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Constraints and current situation of IWRM in the Sudano-Sahelian Zone 15

In document in search of integration (sivua 35-38)

2.2 General features affecting the water sector and IWRM in West Africa 11

2.2.6 Constraints and current situation of IWRM in the Sudano-Sahelian Zone 15

Ayibotele & Afouda (2000) list the main constraints on water resources management in Western Africa as the following:

• Economic constraints: e.g. balance of payment difficulties, high inflation rate, and strong state involvement in most of the economic sector.

• Political constraints: Wars and coup d’etats.

• Participation: Lack of decentralization.

• Water Sector Infrastructure:

Inadequate investment in operation and maintenance of water services.

• Cost Recovery: Water is not treated as an economic good.

• Institutional and Legal: Responsibilities spread over several agencies, which do not interact. Laws either absent or inadequate.

• Data and Information: Inadequate data leading to wrong decisions.

• Investment: Water infrastructure is inadequate due to the lack of investment funds.

• International Rivers: Lack of protocol for dealing with the shared water resources.


The above challenges are recognized and agreed by international organisations. For example, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) is currently addressing the IWRM challenges of Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia. These countries were identified as lagging behind in IWRM development and having received little support (UNEP 2010).

The Global Water Partnership has been supporting IWRM implementation in West Africa along the lines of the regional water policy (GWP 2007).

For example, it has formed country and regional water partnerships (GWP 2009), commissioned and funded a number of studies on IWRM implementation (Ministère de l’Energie, des Mines et de l’Eau 2007, GWP/AO 2009a, GWP/AO 2009b, GWP-PNE/Benin 2010), and contributed to regional initiative aimed at IWRM capacity building (Yillia et al 2004). The Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS) is promoting activities that strengthen IWRM implementation in West Africa (ECOWAS, 2008).

Apart from the regional IWRM plan, national plans exist in a number of West African countries including Ghana (Odame-Ababio, 2005), Burkina Faso (Ministry of Agriculture, hydraulics and fishing resources of Burkina Faso 2003), and Senegal (PNUD-OMVS 1974). UNEP has developed roadmaps for development and implementation of IWRM plans for Guinea Bissau, Gambia and Sierra Leone (UNEP 2007).

Scientific methods are defined as principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses (Merriam-Webster 2011). This chapter presents the scientific methods used in this thesis to find answers to the study objectives as described in Chapter 1.

The rationale behind the chosen methods stems from the geographic region and the interdisciplinary nature of the topic under study.

Academic, peer reviewed material on IWRM from Africa in general and West Africa in particular is scarce. Getting information from institutions responsible for IWRM is challenging and timely.

In the course of writing this thesis, a personal visit to an institution or an organisation was the only way of acquiring material. A great deal of the data used in this thesis was collected while living and working in West Africa over the past nine years.

When material does exist, for example, on the factors influencing climate change vulnerability, these factors interact “in complex and ‘messy’

ways” (Boko et al. 2007).

The scarcity of data, its poor quality, and the interconnectivity between the different factors having a role in IWRM, influenced the choice of study methods used in this thesis. The use of different methods also allowed for the examination of IWRM through different viewpoints, which is an important aspect when examining such a broad concept.



Literature review was an important method in each of the case studies, and the main method in the case of Lake Chad.

Literature review can be seen as a basic scientific method that ensures that one is not “reinventing the wheel”. It also allows for the thorough set- up of the research problem and its systematic analysis while giving credit to other researchers studying the same topic. Mulrow (1994) describes systematic literature review as a “fundamental scientific activity”, which allows for efficient integration of existing information into a format that facilitates rational decision-making. Webster

& Watson (2002) describe the literature as a firm foundation for advancing knowledge, facilitating theory development, identifying areas where plenty of research exists as well as uncovering areas that need further examination.

The challenge concerning this method relates to the quality and quantity of material available especially in the developing world. A large proportion of the material available is classified as “grey literature”, which is defined as “information produced and distributed on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body” (Schöpfel & Farace 2010).

The rapid development of electronic communication and distribution channels has increased the use of grey literature. The definition, impact, and perspectives of grey literature are a field of academic research itself. Professionals favour the use of grey literature due to a number


of reasons: research results in grey literature are described as more detailed than in official journals, the results are distributed much faster, and in some cases results are not published elsewhere (Abel 2004).

There are differences between different scientific fields and the amount of grey literature used.

Farace et al. (2005) reviewed 64 citation analyses published between 1987 and 2005 and revealed that 39-42% of citations in engineering sciences were from grey literature.

The above explains the relatively wide use of grey literature in the study context of this thesis.


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