On 26 April, the Australian Water Partnership (AWP), the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen cooperation within the Asia-Pacific region.
The MoU was jointly signed in Canberra by Kaye Schofield AO, AWP Chair; Michael Wilson, Acting First Assistant Secretary of DFAT’s Development Policy Division; and Dr Claudia Sadoff, IWMI Director-General.
Don Blackmore, in his IWMI role as Chair of the Board of Governors, welcomed his IWMI counterparts to Canberra and noted positively it was the first IWMI Board and Management meeting in Australia in over 30 years of its establishment.
Mr Wilson said, “IWMI has deep networks and a wealth of experience in the Indo-Pacific region. Strengthening DFAT and AWP’s partnership with IWMI provides the opportunity for working more closely together on critical water challenges facing the region, from transboundary water management to effective irrigation.”
IWMI is a non-profit, scientific research organisation focused on the sustainable use of water and land resources in developing countries, with regional offices in ten countries across Africa and Asia. Their mission is to provide evidence-based solutions to sustainably manage water and land resources for food security, livelihoods and the environment.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to structure a partnership based on the enormous complementarity between IWMI and the Australian water community,” said Dr Sadoff.
“We’ve been looking at the tools, methodologies and knowledge bases Australia has developed, and thinking about how we can use this knowledge and insights in the work we do globally. Likewise, there is a lot we can contribute from IWMI to help Australia amplify and extend these learnings and insights to address water challenges where we work.”
Over the next four years, AWP and IWMI will collaborate on programs related to the management of water for agriculture, integrated river basin planning and modelling, managing climate change impacts on water resources, and water management education.
Ms Schofield conveyed AWP’s enthusiasm on embarking on the new partnership, “Between IWMI’s commitment to research and development, and our commitment to harnassing Australian capability and putting it at the service of international development—there is an alignment of great strength. We enter into this in a spirit of shared commitment to development and to making a difference through water. While we in Australia will bring our own unique style and approach, the opportunity to partner with IWMI brings deep and broad knowledge of global water issues, and I’m confident that over the next few months we will design practical activities together that will make a combined significant difference.”
Cooperation under this MoU may include capacity building programmes, technical collaborations and demonstration activities; advice and peer reviews from Australian specialists to IWMI; staff exchanges and knowledge sharing activities; facilitating networking between organisations from Australia and from countries in the region; and assisting with the research, preparation and production of new knowledge products in sustainable water resource management.
Dr Sadoff also expressed her gratitude to AWP and DFAT for hosting the special occasion, “A huge thank you to all the organisations that have opened their doors and minds to us over the course of the week, it’s been incredibly inspiring. The things you work on are just extraordinary.”