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Kura Aras Stakeholder Analysis

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					                    Full Stakeholder Analysis

                       UNDP/GEF Project

“Reducing Transboundary Degradation of the Kura-Aras River Basin”




                            April 2007




                      Mary M. Matthews, Ph.D.
                International Stakeholder Consultant




                                 1
                                 Table of Contents

Executive Summary                                                   3
Acronyms                                                            4
Figures and Tables                                                  4
Acknowledgements                                                    4
   1. Introduction                                                  5
   2. Stakeholder Analysis Components and Methodology               7
   3. SHA FINDINGS                                                  9
       3.1 Qualitative SHA Findings by Country                      9
           3.1.1   Azerbaijan                                       9
           3.1.2   Georgia                                          10
           3.1.3   Armenia                                          11
       3.2 Transboundary Implications of the Qualitative SHA        12
       3.3 Quantitative SHA Finding by Stakeholder Group            16
       3.4 Quantitative SHA by Issue                                30
           3.4.1   Variation and Reduction of Hydrological Flow     30
           3.4.2   Deterioration of Water Quality                   31
           3.4.3   Ecosystem Degradation in the River Basin         33
           3.4.4   Flooding and Bank Erosion                        34
   4. Stakeholder Advisory Group                                    36
       4.1 Irrational water use/ reduced flows                      36
       4.2 Flooding and Bank Erosion                                37
       4.3 Water Quality Degradation                                38
       4.4 Ecosystem Degradation                                    40
   5. Recommendations and Conclusions                               42


   ANNEX 1 Qualitative SHA                                          47
   ANNEX 2 Quantitative SHA Survey                                  63
   ANNEX 3 Quantitative SHA report for TDA                          65
   ANNEX 4 SHAG Meeting Report                                      74
   ANNEX 5 Public Participation and Stakeholder Involvement Strategy 89




                                          2
Executive Summary

The Stakeholder Analysis for the PDF-B phase of the UNDP/GEF Project “Reducing
Transboundary Degradation of the Kura-Aras River Basin” was designed to develop
an empirical gauge of multiple stakeholder groups concerns, priorities and opinions of
the issues pertaining to transboundary water management and environmental issues in
the south Caucasus. The objective of the stakeholder analysis (SHA) was to identify
stakeholder groups, determine their priorities and interests and incorporate those into
the development of the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) and Preliminary
Strategic Action Programme (SAP). A Stakeholder Advisory Group (SHAG) was
formed to review the TDA findings and to make recommendations on the SAP. This
is the first time that such an involved and extensive SHA has been done for a GEF
International Waters Project, and the experience was educational, illuminating and
informative for project staff, stakeholders and those involved in project design and
development.

The SHA presented here provides an introduction to the SHA, and the SHA
objectives, including an introduction to the components of the SHA: the Qualitative
SHA, the Quantitative SHA, and the Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting. This
covers an introduction to which stakeholders were involved, and how the SHA
informs the TDA development process. The second section provides the objectives of
the SHA, and details the intentions of the specific components and methodologies
employed for those. This is followed by the findings of the SHA presented by the
specific type of analysis.

The Qualitative SHA outlines the findings of the interviews with stakeholders along
the river in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. No interviews were done in Iran. The
analysis from this examines concerns of these groups based on country level groups,
and provides an overview of the transboundary concerns. The Quantitative SHA
provides a more in-depth analysis of the findings of the surveys broken down by 34
individual stakeholder groups across the region. This also provides analysis by
specific transboundary issue. The findings of the Stakeholder Advisory Group
meeting are presented based on extended discussions with select stakeholders from
throughout the region on the specific issues addressed in the TDA.

Recommendations based on the findings are summarized in the final section, and have
been incorporated into project design and development for the next phase of the
project, including the Public Participation and Stakeholder Involvement Strategy. The
recommendations focus on improving conditions by increasing targeted stakeholder
education, increasing information access for the public and improving over all
awareness of the challenges of sound stewardship of the river environment throughout
the basin. As this is the first project to employ some of the combined analysis
techniques here, a review of the value of these to the project concludes the summary.
Full reports from each analysis are included in the annexes.




                                          3
                                       Acronyms

CTA                    Chief Technical Advisor
FSP                    Full Sized Project
ISHA                   International Stakeholder Analyst
IWP                    International Waters Project
LSHC                   Local Stakeholder Consultant
NSHC                   National Stakeholder Consultant
PIDPs                  Public Involvement Demonstration Projects
PPSHIS                 Public Participation and Stakeholder Involvement Strategy
SAP                    Strategic Action Programme
SHA                    Stakeholder Analysis
SHAG                   Stakeholder Advisory Group
TDA                    Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis
TTT                    Technical Task Team


                                  Figures and Tables

Figure 1.1 Stakeholder Analysis in the TDA/SAP Development Process                 6

Figure 3.1.1 Qualitative SHA Community Site Visits                                 9

Table 3.2.1 Issues of concern for local stakeholders / river basin residents       12

Table 3.3.1 Stakeholder priority concerns from Quantitative Stakeholder Analysis 17

Figure 3.4.1 Stakeholder Issue Prioritization 2006                                 36


                                  Acknowledgements

The author would like to sincerely thank the project staff for their support with
logistics, insights and perpetual good humor throughout the process, the national and
local stakeholder consultants for their dedication, patience and understanding of their
cultures, and extremely hard work. Also the author would like to thank members of
UNDP/OSCE Environmental Security Initiative, the Eurasia Foundation, and the
Kura Aras NGO Forum for insights.

This full analysis has only been possible due the support of UNDP Bratislava RBEC,
and specifically Mr. Juerg Staudenmann for his perpetual encouragement, Ms. Make
Ochigava and Mr. Teyyub Ismayilov for assistance and creative problem solving
capabilities, and especially Mr. Tim Turner, Project CTA, whose foresight, guidance
and enthusiastic faith the importance of incorporating stakeholders in project
development has motivated this from the start.

Interpretation of these findings is solely the responsibility of the author. Any errors,
omissions or misinterpretation are the responsibility of the author alone. Questions
and comments are always welcome.


                                            4
    1. Introduction

The Kura Aras Stakeholder Analysis was conducted from spring of 2005 through
autumn 2006, and involved inputs from stakeholders from Armenia, Azerbaijan,
Georgia and Iran. The Kura Aras SHA involved three interlinked components which
built upon the findings of the preceding component. These components were a
Qualitative SHA, a Quantitative SHA, and a meeting of the Stakeholder Advisory
Group (SHAG). The SHA was conducted by the International Stakeholder Analyst
(ISHA) in coordination with country offices and nationally recruited National
Stakeholder Consultants (NSHC) and Local Stakeholder Consultants (LSHC).
Together the SHA Team worked to create mechanisms for multi stakeholder input to
the UNDP/GEF Project on Reducing Transboundary Degradation in the Kura Aras
Basin.

The Qualitative SHA involved site visits in Summer 2005 to conduct person to person
interviews with stakeholders most directly impacted by the transboundary water
conditions. This focused on those who do not have an active voice through
organizational or professional affiliations. This involved interviewing stakeholders
throughout the river basin in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia1. The findings of the
this analysis served as an initial input for the UNDP/GEF Project Technical Task
Team (TTT) charged with identifying the specific priority transboundary issues to be
addressed by the project. This also served as a basis for the development of the survey
for the Quantitative SHA.

The second component of the analysis is the Quantitative SHA which involved
development and administration of a formal based survey conducted in Armenia,
Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Iran2 in early to mid 2006. This survey involved asking 512
stakeholders throughout the region a set of 40 close answered questions. Responses
were entered into a database and analyzed for trends within and across groups. The
Quantitative SHA included representatives of the following groups and organizations:
Water, Hydro-meteorological Department; Natural Resources, Ecology or
Environmental Ministry; Industry Ministry; Energy Ministry; Economic Ministry;
Foreign Affairs Ministry; Defence Ministry; Agriculture Ministry; Forestry Ministry;
Fisheries Ministry; Social Welfare / Public Health Ministry; Labour Ministry; Mining
industry; Transportation Ministries; Parliamentary committees for environmental
protection; National NGO; Scientists; Heavy industry; Light industry; Agro-industry;
Regional government official; District water management official; Municipal
Government; Nature preserve staff; Community based organization; Educator/teacher;
Student; Farmer; Public health care provider; Member of community near the river;
Tourism/Recreation industry; Press and media; International Funding Institutions;
and, Bilateral development agencies. This Quantitative Analysis was used in the
Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) in addition to the findings of the
Qualitative SHA.

The third component of the SHA was creating a Stakeholder Advisory Group (SHAG)
to get extensive input from informed stakeholders on the draft TDA and early
1
 Due to unforeseen difficulties, it was not possible to conduct the Qualitative SHA in Iran.
2
 Due to unforeseen difficulties in project implementation it was not possible to complete the
anticipated number of surveys in Azerbaijan and Iran.


                                                   5
development of the Strategic Action Programme (SAP). A group of 12 Stakeholders
met for 3 days in November 2006 to review the TDA after an in depth briefing on the
UNDP/GEF Project and earlier work of the SHA Team. The SHAG Team members
included: NGO representatives, a public health care provider, a community organizer,
a municipal water manager, an agricultural input association representative, a farming
technology expert, a rural sociologist, and an environmental journalist. Most lived in
communities close to the Kura or Aras rivers. The members of the group were
selected based on a broad spectrum of specialization, their understanding of
transboundary water issues, and various interests while maintaining an equal balance
of regional nationalities. They provided input, via comments on content, and made
substantial recommendations for the project development. Their input has been
incorporated into subsequent drafts of the TDA, and will be incorporated into the Full
Sized Project (FSP) and other component projects.

