Improving governance in transboundary cooperation in water and climate change adaptation

Jos Timmerman*, John Matthews, Sonja Koeppel, Daniel Valensuela, Niels Vlaanderen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change adaptation in water management is a water governance issue. While neither climate change nor water respects national borders, adaptation in water management should be treated as a transboundary water governance issue. However, transboundary water management is, in essence, more complex than national water management because the water management regimes usually differ more between countries than within countries. This paper provides 63 lessons learned from almost a decade of cooperation on transboundary climate adaptation in water management under the UNECE Water Convention and puts these into the context of the OECD principles on water governance. It highlights that good water governance entails a variety of activities that are intertwined and cannot be considered stand-alone elements. The paper also shows that this wide variety of actions is needed to develop a climate change adaptation strategy in water management. Each of the lessons learned can be considered concrete actions connected to one or more of the OECD principles, where a range of actions may be needed to fulfil one principle. The paper concludes that developing climate change adaptation measures needs to improve in parallel the water governance system at transboundary scale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1014-1029
JournalWater Policy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Climate change adaptation
  • Governance principles
  • Integrated water management
  • Lessons learned
  • Transboundary cooperation
  • Water governance


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