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Joint European Project (JEP) 31054 – 2003
“Curricula Development for Integrated Water Resources Management”

The JEP with two years duration is for a curricula development for magisterial level courses.

To develop course packs for magisterial level courses on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) on:

1. Water Resources Assessment

Understanding resources and needs

- Water resources knowledge base

- Water resources assessment

- Modelling in IWRM

- Developing water management indicators

- Ecosystem assessment

2. Efficiency in Water Use

Managing demand and supply

- Improved efficiency of use

- Recycling and reuse

- Improved efficiency of water supply

3. Water Rights and conflict resolution

Managing disputes

Ensuring sharing of water

- Conflict management

- Shared vision planning

- Consensus building)

4. Use of Economic Instruments for Water Management

Using value and prices for efficiency and equity

- Pricing of water and water services

- Pollution and environmental charges

- Water markets and tradable permits

- Subsidies and incentives, "virtual water" concept)

The course pack for each of the courses will include: lecture notes, instruction for the seminar works, case studies, problems for self exercise, evaluation and examination procedures.

After a pilot stage, the respective departments at the partner Universities will implement the core courses.
During the implementation phase the partners will prepare guidelines for quality assurance and evaluation along the lines of the Bologna process. At last a SWOT analysis at partners institutions will contribute to the sustainability of the project.

General Consideration:

Each course pack will include: lecture notes, instruction for the seminar works, demonstration example and case studies, homework problems for self exercise, evaluation and examination procedures.

The main modules of the project:

During the first project’s stakeholders meeting the partners will agree on the pedagogical/methodological contents of each of the courses as well as assign tacks and roles for each partners and the preparatory work, e.g. gathering literature, case studies, etc., for the next meeting.

During the second meeting the partners will have identified the professors in charge of developing and implementing the material on each of the subjects.

The preliminary development of the training material will be done via e-mails communication and the actual development of the course packs will be based on the extended mutual visits to partner’s facilities.

After first draft of the course packs have been prepared the government agencies and NGOs as well as the interested parties will be invited for a conference to review the material and to provide for comments and feedback to the proposals. The second purpose of this conference is to increase the awareness of the people interested in the water sector management.

The refined course packs will be presented for accreditation to the respective authorities.

After the approval the partners will start delivering the material as condensed pilot courses to the interested trainees.

Then, after accounting for experience of these pilot courses, the core courses will be implemented by the respective departments at the partner Universities.

During the implementation phase the partners will take care of preparing guidelines for quality assurance and evaluation in accordance to framework conditions formulated by the Bologna process.

As a last project activity a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Treats (SWOT) analysis at partners institutions in respect to their preparedness to join the Bologna process will make a contribution to the sustainability of the project.

Background of the Project

Partner countries problem and needs analysis:

Given the current regional water resources situation and the criticality of projected trends as derived from water demand and availability scenarios for the Middle East / North Africa region, there is an urgent need for implementing a range of measures in an Integrated Water Resources Management context. Capacity building at all levels and across all water-related sectors is a key component to achieve the goal of sustainable water resources management and development.

In particular improvements in water demand management, e.g. through more realistic water pricing and improvements in water productivity (in particular in the agricultural sector) are urgently required, in order to sustainably meet future human and ecosystem water needs. There are a number of examples for water markets and water trading schemes from around the world, that need to be scrutinized for transferability to the situation in the TEMPUS MEDA region.

Virtual water trade is one management option to mitigate water scarcity and is utilized extensively in the Middle East / North Africa region. Various studies have analyzed the relationship between water scarcity and the substitution of local agriculture by imports of agricultural commodities, and the problem solving potential of virtual water trade in this region. Jordan is one of the world’s most advanced countries in the transition from food self-sufficiency to food security, i.e. in relying on imports of food products in response to water scarcity. It will be important to summarize the economic and political experiences gained with this instrument and assess the transfer potential to other countries.

