engagement

Communication and engagement activities will be carefully structured and strongly focused on supporting achieving of the program and focal area objectives. This will begin with open communication with key partners and stakeholders regarding SAWI strategic intent and modes of operation. This will include not only communications outside of the World Bank, but also stronger internal communication to improve the ability of SAWI to positively influence the lending activities of the Bank in South Asia that are critical to poverty alleviation and economic development. SAWI will engage internally to contribute water resources expertise into World Bank strategy development at country and regional levels.

Key stakeholders for SAWI are the senior officials and senior technical staff in relevant government agencies at both national, and where relevant, state level. SAWI will engage closely with these stakeholders in both the design and implementation of all activities. SAWI will continue its engagement with these key government stakeholders to provide safe forums for open dialogue on difficult water management issues. It will encourage mechanisms for feedback from these dialogues to inform formal processes of policy formulation and formal diplomatic exchanges between riparian countries.

Additionally, SAWI will actively work to broaden its stakeholder base, in particular, putting more effort towards reaching out to civil society groups and the general public, and to engaging with the global change research community. Engaging civil society groups and raising awareness of water resources issues in the general public are key to raising awareness and understanding of the issues and challenges, and public opinion is critical for generating the political will for action. SAWI will develop printed project materials to help communicate its activities and their outputs to a broad audience.

Building stronger connections into the global change research community is important not only because this is a mechanism to improve the quality of technical work and ensure a robust and indisputable foundation of water facts and knowledge for dialogue and action, but also as means to contribute to the growing understanding of global change processes, that supports efforts for global multilateral policy dialogue and action. To help improve these connections SAWI will contribute to relevant international meetings and conferences, and will consider hosting (potentially jointly with key partners) one or more scientifically-focused major regional water forums.

SAWI will continue investment to improve the current SAWI Mapping Portal and will explore opportunities to collaborate with partners to develop a comprehensive and easy to use web portal to provide access to all types of publically available data and information relevant to water resources research and management in the transboundary river basins of South Asia. All reports will be made available on the SAWI website. Annual progress reports on the program will be prepared and provided to SAWI donors and to key partners. In addition to the World Bank’s internal review process, SAWI will ensure independent external peer review of all substantive published reports.

In all its communications SAWI will remain politically neutral and will focus on communicating scientific and technical information in ways that raise awareness and build a shared understanding of the water resources of the major river basins and the opportunities for sustainable water resources management.