The findings of the SHA have also been incorporated into the Public Participation and
Stakeholder Involvement Strategy (PPSHIS), and the development of two NGO
initiated Public Involvement Demonstration Projects (PIDPs) for implementation in
the FSP. Figure 1.1 displays the process and relationship of the stakeholder work to
the project development. The SAP is currently under review and will be fully
developed within the next phase of the project.

     Figure 1.1 Stakeholder Analysis in the TDA/SAP Development Process


                     Qualitative
                       SHA
                                                         Technical Task
                                                             Team


                     Quantitative
                        SHA                               Transboundary
                                                            Diagnostic
                                                             Analysis



                     Stakeholder                          Strategic Action
                      Advisory                            Programme for
                        Group                            Full Sized Project




For each of the components of the SHA, individual reports were produced and are in
contained in the annex of this report. This full SHA report will review the overall and
component specific objectives, provide a methodological overview for the SHA,
summarize the major findings of each component, and make recommendations
regarding the use of SHA in the Kura Aras Basin, as well as other transboundary
water projects in the future.


                                          6
       2. Stakeholder Analysis Components and Methodology

The overall purpose of the Kura Aras Stakeholder Analysis (SHA) is to identify the
major stakeholder groups affected by and impacting the conditions in the Kura Aras
basin ecosystem, and to empirically gauge the perceptions of stakeholder groups so
that their concerns, perceptions and priorities can be incorporated into the project
development.

The SHA consisted of a three part methodological approach to for conducting the
analysis. The first was the more interactive methodology of the Qualitative SHA
including interview sites and questions. The third was the development of the
Quantitative SHA relying on formalized surveys and statistical analysis. The fourth
was the development of the SHAG and approach to SHAG Team management. An
overview of these methodologies presented below may be supplemented by the
component specific reports in the annexes.


The Qualitative SHA is to: interview underrepresented groups in order to identify
priority concerns for the TTT; provide the analyst with a first hand account of socio-
economic conditions along the river basin; to inform the development of a
quantitative survey instrument; and, to identify stakeholders to serve as members of
the stakeholder advisory group for the TDA/SAP process.

This analysis was conducted in the summer of 2005, and relied on the support of
national and local stakeholder consultants. The ISHA with either the NSHC or LSHC
selected communities along the river to visit. The visits involved going to
communities and meeting with people there in shops, cafes and other venues. The
interviews lasted from 15 minutes to 90 minutes and involved a series of open ended
questions asking stakeholders what their concerns about water issues are, and asked
their perceptions about water management and environmental concerns. All responses
were recorded, compiled and reviewed for trends within and across groups and
countries.

The Quantitative Stakeholder Analysis provides a standardized cross regional survey
with close ended questions in order to directly attain the opinions of the residents
throughout the river basin about water quality and quantity issues, ascertains
stakeholder group perceptions of water management challenges, and identifies the
region wide concerns to be addressed and incorporated into the TDA/SAP process.

The Quantitative SHA was based on a survey was designed to be administered to a
broad array of stakeholders throughout the region. Surveys were translated into local
languages and were administered by local and national level stakeholder consultants
throughout the river basin in areas selected with the ISHA. This survey was conducted
in all four South Caucasus countries among 36 different stakeholder groups. It was
administered between December 2005 and January of 2006 in Armenia and Georgia.
In Azerbaijan the survey was administered in June 2006, and in Iran it was conducted
in July 2006 A total of 512 surveys were collected and statistically analyzed for trends
among and between groups. There were 174 surveys collected throughout Armenia,
65 in southern Azerbaijan between the Aras River and the Kura River, 180 from


                                           7
throughout Georgia3, and 77 from stakeholders in Tabriz, Iran. The discrepancies in
dates and number of surveys collected was unfortunate, as ideally all surveys should
be conducted at the same time throughout the region with equal numbers from all
participating countries. However circumstances beyond the control of the project
prevented this harmonization of survey administration. As such the impact on the
results has been noted throughout the study.

The SHAG meeting introduced the members of the SHAG to the UNDP/GEF Project
in the Kura Aras River Basin, and to request their assistance in reviewing the TDA
and the outlined preliminary SAP, including the PIDPs and PPSHIS. The official
objective of the meeting was: To obtain feedback on project activities and
development from stakeholders in the region who are impacted by conditions, aware
of issues and representative of their stakeholder group.

The SHAG team was established during the scope of the stakeholder analysis – during
the qualitative interview section, and in collaboration with the NSHCs. In the case of
Iran, where no qualitative analysis was conducted, the Iranian NSHC worked closely
with the ISHA to recruit Iranian SHAG members. In order to assure equally
representative contingent from all countries, a small group that would encourage cross
country dialogue and open regional discussion was recruited. The size of the group
was also limited by budget constraints, however, the 12 member SHAG proved to be
an ideal size for discussions, and for break out groups that emphasized sharing
common concerns. There were 3 representatives from each country, including one
NSHC from each country.

The SHA inputs to the TDA/SAP process was more advanced than any other GEF
International Waters Project (IWP), and may serve as a model for future work within
GEF IWPs and within the Kura Aras Basin. Findings from the SHA components were
well received by the project staff, TTT and throughout the region, and have created a
baseline analysis against which future analyses can gauge project progress.

It is hoped that continued inputs of the SHAG, and subsequent full scale SHA may be
performed in the Kura Aras Basin to fill the gaps in the initial SHA, to build upon the
positive progress made thus far, and to further increase the strong sense of ownership
the project has imbued to those involved. Additional benefits, such as increase in local
capacity, increased public awareness of the project, and substantial buy-in from the
SHAG Team were unanticipated, yet realized as a result of this project.

The component outputs of the full SHA are:
    Qualitative Stakeholder Analysis (ANNEX 1)
    Quantitative Stakeholder Analysis Survey (ANNEX 2)
    Inputs into the TDA based on the Qualitative and Quantitative Survey Results
      (ANNEX 3)
    Stakeholder Advisory Group Report (ANNEX 4)
    Public Participation and Stakeholder Involvement Strategy Draft for the Kura
      Aras FSP (ANNEX 5)


3
  Due to unfortunate data collection problems, surveys from rural Georgia were not reliable for use in
the analysis. This is noted within the analysis as appropriate.


                                                   8
       3. SHA FINDINGS

Each component of the SHA has resulted in a series of findings used to support the
project. These will be presented here as they pertain to the over all SHA based on the
source of analysis. Additional details for the Qualitative SHA and SHAG Meeting are
presented in the respective annexes of this report. The findings of the Quantitative
SHA are expanded here, due to the need for brevity within the TDA.

        3.1 Qualitative SHA Findings by Country
The analysis for findings for communities along the river basin have been separated
by nationality because of the different teams working on these sets of interviews with
the ISHA. In cases where there are geographic variation impacting responses within
countries this division is noted. The responses here are summaries of interviews and
based solely on the perceptions of the respondents. Issues of misinformation or a lack
of understanding of ecological and hydrological processes suggest that there is a need
address misconceptions these within the educational component of the public
involvement strategy. Figure 3.1.1 illustrates the locations of the communities visited
for the Qualitative SHA.

Figure 3.1.1 Qualitative SHA Community Site Visits




3.1.1 Azerbaijan
The situation in river communities among Azerbaijan is felt to be dire as water
dependence is stressed by seasonal shifts. The primary concern is the lack of potable


                                          9
water. Government statistics suggest that up to 70% of the population rely on rivers
for drinking water. The perceived lack of sewage treatment is significant and the lack
of clean waters for irrigation though the use of the river and flood plains for waste
disposal is common. In addition to the loss of life and property due to floods the
challenges created by seasonal flooding include salinization of soils, bogging of
fields, and stagnant surface water which leads to infestation of mosquitoes, some of
which carry malaria. Stakeholders felt that this results in serious public health
problems, and creates of cycle of illnesses from poor quality drinking water, skin
infections from contact with water and malaria.
.
Stakeholders voiced significant concern in Azerbaijan about pollution from upstream
sources. This includes agricultural pollution and salinized water, in addition to
concern about the pollution from industrial centers and metal ore mining upstream
across borders. Over all the concerns of community level stakeholders were most
frequently voiced in regards to a power plant discharging water into the river near Ali
Bayrami and downstream from the aluminum processing plant near Mighchevar, and
Ganja. The transboundary concerns about pollution were significant but mainly
downstream from industrial centers such as Rustavi in Georgia.

Overall, a majority of respondents said that more information about water
management was needed by the local people. They felt that there was a lack of
reliable educational materials about environment and water issues and were eager to
have access to these. They also felt that the municipal governments needed support in
developing solutions to the water problems. Respondents seem unwilling to blame the
government for the conditions, though they felt that intervention and support from
international organizations would be the most expedient way to improve conditions.

3.1.2 Georgia
Interviews throughout Georgia revealed similar trends to those in Azerbaijan. A lack
of reliable water flow for households and irrigation was the primary concern among
stakeholders in Georgia This is due declining infrastructure at the district and local
level. This was believed to be due to a lack of municipal government attention to
water management, due to lack of funding. This included a lack of electricity to pump
water to homes on a reliable basis. Water was often treated with chlorine by end
users. Two of the reasons stakeholders sited for the need to treat household water
supplies is the problem of dilapidated infrastructure and crossed pipes carry water to
and sewage from communities and apartment flats, and the lack of upstream
municipal waste treatment and filtration.

In many the communities there was a high level of concern about the condition of the
water used for irrigation due to dumping of untreated mining, municipal and industrial
wastes into the river. The stakeholders in these communities spoke of problems with
children‟s health, low live birth rates/high infant mortality rates, and other health
problems that resulted from the chemicals in the water from the mining industries
above Kazreti. Also, there were concerns about the wine making industry dumping
acids into the river in the Telavi region.

