Actionable Science in Transboundary River Basins

Projects PIs

Andrea K. Gerlak, Associate Professor
University of Arizona, School of Geography and Development and Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy

Anita Milman, Associate Professor
University of Massachusetts, Department of Environmental Conservation

Project background

Around the world, intensifying demands for water resources, changes in the hydro-climatic cycle, and degrading water quality pose threats to human and ecosystems. These risks are particularly of concern in transboundary river basins, where coordination across international political boundaries adds complexity to already challenging governance issues. The effective production of scientific knowledge and incorporation of that knowledge into decision-making will be a critical factor influencing how such water-related risks are mitigated, as decision-makers respond to potential impacts and externalities that span sovereign countries.

Project objectives

This pursuit will identify promising pathways by which science is developed and informs policy in transboundary basins. Using a multi-stage approach, we will harness the expertise of an interdisciplinary group of practitioners, policymakers, and academics who work in transboundary river basins and have been producers and/or users of knowledge and information in order to:

  • delineate the scope of the science produced
  • depict the formal institutional mechanisms for incorporating science into decision-making
  • identify example pathways for the use of science in transboundary water governance

We begin with a focus on three well-institutionalized transboundary water governance institutions spanning three continents: the International Joint Commission (North America), the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube (Europe), and the Mekong River Commission (Asia).

Results from this synthesis will inform understandings of the science-policy interface in transboundary rivers and will provide lessons about actionable science for policy-makers to draw upon as they consider how to best develop and enable incorporation of science into decision-making.

Workshop #1

Held November 8-10, 2017 in Annapolis, Maryland


Project Members

Tamee Albrecht, PhD student, School of Geography & Development at the University of Arizona
Mark Colosimo, Engineering advisor, U.S. Section of the International Joint Commission (IJC)
Ken Conca
, Professor, School of International Service at American
Gabriel Eckstein, Professor, School of Law at Texas A&M University
Peter Kovács, Head of Department of the River Basin Management and Water Protection, Ministry of Interior of Hungary
Rich Moy, U.S. Commissioner, International Joint Commission (IJC)
Alberto Pistocchi, Scientific Project Officer, Joint Research Centre of the European Commission
Susanne Schmeier, Coordinator for Transboundary Water Management, Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
John Shurts, General Council, Northwest Power and Conservation Council
Ivan Zavadsky, Executive
 Secretary, International Commission for the Protection of the Danube

Share this