An implementation of the IWRM concept requires an optimized mix of tools to achieve its goals, i.e. to “maximize the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems” . Hence a key element of the curriculum will be an assessment of costs and benefits of a range of demand side and supply side measures in IWRM.

Given the regional political situation and the transboundary nature of several of the surface and ground water resources, there is an urgent need for collaboration in water resources management. As pointed out in recent scientific work but also other initiatives , the potential for water to contribute to international collaboration is enormous. Again, a goal of the TEMPUS MEDA JEP would be to compare experience gained elsewhere with that from the region and assess the potential for transfers. Scenario analysis and shared vision planning will be tools to be use in the respective course packs.

The IWRM concept and in particular the conflict management module of the project have to be based upon extensive stakeholder participation and dialogue, for which the TEMPUS MEDA JEP project can provide a suitable context. The partners have developed and applied a range of stakeholder dialogue tools, including e.g. focus groups, policy exercises and others. The experience gained in several environmental policy contexts, can be transferred

Water Management issues is very important in Syria due to the scarcity of water resources. As Syria has exploited almost all its traditional water resources, the challenge facing the country now is to manage its water resources very efficiently, and in the manner that would yield maximum economic benefit for the country. Producing high quality water managers is an essential factor of good water management. A Higher Institute of Water Management is in the process of being established with the support of KFW, Germany. The Institute will be under the auspices of the Ministry of Higher Education in Syria. The Department of Water Engineering at the Faculty of Civil Engineering is also trying to adjust its postgraduate program and put more emphasis on water management subjects.

In so far as Syria is still at the beginning of the transformation to market economy the required curricula development is on the Water Resources Assessment and Efficiency in Water Use.

The economic and negotiation subjects have been requested by our Jordanian partners and after their development and implementation, followed by translation to Arabian language, the subjects “Water Rights and conflict resolution” and “Use of Economic Instruments for Water Management” will be ready for transfer to the Syrian partners.

It is generally accepted that an integrated approach is required in which resource development options and demand management go hand in hand lo provide a management structure with balances between immediate demand from different user groups and the short- and long-term environmental functions of our global water resources. The success of integrated water resources management will also benefit from a broader partnership in planning, development and management of our water resources. The focal role of central government is gradually complemented with a growing responsibility of lower levels in the public sector and broader partnerships with the private sector – the so-called public-private partnership (PPP).

In 1997 the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan enunciated major policy changes in the water sector, emphasizing water demand management and a major role for the private sector. The government embarked upon a privatisation programme, the goal being to orient Jordan's economy more towards the private sector and best present Jordan to the international financial community. The specific objectives of the programme include increasing the efficiency of enterprises, consolidating public finance, attracting private investment into the economy and deepening the financial markets.

Coming out from different economic and resource realities both Jordan and Syria are either planning or have established specialised centres on “Water resources and environmental engineering” which are, or will be, open to people with different academic backgrounds. In Damascus the Faculty of Civil Engineering is working to establish a Higher Institute of Water Management with one-year fully privately financed program. For Jordan the Civil Society Development Centre (CSDC) of the university JUST will be adapting the “Water rights and conflict resolution” syllabus for a semester long course and for the purpose oriented participatory workshops. CSDC is a newly established centre to participate in the national effort in advancing the political and social development of Jordan.

Presentation of the consortium:

Partner 1. The Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) was established in 1963 as a private, non-profit, independent policy oriented think tank with the objective to become a key provider of policy devoted economic and social research analysis and post-graduate training.

IHS consists of 5 departments – Economics and Finance, Transition Economics, Political Science, Sociology, IT - and a Center for Strategic Development. The latter is the consulting arm of the Institute and has a sound experience with designing and managing of projects within complex donor-funded programs. The Institute’s more than 600 projects performed in over 50 countries cover different socio-economic spheres, including water, energy and environment, institutional building, and strengthening, management of public services, private sector development, democratization processes, parliamentary reform processes and security in Europe.