Stakeholders in Georgia also voiced concern over rains and high melt rates from
mountains resulting in increased flooding and several communities suggested that this
had caused serious problems with water supplies, clean water or health problems


                                          10
related to water use. In several cases, respondents noted that standing pools of water
were stagnant and created health problems. In one case in the low lands of the Alazani
river basin, malaria was reported to have infected 30% of the community, though
treatment had been provided by the government.

3.1.3 Armenia
In communities throughout Armenia the water supply to the whole community was
generally perceived to be more reliable than that in Georgia and Azerbaijan, though
the often stakeholders commented that they were not able to drink the water that come
into their home and instead preferred to carry water from public sinks within the
community. The water they drink in the mountainous regions comes from springs via
pipe systems installed during the Soviet era. These pipes are now showing signs of
wear and can be damaged by extreme temperatures. Stakeholders were concerned that
the sources are frequently not protected from grazing animals defecating near these
sources. In most communities people spoke of problems with kidneys and throat
ailments as a result of drinking the local water. There was the belief that the water
contained excessive amounts of potassium in some cases and was the causes of these
illnesses.

In the communities within the Ararat plain, on the border with Turkey, several
communities had access to artesian wells, however did not trust this water for
drinking because it flowed through neighboring communities before their own, so
they drank river water instead. They realized that this river water, which is just down
stream from Yerevan frequently made them ill, but they felt it was a better alternative
than the artesian water, which they thought to be polluted by neighboring
communities. In other cases, the respondents spoke of the artesian water and the river
water both being salty, and leaving residues on glasses and plants when used for
irrigation.

While the general consensus among stakeholders was that the water supply in the
mountainous regions was relatively good, there were concerns about outdated
infrastructure and in some cases a lack of water to the communities at all. In border
areas this was seen to be the sentiment that there was not adequate investment of
resources for improving conditions in these locations.

Most stakeholders in communities in Armenia widely acknowledged that all wastes
are dumped into the river to be carried downstream. Generally, except in some urban
areas, it was believed that no treatment was done to the wastes, and in urban areas the
wastes were mechanically treated, with solids being separated from the other wastes
before being dumped in the river waters. When respondents were asked if they had
concerns about people using the water down stream they were certain that all water
drawn from the river for human use would be appropriately treated. Within major
urban areas of Armenia, there are investments in improving water quality, funded by
international donors and conducted by European firms, however

In several cases there was a concern among stakeholders that there was an over all
lack of sanitation in the water and that water needed to be treated with “chlor” though
it was not always feasible to do this. There was also some concern that water pipes
and sewerage pipes may be crossing and contaminating water.



                                          11
     In the Ararat plain there were several accounts of health problems from water use,
     including kidney problems from the minerals in the water, and malaria as a result of
     the standing pools of water. Also people throughout the country complained that there
     were problems with their throats and necks as a result of drinking the water from the
     pipes, though it has not been possible to ascertain the specific cause of this illness.

     It should be noted that in the border region with Iran, there was a good deal of support
     among local stakeholders for the pending damming of the Aras (tributaries) for hydro
     electric power. It was not known exactly how this would occur, or if there would be
     significant flooding problems, however the sense was that the economic benefits from
     the construction of the dam would be a much needed boost to the local communities.


             3.2 Transboundary Implications of the Qualitative SHA
     The Qualitative SHA findings suggest that there are far more similarities among
     stakeholders than differences. These similarities should be highlighted to the extent
     possible. This analysis suggests that while there are other larger issues at stake, at the
     local level, the perceptions of these problems are more local than regional or national.
     These problems are mainly local and common problems rather than transboundary
     problems, however they share these concerns and in some cases the compounded
     problems become transboundary. These issues are analyzed following the analysis of
     priority regional concerns.

     Table 3.2.1
      Issues of concern for local stakeholders / river basin
                                                                       Armenia      Azerbaijan Georgia   Overall
                             residents
Lack of potable water sources and related health problems
(lack of potable water sources and agro or industrial pollution)
Lack of sewage treatment/ municipal waste management
(municipal waste dumping/ untreated sewage)
Lack of clean water for irrigation inc. lack of non-saline water
(agro or industrial pollution and unmet irrigation needs)
Flooding and associated problems
(soil salinization)
Malaria from standing water
(water impacts on public health)
Infrastructure decline (unmet irrigation needs, lack of access to
water for domestic use, lack of potable water sources)
Irregular water supply to households
(lack of access to water for domestic use)
 Key:           Red = high level concern, Yellow = medium level concern, teyyubismayilov@yahoo.com
                (in parentheses – comparable issues from literature review analysis)

     The regional stakeholder priority concerns are compiled in Table 3.1. This table
     provides a graphic summary of the levels of concern for the various problems
     identified through the Qualitative stakeholder analysis and literature review. The
     terminology and classification of problems overlap a small amount through the
     perceptions of the stakeholders and have been addressed as such. The top concern
     across the region was the lack of potable water sources. The perception is that the
     water is not clean, due to sewage dumping, and industrial wastes, though often this
     was not specifically articulated. The second most prevalent regional concern was
     infrastructure decline which results in a lack of access to water for domestic use and
     unmet irrigation needs, and also lack of potable water sources). The third and fourth


                                                     12
most frequently articulated concern was the lack of clean, non-saline water for
irrigation and irregular water supply to households, again closely linked to the decline
of infrastructure. The lowest priority articulated issues were the lack of sewage
treatment and municipal waste management for local communities. There is
awareness about this issue throughout the region; however they were not the first that
stakeholders mentioned when asked what their priority concerns were. They
frequently would say this was a problem, and agreed that something needed to be
done to improve conditions. Additionally, it is the primary reason they did not want to
drink or bathe in the water downstream from their community.

Of concerns voiced by stakeholders throughout the region, malaria as a result of
standing water was mentioned by stakeholders in all countries, but not in all regions.
This concern was prevalent in areas where the land was flatter and more prone to
flooding. The malaria was not as pernicious as that in Sub Saharan Africa, though in
communities where it occurred, respondents said that up to 40% of the population was
infected.

These common concerns are more fully explored below as part of points of analysis
that can be drawn from the qualitative analysis findings.

Stakeholders at the local level are very concerned about drinking water, both in
terms of the quality and quantity available - This very immediate concern was
voiced by almost all respondents within the first moments of the interviews. These
concerns are linked directly to human health issues and the high level of awareness
suggests that this should be addressed as a top priority issue for this project. The
concern about drinking water quality in general was higher in Azerbaijan; however
generally the concern about quantity was higher in areas where water flow was less
regular due to the need for electricity for pumping water and infrastructural issues as
in Georgia and Armenia. Respondents throughout were concerned that they were
having health problems as a result of drinking water, from throat problems, to kidney
problems, to a large number of gastrointestinal problems. There was some mention of
the presence of metals in the water, though over all this concern was less frequently
articulated, except immediately down stream from major industrial or mining centers
where drinking water was drawn from the rivers. The types of illnesses experienced
in these cases were not identified, though there was awareness that this had an impact.
Over all the impacts of water borne illness on human health were well understood by
stakeholders.

Lack of sewage treatment and municipal waste management were common
concerns - The concern about health impacts from improper waste management are
closely linked to the availability of potable water. In cases throughout the river basin,
untreated or only mechanically treated (filtered) wastes were dumped into the river as
a means of disposal. Within rural and farming communities, it was common to see
barn wastes, including manure and sludge from outhouses dumped into the river
banks to be swept away by the river. At almost ever river bed surveyed near towns or
agricultural communities this was the case throughout the entire river basin. Also,
below large towns, and soviet style apartment block villages it was believed that
wastes were directly dumped into the nearby rivers, as a result of degraded
infrastructure and outdated planning. Historically there were soakaways or septic
tanks but it is believed that these have fallen into disrepair. Most of the waste water


                                           13
treatment works constructed during the Soviet era are no longer working either due to
damaged collector systems or the cost of power to maintain them. Though not tested
at this point the impact of this waste on water quality is expected to be high and
potentially problematic for downstream communities.

Lack of infrastructure for water – The lack of repairs and maintenance to water
systems for both household and community use and agriculture is significant.
Discussion regarding who bears the primary responsible for some of the water
infrastructure problems varied from country to country. The over all decline in the
sewerage systems, drinking water pipes, irrigation systems and other infrastructure
pertaining to water management had generally not been repaired for more than 20
years, and in some cases more than half a century. This lack of repair has created
problems of water being wasted, drinking water and sewerage pipes being crossed and
over all decline in living conditions for the residents of the river basins. Though this
in and of itself is not a transboundary water problem, it contributes significantly to the
quality of life of residents and has secondary impacts on transboundary issues. It
should be noted that during the Soviet era, there was no charge to water users, and the
expectation of state support for this support continues, though strained state budgets
often to not filter down to maintaining municipal water systems.

Lack of water quality and quantity for irrigation – This concern was voiced through
out the region, especially by those directly dependent on irrigation for crops, those in
secondary support industries and public healthcare providers. The perception was that
even when household water resources were being met, generally there was a lack of
attention to the quality of water used for irrigation when it was available. People often
raised the issue of being charged for irrigation water, in part to pay for the power to
pump the water, but also due to the problem of monopolization of irrigation water.
This problem was noted in areas where a well or pump had been “privatized” by an
individual who then was able to charge high rates for use of the water in the
community. In some areas, specifically in the Ararat plain of Armenia and the lower
plains of Azerbaijan, there was also concern about the inundation of salt water in the
irrigation channels and rivers, and the negative impacts this had on crops. The
perception of the community level stakeholders was that the degraded infrastructure
was mainly at fault; though flooding also exacerbated the problem. It should be noted
that none of the stakeholders interviewed felt that their own farming practices were
contributing to this problem.

