Transboundary water management across borders and interfaces: present and future challenges

Terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems are linked through a number of bio-geo-chemical as well as socio-economic and political-institutional processes that are, in turn, affected by pressures from globalisation, climate change/variability, population growth, economic development, resource depletion, pollution and technological progress. These linkages constitute a host of mutual benefits as well as a range of negative impacts and hazards, potentially leading to tensions, conflicts and welfare losses. The application of non-systemic and isolated approaches in watershed, coastal or marine management issues, their limited community and stakeholder integration as well as their deficient inter-institutional and multi-sector coordination  efforts  to  develop  and  implement holistic intervention strategies, has led to inefficient approaches for tackling the socio-environmental problems that are faced by socio-ecological systems at the land-freshwater-sea interface.


A core challenge lies in the provision of research support aiming at risk reduction from environmental hazards in these socio-ecological systems at the land-freshwater-sea interface, through more sustainable use and management of the natural resources and ecosystem services that sustain economies, societies and human well-being. Based in environmental, social and/or economic sciences, water resources management models, approaches and frameworks have been developed within the research community to cope with the complexity of water resources management issues as to improve its outcomes. These studies generally aim to achieve more holistic sustainable water resources management through integration that most adequately reflects the complex relationships between water, land, ecosystems, capitals, technologies, stakeholders, communities and/or governance systems. Water resources management across social boundaries and/or ecological interfaces in linked terrestrial, freshwater and marine socio-ecological systems poses, however, additional scientific and managerial challenges.

The overarching objective of the TWAM2013 International Conference is to address these challenges in “Transboundary water resources management across borders and interfaces”, with particular focus on (see conference topics):
1. Water resources modelling
2. Technological and natural solutions
3. Environmental impacts, ecosystems services and values
4. Economic incentives and instruments
5. Water governance, institutions and regulations
6. Stakeholder engagement
7. Planning water resources and land use
8. Integrated assessment and decision support tools