IHS has provided analyses, policy formulation and technical assistance to a large number of Central European and Newly Industrialised Countries concerning regional socio-economic development, reforms of the real and the financial sectors, as well as the legal systems, institutional building and strengthening, human rights protection, democratisation processes, etc. Due to the extensive work performed in the Central Europe and Middle East and Central Asia in co-operation with key regional analysts IHS has acquired a profound familiarity with the particularities of the economic, social and political development of these countries, which aids the provision by the Institute of expertise, appropriate to the respective national context.

The following specific experience deserves mentioning:

INTAS 2001- Evaluation of Current Environmental State and Ecological Risks in Fergana Valley Region and the global energy analysis done within the IIASA´s Energy Systems Program which is closely connected with the Global Water System Project.

During the preparatory stage IHS offered the following subjects to the partners institutions:

  1. Water Resources Assessment

  2. Planning for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)

  3. Efficiency in Water Use

  4. Water Rights and conflict resolution

  5. Regulatory Instruments

  6. Economic Instruments

For implementation the partner Universities have chosen four of them, namely:

  1. Water Resources Assessment

  2. Efficiency in Water Use

  3. Water Rights and conflict resolution

  4. Use of Economic Instruments for Water Management

Partner 2. The department of global change & natural systems (GCNS) of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has as a primary goal to assess the changes in the environment and human life, including their importance for human society, as well as the feedbacks to the atmosphere. Most of the work is concerned with "human" scales of time and space. For ecosystems (natural and managed), GCNS focuses on landscape processes, such as tree and canopy development. In hydrological systems GCNS assesses the potential and risks environmental change might imply for human land use of river catchments. For the analysis of the entire biosphere GCNS studies interactions between human exploitation and the global carbon cycle. In none of these three cases can the direct human influence through management (or sometimes destruction) be ignored - often it is found to be the primary reason for concern. GCNS ´s spatial scope is at multiple levels, ranging from the Elbe catchments, through pan-European studies, to global assessments.

GCNS work is done primarily through research activities, often using computer models and large databases. GCNS does, however, also contribute to the coordination of national and international research consortia, and this is an important element of GCNS activities. Additionally, GCNS contributes to academic teaching at Potsdam University (mostly through its department of geo-ecology), and at several other German universities. The Global Water System Project is one of the important long-term commitments of the GCNS.

Partner 3. The Department of Water Management, Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering of the University of Renewable Resources Management (or Agricultural Sciences) in Vienna is providing magisterial level courses in the following fields:

Eco-hydrological modelling and management; Water resources systems and risk analysis; Conflict analysis; Stochastic hydrology; Multi-objective decision making; Geographical information systems and their application in water resources management; Impact of climate change on water resources

Among the international activities of the department the following may be mentioned:

  • UNESCO (Water Science Div.) Working Group 4.1on International River systems: Conflict Analysis and Resolution and of PCCP team (Potential Conflicts-Collaboration Potential).

  • Expert Group for the Water Management of Shared River basins (EU-SADC)in the Zambezii Basin
  • Scientific Steering Board for the European Thematic Network of Education and Training for ENVIRONMENT-WATER

  • Tunesia, Algeria, Morocco: Review of the Tunisian Water Development Plan GEORE. Restructuring of Municipal and Regional Water Authorities in Algeria. Feasibility Study for the Establishment of the River Basin Authority Tensift, Morocco

  • The UNESCO (Water Science Div.) Working Group on Sustainable Use of Water Resources.

  • International Working Group for the "Classification of Surface Water Systems", UNESCO, Paris

Partner 4. The Faculty of Civil Engineering, Damascus University
The Faculty of Civil Engineering was established at Damascus University with the help of UNESCO in 1961. At present the total number of students is about 2700.