Stakeholders believed water was cleaner from upstream - Interestingly, repeatedly
people said that the water taken from upstream was cleaner than the water below their
community, and while the water upstream would be safe for use for irrigation, bathing
and possibly drinking, they felt that the water downstream would not be. This
occurred throughout the river basin. Additionally, when asked if they thought the
people below used water for similar purposes, the general response was that they
believed people downstream had treatment facilities available for purify the water
prior to use.

Municipal governments lack capacity to address water issues – when asked who
bore the responsibility for addressing the water quality and quantity issues, by and
large the responses were focused on the municipal or district level governments. The
sentiment seemed to be that the municipal government had the duty to provide water


                                           14
to the community; however, there was also a general belief that the municipal
governments lacked the capacity to do this. Often community members alluded to a
belief the municipal government was given money to address water concerns, but
those in charge elected to invest the money elsewhere, instead of in improved
capacity. Though the municipal government water managers generally disagreed that
they lacked the capacity, they stated repeatedly that they were not being given the
promised resources to enable them to successfully meet the demands. These resources
included laboratory support, new pipes, money for improvements to infrastructure and
such that were due from the district or national governments.

Flooding is seen as a challenge that harms local communities - The over all concern
was much lower than anticipated given the amount of flood damage caused over the
past several years within the region. It may be that more immediate concerns of lack
of potable water have again taken precedence among the stakeholders living under
difficult conditions. The presence of large pools of stagnant water following flooding
events a concern for stakeholders because of the prevalence of malaria in low lying
regions.

NGOs more concerned about institutional mechanisms for influencing policy
decisions rather than priority issues of local stakeholders – The NGO forum hosted
in conjunction with the Eurasia Foundation and the UNDP/GEF Environmental
Governance component of this project focused on increasing civil society
involvement in transboundary water management. During the conference, the NGOs
were asked to list and rank the challenges for water management through out the
region. Curiously, these groups were very highly focused on issues involving
formalizing institutional mechanisms for influencing national policies rather than
dealing specifically with the concerns raised by the stakeholders within the study.
This may be due to their perception that without institutions for public involvement in
the policy making process they will not have a voice. However, it may also be due to
a lack of awareness of public concerns throughout the basin. Because many NGOs
have a vested interest in increasing their influence in the decision making process, it is
possible that they are not aware of the specific concerns of stakeholders focused on in
this study.

Disconnect between NGOs and local stakeholder populations – This is a common
challenge in the civil society movement internationally, yet the important factor is to
determine which NGOs are working with local stakeholder populations and further
foster those relationships through the project, which, ideally, would enable those most
directly impacted by the conditions to be given a direct voice in policies that impact
them.

Information sources from media, local municipalities, and neighbors – When
stakeholders were asked where they obtained information about water issues, the
replies were mainly: media, local municipalities and neighbors. When asked further if
this information was adequate, the response was that the information was not regular
and not especially reliable. This suggests that there is awareness of the need for
additional information and that by enhancing the capacity of media and more
importantly, the municipal governments, the project may be able to help educate local
stakeholders. It should be noted that one representative of the municipal governments



                                           15
remarked that there should not be information released to the public about water
issues until all repairs were done.

The full report of the Qualitative Stakeholder Analysis is in ANNEX 1 and provides
additional details not covered here.


        3.3 Quantitative SHA Finding by Stakeholder Group
The findings of the Qualitative SHA in combination with the discussion and priorities
of the Technical Task Team above contributed to the development of the Stakeholder
Analysis Survey found in ANNEX 2. This survey underwent several drafts before
administration to stakeholders in the basin. The compiled and analyzed findings
provided the following group level information.

It should be noted that across the basin there was very high levels of agreement
among all stakeholder groups that the water in the river is not safe for humans to drink
without prior treatment, and that they would be willing to pay for a reliable supply of
drinking water within their communities. Stakeholders also agreed strongly that
economic development is a high priority concern, and that water upstream and
downstream from their communities is not healthy or safe for human use.

There were divisions among stakeholder groups and within groups. This is noted
where the issue is especially important to a particular stakeholder group. It should also
be noted there is an unfortunate lack of information from the survey due to inability to
complete the survey in Azerbaijan and Iran. Only rural surveys were collected in
Azerbaijan in the Aras basin and lower Kura. For Iran, no surveys were collected
from basin communities. Also due to a significant problem with reliability in data,
surveys from rural areas in Georgia were not included in this analysis.

The survey findings for stakeholder group prioritization of concerns provide an
insightful glimpse of the concerns for stakeholder groups. Table 3.3.1 displays the
prioritization categorized in red for high priority, yellow for medium priority, and
green for low priority. The prioritization was based on ranking within each individual
group.




                                           16
    Table 3.3.1: Stakeholder priority concerns from Quantitative Stakeholder Analysis




                                                            Lack of Potable




                                                                                                                Lack of Sewage


                                                                                                                                 Water to Home




                                                                                                                                                                                        Flooding/ Bank
  Stakeholder Groups Prioritizations of Concerns




                                                                                               Infrastructure
                                                                              Lack of water
                                                                              for irrigation




                                                                                                                                                              Degradation




                                                                                                                                                                                                         Bioresource
                                                                                                                                                 Non ration
                                                                                                                Treatment




                                                                                                                                                              Ecosystem
                                                                                                                                                 Water use




                                                                                                                                                                                                         Decline in
                                                                                                                                 Irregular




                                                                                                                                                                            Pollution
                     High Priority




                                                                                                                                                                                        Erosion
                                                                                               decline
                    Medium Priority




                                                            H2O
                     Low Priority

Survey question number:                                      11                12              13                14              15              16           17            18           19              20
Transboundary Problem Area4:                                 B                 A               A                 B               A               A            C             B            D               C
Priority Level for All Stakeholder Groups5:                  #2                #8              #4                #1              #7              #6           #5            #3           #9              #10
   1. Water, Hydro-meteorological Department
   2. Natural Resources, Ecology/Environmental
  Ministry
   3. Industry Ministry
   4. Energy Ministry
   5. Economic Ministry
   6. Foreign Affairs Ministry
   7. Defence Ministry
   8. Agriculture Ministry
   9. Forestry Ministry
   10. Fisheries Ministry
   11. Social Welfare / Public Health Ministry
   12. Labour Ministry
   13. Mining industry
   14. Transportation Ministries
   15. Parliamentary committees for environmental
  protection
   16. National NGO
   17. Scientists
   18. Heavy industry
   19. Light industry
   20. Agro-industry
   21. Regional government official
   22. District water management official
   23. Municipal Government
   24. Nature preserve staff
   25. Community based organization
   26. Educator/teacher
   27. Student
   28. Farmer
   29. Public health care provider
   30. Member of community near the river
   31. Tourism/Recreation industry
   32. Press and media
   33. International Funding Inst
   34. Bilateral development agency


    4
      Transboundary Problem: A. Variation and reduction of hydrological; B. Deterioration of water
    quality; C. Ecosystem degradation in the river basin; D. Flooding and bank erosion
    5
      Numbers of groups below do not correspond to those in the original survey as two groups – municipal
    waste managers and pastoralists were dropped due to data unreliability


                                                     17
The breakdown by group presented below defines the group, their highest and lowest
priorities and issues of salient concern to the group, based on survey findings.

Water, Hydro-meteorological Department
This group consists of these who are responsible for water management and
hydrological services with in the country. The highest priorities of this group are the
lack of sewage treatment/ municipal waste management and non-rational use of water
(inappropriate and non sustainable water use). The lowest priorities are the lack of
potable drinking water sources and resulting health problems.

They felt that there were threats to the water quality from upstream communities use
and farming chemicals, and that the river water was not safe to drink. Despite these
concerns, they felt that people did not become ill from the water. This may be due to a
lack of ability to improve conditions of the water and desire to avoid potential
culpability.

Natural Resources, Ecology or Environmental Ministry
This group encompasses those who work within the government addressing issues of
natural resources, ecological and environmental preservation. The very highest
priority concern for this group is pollution in the water, followed closely by the lack
of sewage treatment, ecosystem degradation, and infrastructure decline. The lowest
level concern was lack of water for irrigation.

The members of the natural resources ministries also felt that farmers did not have
sufficient water to meet their needs and agricultural chemicals were not safe for the
environment. There was significant division within this group regarding the
responsibility of the government to keep the rivers healthy and the autonomy of
communities along the river with regards to using the river however they wanted to.
Over all there was strong cohesion in the views of this group regarding most issues.

Industry Ministry
This group of stakeholders consists of those who work within the government bodies
charged with over seeing and often supporting the industrial development within the
countries. The highest priority concern for members of this group was the non-
rational use of water, followed closely by deterioration in water quality and
infrastructure decline. The lowest priority concern was increased flooding and bank
erosion.

 The members of this group felt strongly that economic development is the top
priority for the communities in which they live.The members of the industry ministry
stakeholder group worried about the environmental impacts of agro-chemicals and
were in consensus that farmers need more water than they currently have. This group
showed some division with regards to the health of eating fish from the river, if there
is enough water for everyone who needs it and the responsibility of the governments
to keep the river healthy. The division was not geographically based and may have
been from a lack of familiarity with the issues.

Energy Ministry
The Energy Ministry stakeholder group consists of representatives for the institution
overseeing energy policy within the region. The top priority issues for members of


                                          18
this group are the non rational use of water, followed closely by the lack of sewage
treatment and municipal waste management. There was a tendency within the group
to rank most of the priority transboundary issues as very high concern, however, these
stands out. Additional highly prioritized concerns were the decline in infrastructure,
ecosystem degradation and lack of potable drinking water sources and related health
problems. The lowest priority concern was irregular water supply to households.

