NBCBN-RE that started as a non-traditional experiment and served as a pilot network for capacity building of water professionals in the Nile Basin has proven to be a unique structure and a valuable tool for capacity building over the years. The success of the network comes from the real impact that it generated on the performance of people working at both national and regional level in the Nile basin. For ten years, NBCBN has showed that creating links between water professionals from the basin and bringing people closer around common research objectives are important steps towards better cooperation that stimulated joint problem-solving oriented research leading to outputs that go beyond the original horizons of the individual researchers. At the same time the cooperation has contributed to leveling the playing field in the Nile basin and through that it has created a basis for generating new and innovative solutions to cope with water scarcity problems in the Nile region.
Specific impacts of NBCBN on the Nile Basin are:
- Built trust and confidence between water professionals in the Nile Basin countries;
- Created professional communities of practice (COP’s) in different water related research themes;
- Created a powerful regional forum for knowledge sharing and exchange of best practices;
- Developed links between different institutions in the basin through joint collaborative activities;
- Contributed to a sustainable development of the Nile basin countries by focusing on relevant and alarming water problems;
- Created an effective set of knowledge sharing and dissemination tools using ICT;
- Created a larger pool of regional water experts that are capable to be engaged in ongoing development projects in the basin and making the region less dependent on international consultants.
From the very beginning NBCBN-RE's explicit approach was to start small and to focus on mainly River Engineering with the specific aim to learn and to get experience with Knowledge Networking in the Nile region. Now enriched with ten years of experience and the network reaching a certain stage of maturity and professionalism, NBCBN-RE feels secure to successfully up-scale its mandate and activities. Having achieved the main targets of NBCBN-RE so far, and receiving a number of requests from members to take up additional capacity building challenges, the network feels the time has come to extend NBCBN-RE's scope in two directions in order to better serve the larger Nile Basin's professional community:
- To extend its scope from mainly River Engineering related aspects to the broader field of what could be described as Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) including Water Science, Engineering and Technology, or in other words, to move from NBCBN-RE to NBCBN.
- To extend its scope from its main focus on Applied Research to a more overall capacity building approach, including also Training and Education: an integrated capacity building approach with a focus on both individuals and organizations. Through this extension the network would then focus on in principle the whole Knowledge Management (KM-)cycle.
This new ambition of NBCBN will not only have major consequences for both the governance of the network and its capacity building activities, it also requires two conditions to be fulfilled:
- To reach agreement with and full support from the Nile Basin Initiative to take that new role and to develop and establish a framework for cooperation and the implementation of a sustainable strategy for capacity building activities in the Nile region;
- To secure funding in support of these activities. This should become then the joint responsibility of both NBCBN and NBI.
Considering that the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) is a partnership initiated and led by the riparian states of the Nile River since 1999, with the aim to develop the river in a cooperative manner, share substantial socioeconomic benefits, and promote regional peace and security, and with a vision to achieve sustainable socioeconomic development through the equitable utilization of, and benefit from, the common Nile Basin water resources; and Considering that since its start in 2000 the Nile Basin Capacity Building Network (NBCBN) has become a regional knowledge network of over 500 water sector professionals active in the Nile basin and focal institutes (nodes) in each of the countries with the aim to strengthen the human and institutional capacity of the riparian countries through building strategic partnerships among water professionals and education, training and research institutions and government authorities;
And Taking into account the fact that the Applied Training Program (ATP) was closed by the 31st December 2009, and that the NBI capacity building programme is now handled at the NBI Secretariat in Entebbe, Uganda, it seems that this is the moment for NBI and NBCBN to join forces in further promoting and implementing their capacity building agenda's and activities in the Nile basin.
In November 2010, during the conference of NBCBN that was held in Cairo on Sustainable solutions for Strengthening the capacity of Nile Water professionals, there was a mutual approval and understanding on the importance of finding the right mechanism for starting joint activities and cooperation between NBCBN and NBI to serve the capacity building needs of the basin professionals. This event was attended by NBI ED Dr. Wael Khairy, where he expressed the willingliness of NBI to great and open links of cooperation with NBCBN. This idea was consolidated by an official meeting in Entebbe involving both parties NBI-SEC and NBCBN management team in May 2011, to develop and shape the planned cooperation in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Signing this MoU between the two parties to confirm the mutual missions and ambitions to further strengthening and intensifying the cooperation and to promote, initiate and co-ordinate all possible joint activities in building the capacity of the water sector of the Nile region is seen as a crucial and historic step forwards in their collaboration. The benefit for both parties lies in the fact that existing knowledge can be easier and better bundled and accessed and that demand and supply of capacity building activities can be more effectively and efficiently addressed and streamlined throughout the basin based on agreed priority agenda's. Both Parties NBCBN-SEC and NBI-SEC are expected to sign this MoU very soon to start joint cooperation activities.
NBI Official Website: http://www.nilebasin.org
NBI on NBCBN Knowledge Map: http://www.NileBasin-KnowledgeMap.com