At the faculty there are 135 academic staff (Professors, Associate Professors and Assistant Professors). The Faculty comprises of eight departments: Department of Structural Engineering; Department of Engineering Management & Construction; Department of Water Engineering; Department of Environmental Engineering; Department of Geotechnical Engineering; Department of Transportation Engineering; Department of Topographical Engineering and Department of Basic Sciences

The undergraduate programs (or the B.Sc. program) spans over five year-period. The first three years are common to all students, while in the last two years, the students are specialized in any of the above mentioned civil engineering fields.

The postgraduate program comprises of three parts; The Diploma program, which is a one-year instructional program and can be prepared in any of the above mentioned specializations (except Topographical Engineering which is due to start soon), The Master program which is purely a research program and can be prepared in any of the Diploma fields, and The Doctoral Program which is available so far only in Structural Engineering, Water Engineering, Environmental Engineering and Transportation Engineering. It is worth mentioning that 6 PhD students are currently enrolled in the Doctoral Program (mainly in Structural Engineering), however, the faculty has awarded so far only one Doctoral degree in the field of Structural Engineering.

Syria is now undergoing a period of political, economic and social changes. The government is currently implementing an ambitious modernization program of all its institutions. All sectors of the economy (private, public and mixed) are demanding high quality graduates of international standards, especially in engineering, since the modernization program involves the implementation of many engineering projects. Furthermore, the Ministry of Higher Education is, for the first time, considering licensing private universities that will undoubtedly compete with public sector universities. All these factors are posing major challenges to the Syrian higher education system.

The Faculty of Civil Engineering, Damascus University has already started to address these challenges. Several important steps have been taken in this regard such as:

  • The Faculty has designed a new curriculum for its B.Sc. program that takes into consideration latest advances in engineering sciences, especially computer applications. The new curriculum is in the final phase of the approval process by the Council of Higher Education.

  • The Faculty is now in the process of updating its engineering laboratories. Computer facilities are given special attention. Internet Access has been reasonably available in the faculty for many years. This service has improved enormously in the past year following the completion of the Syrian Higher Education Research Network (SHERN).

The Faculty is considering establishing joint postgraduate programs in certain important engineering subjects, such as Water Resources Management, in cooperation with some European universities. This should expose the faculty to foreign expertise and practices in higher education.

Related to this JEP project the Department of Water Engineering will be interested in offering optional courses on “water resources assessment” and “efficiency of water use”.

Partner 5. The Department of Civil Engineering is part of the Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) is offering graduate level and undergraduate degrees in four areas including water resources and environmental engineering. For the time being the accent of the offered courses is on the technical and engineering issues. With the proposed project JUST wants to extend its offer with courses on Conflict resolution and Socioeconomics so that to equip its graduates with better means for meeting the needs of the Jordan Labour market.

These new courses are going to be incorporated at the master’s level of the specialty “Water resources and environmental engineering” programme and will be made open to students from other backgrounds. The Civil Society Development Centre (CSDC) of the university will adapt the “Water rights and conflict resolution” syllabus for a semester long course and for the purpose oriented participatory workshops. CSDC is a newly established centre to participate in the national effort in advancing the political and social development of Jordan.

In so far as JUST are educating students from more than 45 countries all over the world the enhanced programme offer of the university will be able to reach very broad auditorium, hence, building a milestone for the future knowledge networking and sharing.

The goal is to develop curricula for courses on the following two subjects:

  • Water Right And Conflict Resolution and

  • Use of Economic Instruments for Water Management

Partner 6. The Al-Baath University at Homs has 3800 students in 10 faculties. The Civil Engineering Faculty is offering courses in 7 specializations: engineering of hydraulic structures, computation of rigidity of structural components, irrigation and melioration, geodesy and topography, geo-technical department, main sciences (physic, chemistry, mathematics, etc.), water management and environmental protection, transport and material sciences.

The proposed subject of “water resources assessment” and “efficiency of water use” will be integrated in the program of the departments of engineering of hydraulic structures, irrigation and melioration and of water management and environmental protection. Both subjects will be offered at the fifth study year and used as well as for diploma preparation.