Within this group there was agreement that communities along the river should not
use the river however they wanted without concern for others; however there was also
a disagreement among groups about whether it is the responsibility of the government
to preserve the health of the river system. The division was not geographically based
and may have been from a lack of familiarity with the issues.

Economic Ministry
The economic ministry is made up of those officials who are charged with the
economic development and implementation of economic policies, often including
financial budget allocations with the countries. The highest priority concern for this
group unanimously was the lack of lack of sewage treatment/ municipal waste
management. Other high priority concerns were the deterioration in water quality,
infrastructure decline and non-rational use of water. It may be surmised that these
reflect on perceived challenges to economic development within the countries.
Alternately, the lowest priority was the decline in biological resources within the
region.

The economic ministry stakeholder group agreed strongly the economic development
is a top priority concern. They also felt strongly that they should pay to support
reliable drinking water in their communities. There was division within the group
regarding the responsibility of the government to keep the rivers healthy, and division
regarding adequate supply of water for everyone who needs it. Over all, there was
strong cohesion across opinions and perceptions within this group.

Foreign Affairs Ministry
Members of the Foreign Affairs Ministry stakeholder group are those who are
involved in the decision making processes involving formal agreements between
governments, including negotiation of international treaties. The highest priorities for
members of this group were the decline in infrastructure, lack of sewage treatment/
municipal waste management, and deterioration in water quality (e.g. pollution). Lack
of potable water was also a high level concern. The issues of a lack of water for
irrigation and the increased flooding and bank erosion were of lowest concern.

The members of the Foreign Affairs Ministry felt voiced concern over the quality of
irrigation water, and expressed concern about what is in the water. They recognized
there is a need for more irrigation water and a need for improved sanitation as well.
Members of this group also noted that water both up and down stream is not healthy.
They were not in strong agreement or strong disagreement regarding the
responsibility of the government to keep the rivers healthy though there was cohesion
within the group.

Defense Ministry



                                          19
The defense ministry stakeholder group consists of those who are responsible for
protection of the sovereignty of the country and are made up soldiers, border guards,
in some cases, and others who hold state sanctioned use of force. The priority issues
for this group are potable drinking water and access to potable water supply to
households. The lowest priority concern was increase in flooding and bank erosion.

This group felt strongly that the water in communities near the river is not safe to
drink, and that there is a lack of adequate sewage treatment. Also of concern is water
quality from pollution. They felt that the water upstream and downstream was not safe
for communities to use. They also felt strongly that it is the responsibility of the
government to keep the rivers healthy. As these stakeholders are often in communities
located near rivers, this concern may reflect observations that they make on a result
basis.

Agriculture Ministry
The agricultural ministry is the stakeholder group with responsibility for agricultural
production, support of farmers, and information dissemination to the farming
communities. The highest priority concern for this group was lack of sewage
treatment and municipal wastes management. The lowest concern was irregular water
supplies to households. The issue of non-rational water use was a low to medium
level concern among the group.

The members of this group felt that more information is needed about ecological
conditions and that government has the responsibility to preserve the health of the
rivers. They did feel that eating fish from the rivers would be healthy for stakeholders.

It is especially interesting to note that this group disagreed strongly with the statement
“use of farming chemicals is safe for rivers and the environment”, and agreed strongly
that “farmers need more water than they currently have”. There were low levels of
division across this group. This suggests that these groups are aware of the problems
with agro chemical application rates and low water availability for farmers, however
they also felt that economic development was more important than other concerns.

Forestry Ministry
The members of the forestry ministry stakeholder group are those who are responsible
for the sustainable use of forestry, including timber cutting, forestry management and
replanting efforts, where these exist. They are either independent ministries or within
others, such as agriculture or natural resources. The highest priority issues for this
group were the lack of water for irrigation, and decline in infrastructure. Other issues
that were listed as high priority concerns include lack of potable water, lack of sewage
treatment, ecosystem degradation, and deterioration in water quality. The lowest
priority issue was the decline in bioresources (e.g. fisheries).

The members of this stakeholder group felt strongly that more information about how
to keep the river healthy is needed, and they expressed a high level of concern about
what is in the river water. They also felt strongly that agro chemicals were not good
for the rivers and the environment. They did not feel that the water down stream was
safe to use nor did they feed that water from upstream was safe either. This suggests
that this groups which is charged with working in areas which are forested are aware



                                           20
of problems with the health of the river and would be open to learning how to
improve conditions.

Social Welfare / Public Health Ministry
The members of this stakeholder group are those government official responsible for
public welfare and public health issues. This may be under other ministries or within
their own unique ministry. The members of this group overwhelmingly ranked lack of
potable drinking water sources and related health problems and the deterioration of
water quality as the very highest level concerns. Lack of sewage treatment and
irregular water supplies to households were also high level concerns. The lowest
priority concerns were the decline in bio-resources and increased flooding and bank
erosion.

This group felt that more information about how to keep the environment of the river
healthy. They voiced strong concern about the safety of drinking water near the rivers,
and generally agreed that water should be boiled before it is safe to drink. They
voiced concern about impact of agrochemicals and were very worried about what is in
the river water in general. There was division in the group regarding skin problems
resulting from water, though few reported the presence of malaria. This result may be
because of the lack of data from Azerbaijan where these issues are anecdotally
reported. Additionally, in response to the statement “people in river communities have
been ill from water related causes”, in both Armenia and Georgia, members of this
group agreed strongly, while those from Iran strongly disagreed. Information from
Azerbaijan was not available, though responses for public health care providers below
also addresses this.

There was a strong feeling of support regarding government responsibility for water
conditions, and the feeling that upstream and downstream users should cooperate and
not use the water in any way they pleased. This suggests an awareness of the issues,
but without sectoral coordination a lack of ability to address these issues effectively at
the source of the problem, rather than treating the impacts.

Labour Ministry
This stakeholder group oversees labor and employment concerns on behalf of the
government. The highest priority concern was the lack of potable water, followed by
lack of water for irrigation and lack of sewage treatment. The lowest priority concerns
were non-rational use of water, and deterioration of water quality. The number of
respondents from this group was low and therefore may not fully reflect the concerns
of the broader stakeholder group.

The finding for this group suggest that they were very concerned about health
problems from the water, including skin problems from contact with water, and
illnesses caused by water sources in river communities. They also were dubious about
how healthy the river water is for irrigation use. Again, because of the low number of
respondents, this should be viewed as only partially complete information from this
group.


Mining industry



                                           21
This stakeholder group represents those who are involved in the mining of minerals
and other resources. The representation of this group in the survey population is low
and not sufficiently diverse to draw conclusive results. Based on the available
respondents, the hightest propriety concern was the non-rational use of water, and
ecosystem degradation in the river basin. The lowest priority concerns were the lack
of potable drinking water to households and decline in infrastructure.

This group did state that they worried about what was in the river water, and that the
water in communities near the river would not be safe to drink. They also felt that
most of their information about conditions of the river came from television. The
other concerns were the need for more information on how to keep the river system
healthy. There was a division within the respondents from this group about the
responsibility of the government to keep the river healthy. The more notable aspect of
this group was the relatively low level of commitment to either agreement or
disagreement among the respondents, which may be a factor of their commercial
interest and sensitivity to their industry being targeted as responsible for degrading
conditions.

Transportation Ministries
The members of the transportation ministry are those government officials responsible
for maintaining transportation infrastructure. The low recruitment of stakeholders
from this group may lead to skewed data for the larger population and should not be
considered representative of the larger stakeholder group. The highest priority
concern is the lack of water for irrigation. Also the irregular water support to
households and the deterioration of water quality were high level concerns. The
lowest priority concern was the increased flooding and bank erosion. The low
prioritization of this is perplexing as it would be anticipated that flooding would
create significant challenges for this group.

The survey respondents from this group did state that they feel it is the government‟s
responsibility to keep the rivers healthy, and that more information is needed about
how to do this. This would indicate that more intersectoral coordination would be
beneficial for this group. The members of this group also felt that the upstream and
downstream water conditions are not favorable for human use and that communities
should coordinate water use strategies.

Parliamentary committees for environmental protection
The members of this stakeholder group represent members of legislative bodies
charged with over site of environmental protection issues. All survey respondents
from this group are either from Georgia or Armenia, and should be interpreted as
such. The highest propriety concern for this group was the lack of sewage treatment
and municipal waste management, followed closely by the deterioration of water
quality. The decline in bioresources was also a high level priority for this group. The
lowest priority concerns were the lack of potable water sources and lack of irrigation
for water. The ranking of priorities here may reflect the geographical context of these
particular respondents, as well as their level of expertise in ecological issues.

The respondents from this group did feel very strongly that it is the responsibility of
the government to keep the rivers healthy, and they did express concern about what is
in the rivers. They felt that water downstream from their community was not healthy,


                                          22
and that use of farming chemicals was not safe for the environment. There was
division within this group regarding the right of each community along the river to
use the river in any way they want to, with those from Armenia disagreeing strongly,
while those from Georgia in agreement.

National NGO
This stakeholder group consists of Non Governmental Organization from the region
who work on a largely national context. The highest priority concern for this group is
the lack of potable water sources and related health problems, the deterioration of
water quality, and nonrational use of water. The lowest priority concern for the NGOs
is a decline in bioresources and increased flooding and bank erosion.

