The NBDC-supported national platform on land and water management has convened two meetings (in April and in December 2011). During the second meeting, it was agreed that the national platform should see to the establishment of thematic working groups that would flesh out a series of activities to fulfill the platform’s mission to ‘Ensure a healthy, sustainable, and equitable use and management of natural resources for improved productivity, livelihoods and ecosystem services in Ethiopia’. These thematic working groups are now formed and developing their agenda and activities.

Five thematic working groups emerged from the second national platform meeting. They eventually became four groups as one of them was too broadly focusing on ‘land and water management’, which is the general object of the national platform, thence it is addressed by all the thematic working groups. The four groups identified by participants are:

  • Institutional innovation;
  • Technological innovation;
  • Policy support;
  • Resilient ecosystems and climate change.

The second national platform meeting report introduced the original rationale and suggested some activities, members etc. for these working groups.

In late June and mid-July, the four thematic working groups have gathered for the first time, under the auspices of a reputable chair. Each of the working groups has worked on a similar program for their first meeting: What is the rationale of this group, and desired outcomes? What specific issues will it focus on, how will it organize its activities to address this agenda? How will the group communicate, coordinate and document its work, how will it share it with other thematic working groups? What funding mechanisms could it tap into in order to develop additional activities?

And finally, the working groups have defined what they want to bring back to the upcoming third national platform meeting, on 23-24 July. After that meeting, the thematic working groups will have their baptism by fire as they will have to follow words with actions and actually implement their plans. Given the constraints on financial resources for the remaining 18 months of the Nile Basin Development Challenge, the onus is on the thematic working groups to perhaps unveil a new path and set of activities for the national platform further down the line…

Notes of the thematic working groups are currently available on the innovation platforms page of the NBDC wiki (under ‘National platform and ThWG meetings’).