The members of this group worried about what is in the river water, and felt that
people should boil water before they drink it. They also felt that farming chemicals
were not same for the river and the environment. Among this group there was division
about safety of river water for irrigation. The NGOs expressed concern about
upstream users and downstream users and the need to coordinate uses among them.
There was also a tendency to aggress that more information about how to keep the
river healthy is needed, but no clear agreement regarding the responsibility of the

Scientists
The members of this stakeholder group represent those who do scientific analysis in
the region, either in the academic, government, or business sectors. The highest
priority concern is the lack of sewage treatment and municipal waste management.
Ecosystem degradation in the river basin and deterioration of water quality, as well as
non rational use of water and infrastructure decline were also high level concerns. The
decline in bio resources was the lowest priority concern for scientists.

Stakeholders from this group felt that there are not many fish in the river, and that
eating fish from the river was not healthy. The also felt that farming chemicals
harmed the river and environment, though farmers need more water than they
currently have. The scientists feel that more information is needed about how to keep
the river healthy.

Heavy industry
The heavy industry stakeholder group represents those in industry that manufacture
large items in a sizeable factory. The highest priority issue for this group is the lack of
potable drinking water sources and related health problems. The lowest level concern
was the lack of sewage treatment and municipal waste management.

While this group raised concerns about pollution levels they also agreed that they
worry about what is in the river and that more information is needed about how to
keep the rivers healthy. There was division within the group about the responsibility
of the government to keep the rivers clean, with Georgian respondents agreeing less
strongly with this and other members of this group agreeing more strongly.

Light industry
Members of the light industry stakeholder group are those involved in manufacturing
of small household items, electronics and textiles. The highest priority issue is lack of



                                            23
potable drinking water sources and related health problems, and deterioration in water
quality. The lowest priority concern was the decline in bioresources.

Within this group there was a disagreement that people in communities near the river
have been ill from water related causes. They did feel that the responsibility of the
government to keep the rivers healthy. They also felt that more information is needed
on how to keep the rivers healthy. Within the group there was division regarding the
health impacts of eating fish from the river, with those in Georgia feeling that this was
safe, while those in other countries not agreeing. There was consensus within the
group that water both upstream and downstream is not safe for human use.

Agro-industry
The agro-industry stakeholder group consists of those who provide support to farmers
and the farming communities, including machinery, agro chemicals and marketing of
agricultural products. The highest priority concern is the decline infrastructure, with
lack of potable water sources and related health problems also a high level concern.
The lowest priority concerns were lack of water for irrigation, and non-rational use of
water. There was significant division among this group regarding the issue of
deterioration in water quality with upstream countries ranking it as a low level
concern, and downstream countries ranking it as a high level concern.

This group felt that eating fish from the river is healthy and that the government bears
the responsibility for keeping the rivers healthy. This group did not feel a sense of
worry about what is in the river water, and felt that they need more information about
how to keep the water healthy.

Specific to the activities of this group there was strong agreement that water taken
from the river is safe for irrigation issues. They also felt that there was enough water
for everyone that needs it, and mildly agreed that farmers need more water than they
currently have. They also disagreed that the use of farming chemicals is safe for the
environment. This group agreed strongly that more information is needed about how
to keep the river healthy.

Regional government official
The members of this stakeholder group are those who have authority at the regional
level to implement state authorized policies. The top priority issue for this group is
lack of access to potable drinking water sources and related health problems. Also the
deterioration of water quality is a high priority issue for this group, as is the lack of
sewage treatment and municipal waste management. The lowest priority concern is
the decline in bioresources.

The members of this stakeholder group felt that eating fish from the river is healthy,
and that water taken from the water is healthy for irrigation uses disagreed that the
water in communities near the river is safe to drink. There was strong division within
the group regarding the impacts of water on public health. In response to the
statement “people in river communities have been ill from water related causes”, the
respondents from Armenia were divided internally, and all in Iran and Azerbaijan
were in strong agreement. Alternatively, in response to questions about the presence
of malaria and skin problems from water, those in downstream countries reported
strong agreement, where as those up stream did not. This was the same trend


                                           24
throughout the region and within countries for communities upstream and down
stream with regards for the need to boil water in order for it to be safe.

There was very strong agreement that it is the responsibility of the government to
keep the rivers healthy, and more information is needed about how to keep the rivers
healthy.

District water management officials
This stakeholder group consists of those officials responsible for water management
at the district level, rather than the national level. The highest priority concern was the
lack of sewage treatment and municipal waste treatment. There is also high level
concern about the decline of infrastructure. The lowest level concerns were the lack of
water for irrigation and ecosystem degradation in the river basin. The issue of lack of
potable water sources was highly divisive with upstream communities and those with
significant water treatment being lower level concern, and within all countries, those
in downstream communities listing this as a higher level concern.

The members of this group felt strongly that eating fish from the river is healthy. They
disagreed that people had skin problems from contact with the water from the river, or
that people in communities have been ill from water related causes. There was
division within the upstream and downstream communities regarding the need to boil
water before consuming it. There was tepid agreement on the safety of using river was
for irrigation. The responses of this group may indicate both geographical variation,
as well as a sense of deflecting blame for potentially dubious problems which may fall
within their responsibility.

Municipal Government
The members of the municipal government stakeholder group are those who are
locally elected or appointed officials who provide support at the municipal level to
communities. The top priority issue for this group was the lack of potable drinking
water sources and related health problems. They were also concerns about lack of
sewage treatment and municipal waste management, and infrastructure decline. The
lowest priority concern was increased flooding and bank erosion.

The members of this stakeholder group agreed very strongly that eating fish from the
river is healthy. They also felt strongly that it is the responsibility of the government
to keep the rivers healthy. Alternatively, there was strong disagreement that each
community along the river should used the water any way they wanted to. They felt
strongly that the water in communities near the river is not safe to drink. Test
agreement from this group indicated a willingness to pay to support a reliable supply
of drinking water within their specific communities.

Nature preserve staff
The members of this group are those who are charged with over site of parks and
nature preserves within the region. The top priority issue for this group was the lack
of sewage treatment and municipal waste management. Also of high levels of concern
was the lack of potable drinking water sources and related health problems, non-
rational use of water, and deterioration of water quality. The lowest priority concern
was the lack of water for irrigation.



                                            25
The members of this group disagreed strongly with the statement that there are many
fish in the river. They also expressed concern about what is in the river and felt that
government has the responsibility to keep the river healthy.

Community based organization
The members of this group represent stakeholders who are involved in community
based organization. The respondents for this survey represent only those in Armenia,
as other responses had to be discounted due to collection errors. The highest priorities
for this group were the lack of sewage treatment and municipal waste management,
and infrastructure decline. The lowest priority concern is the decline in bioresources. .

This group felt that the water taken from the river is healthy for irrigation uses, and
that eating fish from the river is healthy. Also this group felt that it was not necessary
to boil water before drinking it. They also stated that people in river communities has
not been ill from water related causes. They felt strongly that it is the responsibility of
the government to keep the rivers healthy. It should be noted that the respondents
from this group are from communities that are mainly upstream rather than lower in
the basin which may explain some the discrepancies here compared with other
groups.

Educator/teacher
The members of this stakeholder group are representatives of the educational sector
who are in regular contact with students. The highest priority issue for this group was
the lack of potable drinking water sources and related health problems. Also of high
importance was the deterioration in water quality. The lowest priority concerns was
the lack of water for irrigation.

This group followed the trends of other groups though they felt most strongly that it is
the responsibility of the government to keep the rivers healthy. Additionally, they felt
very strongly that more information is needed regarding how to protect the
environment. Alternately, they did feel strongly that it is not appropriate for each
community along the river to use the river any way that they want to. This group was
also strongly divided regarding the safety of agro chemicals for the river and the
environment. This may be due to a lack of reliable information, or a hesitancy to
comment.

Student
The members of this stakeholder group are those who self classified themselves as
students, generally of school age or attending university. The highest level concern for
this group was the decline in infrastructure. Also of concern was the lack of sewage
treatment and municipal waste management and irregular water supply to households.
The lowest level concerns were the increased flooding and bank erosion and decline
in bio resources.

The strongest response from this group was exceptionally strong support for the
statement “We need more information about how to keep the river healthy”. They also
feel strongly that “The government has the responsibility to keep the rivers healthy”
and “People need to boil the water before they drink it”. They also disagreed that use
of farming chemicals is safe for the rivers and the environment. While most of the
respondents in this group were from Armenia and Iran, this suggests that students


                                            26
have a high level of curiosity about the issues, an awareness of the need for more
information and an understanding of challenges of low environmental conditions and
human conditions.

Farmer
The farmer stakeholder group members are those individuals who actively farm the
land and a significant portion if their income or identity results from this. The
significant majority of respondents were from Azerbaijan, with only about twenty
percent of respondents from Armenia. The highest priority issue for this group was
the deterioration of water quality. Lack of potable water sources and related health
problems were also a high level concern. The lowest priority concern was the non-
rational use of water.

Within the farmer stakeholder group responses there were some interesting trends.
There was a strong feeling of agreement that the water taken from the river is healthy
for irrigation uses and eating fish from the river is healthy. They did not have a
notable concern about what is in the water though they felt strongly that people need
to boil water before they drink it. This varied significantly between upstream and
downstream users, as it did with other groups. Also this division also was reflected in
the response to community members who had experienced malaria. Those
downstream had a very high report rate, while others upstream had a very low rate.

They did agree strongly that farmers need more water than they currently have, and
that the government has the responsibility to keep the rivers healthy. It should also be
noted that most of their information about the conditions of the water come from
television, and that they feel they need more information on how to keep the rivers
healthy. Interestingly, there was no agreement or disagreement about the impact of
farming chemicals on the rivers and environment. This suggests that this population
would benefit from targeted awareness building and education campaigns.

Public health care provider
This stakeholder group consists of those in the medical field who attend to the
medical needs of the population within the river basin. The highest priority concern
for this group was the lack of sewage treatment and municipal waste management.
Also, public health care providers listed as high priority concern was the lack of
potable drinking water sources and related health problems. The lowest level concern
was the lack of water for irrigation. The responses here are only from stakeholders in
Armenia and Azerbaijan by an even margin.

The members of this group felt strongly that eating fish from the river is healthy, and
that water in communities near the river is not safe to drink. There was strong division
within the group between upstream and down stream communities. Those upstream
did not feel that people were ill from water related causes, that people did not have
malaria or skin problems from the water or that the water needed to be boiled. In
contrast those in downstream communities felt strongly that people have been ill from
water related causes, there has been malaria, skin problems from contact with water,
and that drinking water must be boiled. All respondents from the public healthcare
providers stakeholder group also felt that more information is needed on how to keep
the river healthy. There was strong agreement throughout the group that the
government has the responsibilities to keep the river healthy.


                                          27
Member of community near the river
The members of this stakeholder group are those who live in communities of a wide
range of sizes near the river. This group is most directly impacted by river conditions,
and also are often contributors to the challenges within the rivers. The highest priority
issue among stakeholders was the lack of sewage treatment/ municipal waste
management, with the issues of infrastructure decline and lack of potable drinking
water sources and related health problems also rated as very high level concerns.
Deterioration in water quality (e.g. pollution) was also a high level concern. The
lowest priority concern was the decline in bio-resources (e.g. fisheries). There were
no representatives of this group from Iran.

Members of this group agreed strongly that they would agree to pay to support a
reliable supply of drinking water in the local community. They disagreed strongly
with the statement that the water in communities near the river is safe to drink. The
river community members also agreed very strongly that they need more information
about how to keep the river healthy and that the government has the responsibility to
keep the rivers healthy. The healthcare issues broke down by geographical placement
along the river, as noted about in the public health care provider section above.

This group also felt strongly that economic development is the most important priority
for my community and that farmers need more water than they currently have.
This suggests that they are feeling the strain from lack of access to water, either due to
lack of pumping technology and power or the costs of water being charged.
Additionally, the realities of the need for economic development are impacting these
communities across the region.

Tourism/Recreation industry
The members of this stakeholder group are those who specialize in tourism, recreation
and the supporting industries, including hotels, restaurants, etc. The highest priority
concern for this group was the lack of potable drinking water sources and related
health problems. The lowest level concern was the lack of water for irrigation.

The members of this group felt strongly that the government has the responsibility to
keep the rivers healthy. They disagreed that farmers need more water than they
currently have, or that people have health problems due to water issues. They very
strongly agreed that economic development is the most important priority for their
communities. They also agreed that they would pay to support a reliable water source
of drinking water for the local community. Over all, there was an indication of low
levels of awareness of environmental issues among this group.

Press and media
The members of this stakeholder are those within the region who provide information
to the public about issues of concern, including environmental issues. The highest
priority concern of this group was ecosystem degradation in the river basin. Also
deterioration in water quality (e.g. pollution) and lack of sewage treatment/ municipal
waste management were listed as high priority concerns. The lowest priority concern
was the lack of potable water sources and related health problems and irregular water
supply to households. This may be in part because these individuals are living in



                                           28
urban areas more than in rural areas and have a higher level of familiarity with
environmental issues.

The members of this group expressed a high level of concern about what is in the
river, and that farmers need more water. They also felt very strongly that the health of
the rivers is the responsibility of the government. The issue they responded to most
adamantly is the need for more information about how to keep the river healthy. This
should be highlighted within the next phase of the project.

International Funding Institution
The members of this stakeholder group are those who work within the international
funding institution community active in the region. The highest priority concerns for
this group were the lack of sewage treatment and municipal wastes, and irregular
water supply to householders. The lowest level concerns were the lack of water for
irrigation, increased flooding and bank erosion, and decline in bioresources. Because
of the low number of respondents from this group, it is not appropriate to draw
additional conclusions and those above should be viewed as incomplete.

Bilateral development agency
The members of this stakeholder group are those who work with bilateral
development agencies within communities in the region. The highest level priorities
of this group were irregular water supply to households and the lack of sewage
treatment and municipal waste management. The lowest priority concern was the lack
of water for irrigation. There are no representatives from Azerbaijan and Iran in this
group.

The members of this group felt most strongly that the government has the
responsibility to keep the river systems healthy. They also agreed very strongly that
economic development is the most important priority. Overall, this group did not
show any outstanding responses that differentiate it from other stakeholders in the
region




                                          29
       3.4 Quantitative SHA by Issue

The analysis for the TDA focused on stakeholder issues specifically pertaining to the
major transboundary issues in the TDA. As a result an cross sectional analysis
examining stakeholder concerns and priorities pertaining was conducted. These
findings, introduced in Table 3.3.1 above also emphasize issues as they pertain to
stakeholder groups. The geographic location of these priorities is presented in figure
3.4.1 at the end of this section.

3.4.1 Variation and Reduction of Hydrological Flow
The variation and reduction of hydrological flow was a medium level problem for
most stakeholders. There were several priority concerns that address this. The decline
in infrastructure to support water delivery was the 4th highest priority among all
stakeholders, and non-rational use of water was the 6th highest concern. Although
some stakeholders ranked this concern as important (generally the Ministries and
scientific community), within the survey there were varying levels of agreement
amongst stakeholders pertaining to the availability of water. For example, farmers,
fishermen and community groups all felt that non-rational use of water was a low
priority issue.

There were some interesting and very informative trends in regards to issues of
potential water scarcity. In response to the statement “There is enough water for
everyone who needs it” only labour ministry groups agreed, while many groups either
disagreed strongly or have division within the specific group. Upon close examination
there was some geographic division with those living closer to the river tending to
disagree, while those living further from the river and in urban areas generally
agreeing. In contrast, almost all stakeholder groups agreed that “farmers need more
water than they currently have”. A notable exception was the District Water
Management Officials, though those in areas further down stream tended to agree
more readily than those further up stream. Over all rural stakeholders agreed more
strongly than urban stakeholders. This suggests that overall stakeholders are aware of
and concerned about availability of water throughout the region.

In response to the statement “each community should use the river any way they want
to” there was strong disagreement among most stakeholder groups, with strongest
disagreement among urban stakeholders compared to rural stakeholders. Light
industry tended to agree with this statement though stronger agreement originated
from among those in small industries further upstream than down stream. It should
also be noted that there is almost unanimous consensus among stakeholder groups in
response to the statement “economic development is the most important priority for
my community”. Tourism and recreation industry stakeholders were less adamant, as
were public healthcare providers, farmers, educators, nature preserve staff, and natural
resource, ecology and environment ministry officials. Members of communities near
the river, regional government officials, municipal government officials, economic
ministry representatives, and energy ministries agreed more strongly than the average
stakeholder did.

These findings were supported by the QLSA findings. Within the QLSA, stakeholders
were concerned about the lack of water delivered to homes and through the
community. There was frustration about the lack of power to support pumps in areas


                                          30
where water was pumped into communities, and there was concern over the cost for
irrigation waters. Several farmer stakeholders who were interviewed as part of the
QLSA said that they pay for water, but often it is not provided or the amount that they
pay is too high. This seemed to vary from one place to the next without clear trends.
In communities with lower levels of economic development this concern was more
apparent. When stakeholders were asked who was responsible the broad reaction was
municipal government officials. Municipal government officials, when interviewed,
agreed generally, however they also said that they have no budget for improving
water delivery, and that the district officials do not pay them sufficiently to support
current work or improve the infrastructure. All stakeholder groups agreed strongly
that they are willing to pay to support a reliable supply of drinking water in their
communities, with rural stakeholders, and those whose drinking water comes from the
river agreeing more strongly than average.

The transboundary implications of this are that the stakeholders are largely aware of
the issue of the variation and reduction of hydrological flow, however they perceive it
from a localized point of view. This is to be expected as many stakeholders to not
think of their water use from a basin wide transboundary perspective. The negative
reaction of stakeholders to the question regarding unfettered use of the river by each
community suggests that there is concern about how other communities use the
resource within the river basin system, and a strong understanding of the impacts of
water use from one community to another. However, it is not clear at this point if this
pertains more immediately to pollution or to irrational water use.

3.4.2 Deterioration of Water Quality
The deterioration of water quality was by far the highest priority problem of the
stakeholders. This was either as a lack of potable drinking water, lack of sewage
treatment/municipal waste management and deterioration in water quality (e.g.
pollution). Each stakeholder group listed at least one of these as a highest priority
issue, and many listed all three. Of those whose drinking water came from river,
deterioration of water quality/pollution was listed as the highest priority concern
whereas for those whose water came from piped spring water, the lack of sewage
treatment/ municipal waste management was the highest priority. For those whose
water came from artesian wells, the lack of potable water sources and related
problems was the highest priority concern.

Those stakeholder groups who classified themselves as rural indicated that the lack of
potable water drinking sources and related health problems were the highest priority
by a significant margin, whereas among urban stakeholders the lack of sewage
treatment and/or municipal waste management was the highest priority issue. These
findings were widely supported by the QLSA. In the QNSA, two main areas of
concern were identified that relate to the deterioration of water quality: the impacts on
public health and the impacts on river health.

Through the QNSA, concerns about water quality deterioration and impacts on public
health were articulated by stakeholder groups though 5 statements. In response to the
statement “the water in communities near the river is safe to drink” all stakeholder
groups disagreed strongly. There was some division amongst ministry officials from
industry, economic, public health and social welfare in upstream communities.



                                           31
Overall this statement drew the strongest level of disagreement from stakeholders of
all statements in the survey.

In a related statement “people need to boil water before they drink it” those whose
drinking water comes from the river agree with this statement very strongly,
especially in downstream communities. Those who have other sources of water also
tend to agree that the water should be boiled before drinking it. District water
managers disagreed with this statement overall, though those in upstream
communities were more prone to disagree, whereas those from downstream
communities agreed more strongly. This was also the trend for public health care
providers who strongly agreed in downstream communities, and only mildly
disagreed in upstream communities fed by mountain streams. Foreign Affairs
Ministry officials and Public Health and Social Welfare Ministry officials agreed
strongly with this as well, indicating an awareness of water problems among both of
these groups.

In response to the statement “people in river communities have been ill from water
related causes” there was a strong trend that those living in down stream communities
who are dependent on the river for drinking water responded in strong agreement,
where as those who had other sources of drinking water tended to disagree. Public
health care providers from down stream communities supported this statement
strongly, while public health care providers from upstream communities did not.
District water managers tended to disagree with this statement. Light industry also
disagreed with this statement. Other groups generally were more neutral about this,
though this may be a result of incomplete data from downstream communities.

Also related with the above was the statement “people sometimes have skin problems
after contact with water”. Those that relied on the river for drinking water, and
residents and public health care providers in down stream communities had much
stronger levels of agreement than those upstream. During the QLSA this concern was
highlighted by a number of those interviewed, especially in communities who were
down stream from industries, mining and municipal centers. The overall perception of
stakeholders from downstream communities is that they are ill as result of pollution
from upstream, whereas those communities further upstream and in more urban areas
consider the impacts of pollution on public health as less immediate.

The deterioration in water quality is also perceived to have other impacts. Most
stakeholder groups responded with agreement to the statement “I worry about what is
in the river water”. The agreement with this did not vary significantly across countries
or from upstream and down stream communities. Those groups that agreed most
strongly with this were the Foreign Affair Ministries, and Public Health and Social
Welfare Ministries, and the scientific community (such as environment and natural
resource ministry officials, nature park staff, scientists and hydromet officials) who
are those with access to scientific information.

There was a high level of disagreement among all stakeholders to the question “use of
farming chemicals is safe for rivers and the environment” but especially among those
who have access to scientific information. Farmers who lived closest to the river
tended to agree with this statement, while those who live further from the river
disagreed. This may be because those close to the river do not see immediate impacts


                                          32
of their individual agro-chemical use. It should also be noted that during the QLSA,
those in farming communities said that they use less agro-chemicals now than during
Soviet times because of the cost of these chemicals.

Despite these concerns, in response to the statements “Eating fish from the river is
healthy” and “the water taken from the river is healthy for irrigation uses”
stakeholders overall were in agreement and there was little variation between
upstream and down stream communities. However, as noted earlier, those that had
access to scientific information tended to be more inclined to disagree with this, while
those without this information tended to be in stronger agreement. This is mainly
because of the belief that while the water is not safe to drink, mainly due to organisms
within the water, use of river water for irrigation benefits crops by improving
nutrients, the soils and the mineral content of the produce. The same belief is also the
case for fish taken from the river.

The perception amongst stakeholders overall is that river water quality has
significantly deteriorated, and in the QNSA, the belief that water quality was not safe
or healthy either above or below the community in which they lived was pervasive. In
contrast, during the QLSA, those stakeholders interviewed generally felt that the
water coming into their community was much cleaner than the water leaving the
community. This was largely in part due to the household trash, raw sewage and farm
wastes dumped into the rivers, or disposed of on the flood plain next to the river.

The transboundary implications of the deterioration of water quality are found mainly
in the variation in responses from upstream communities and downstream
communities, especially pertaining to public health issues. Though most stakeholders
do not seem to draw direct links to transboundary problems, there is some awareness
of this. However, the lack of accessible scientific information available to the public
has resulted in a lower level of awareness of transboundary pollution than might
otherwise be expected. Anecdotal evidence suggests that there may have been
intentional transboundary pollution, however, neither the QLSA nor the QNSA show
any indication of this, nor of a perception that this practice is taking place.

3.4.3 Ecosystem Degradation in the River Basin
While ecosystem degradation in the river basin is a high level concern for those with
access to scientific information and a high level of understanding of environmental
degradation issues, among other stakeholders, this was not a priority concern. The
problem of ecosystem degradation in the river basin ranked fifth among all surveyed,
and the concern of decline in bio-resources ranked lowest. The QLSA found that
while stakeholders are worried about river basin conditions, they are concerned
mainly with impacts on their own health and the health and economic development of
their communities, rather than longer term environmental aspects.

It should be noted that many of the issues addressed in the sections above regarding
river health and pollution impacts would also be applicable to their beliefs about
ecosystem degradation. However, in terms of the health of the river ecosystem,
despite the perceived pollution levels, non-scientific stakeholders continue to perceive
that the ecosystem continues to function.




                                          33
In response to the statement “there are many fish in the river” there was a notable
disconnect between the scientific community who believed that the number of fish
was low and disagreed with this statement, and the other stakeholders who were more
varied, but tended to be neutral regarding this. Further those in rural areas were
slightly more likely to agree with this. Many fishermen were observed along the river
banks during the QLSA, and the fish caught were predominantly for human
consumption.

The response among stakeholders that economic development is the most important
priority for communities could be seen as a threat to the ecosystem. However, the
survey also signaled that the participants were open to information about
environmental management which could have a positive impact on the ecosystem. For
example, in regards to ecosystem health, all stakeholder groups agreed that there was
a need for more information on how to keep the river healthy, and that currently most
information about river conditions is found via television. Though this does not
directly have an impact on improving ecosystem health, it does signify an increased
interest in the problems and a possible medium for making ecosystem awareness more
pervasive and possibly meaningful to stakeholders.

3.4.4 Flooding and Bank Erosion
The QLSA found that flooding is seen as a challenge that harms local communities
and threatens economic development. The overall concern was much lower than
anticipated given the amount of flood damage caused over the past several years
within the region. As noted above, this may be in part due to the lower number of
surveys from downstream countries.

Problems with flooding for stakeholders include loss of life and property, loss of
infrastructure and loss of economic opportunities. The stakeholder groups who listed
this as a high priority concern included the environment and natural resource
ministries, as well as forestry officials and those in the agricultural industry. Rural
stakeholders ranked this slightly higher as a concern than urban residents.
Furthermore, stakeholders who depend on the river for drinking water ranked this as
their highest priority concern. This is to be expected as flooding events for these
communities can contaminate drinking water supplies, and considerably impact living
conditions. Members of this category also tend to live downstream or in rural
conditions that are more strongly impacted by flooding events.

Beyond the immediate threats of flooding there are a number of long term impacts.
For example, the presence of large pools of stagnant water following flooding events
is a concern for stakeholders because of the prevalence of malaria in low lying
regions. During the QLSA this was noted as a significant concern by rural
communities living near the river or on the flood plains in all countries. In the QNSA,
this issue was addressed with the statement “people in my community have had
malaria”. Those who are dependent on river water for drinking water rated this much
higher than those who have other sources of drinking water. Rural stakeholders
ranked this somewhat higher than urban, but the lack of data from Iran and Azerbaijan
may be weighting this. Also those stakeholders surveyed in Armenia tended to
disagree with this statement strongly, while those in Azerbaijan strongly agreed with
it. This is most likely because geographic variation and climate differences in the
basin countries have an affect the presence of malaria.


                                          34
  The geographic breakdown of the level of concern for each of the issues is highlighted
  in figure 3.4.1. For the communities involved in the Quantitative SHA, the
  community level findings was ordered for the degree of prioritization the community
  members felt for the specific issues. The size of the circle indicates the average
  community priority, the color indicates the specific issue. For example, those in the
  most western corner of Armenia- the community of Ararat flooding was a low priority
  concern and the other issues were all medium level. In contrast in Tbilisi, all issues
  were ranked at high priority concerns. In Alibayram at the juncture of the Kura and
  Aras in Azerbaijan, flooding and pollution levels were the very highest level
  concerns, while ecosystem degradation was a medium level concern and nonrational
  use of water was a low priority concern for this community. This demonstrated that
  there are shifts between the communities regarding issues they are most concerned
  about and their geographic location. As expected those down stream tend to be more
  concerned about flooding and pollution, while those up stream are more concerned
  about access to water and nonrational use. Communities in higher altitudes which are
  prone to flash floods are also more concerned about flooding, while those in upstream
  plains worry less about this issue. The conclusions for Iran are based on stakeholder
  groups from Tabriz, outside of the basin area.


Figure 3.4.1 Stakeholder Issue Prioritization 2006




    Community         Issue Key
Priorities Averages   = Non rational Use of Water
        = low         = Ecosystem Degradation
        = medium      = Deterioration of Water Quality
        = high        = Flooding and Bank Erosion
        = top




                                                         35
4. Stakeholder Advisory Group

The Kura Aras Stakeholder Advisory Group (SHAG) convened in Gudauri Georgia in
November 2006 to review the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) and provide
comments on the project development and objectives. A group of 12 SHAG team members
were carefully selected to facilitate broad representation of a wide array of stakeholders who
had not been directly involved in the development of the project to date. These include: NGO
representatives, a public health care provider, a community organizer, a municipal water
manager, an agricultural input association representative, a farming technology expert, a rural
sociologist, and an environmental journalist. Most lived in communities close to the Kura and
Aras rivers. The members of the group were selected based on a broad spectrum of
specialization, their understanding of transboundary water issues, and various interests while
maintaining an equal balance of regional nationalities.

The SHAG Team members varied expertise and unique vantage points on these issues
provided a new set of lenses for the project to view the situation in the region, as well as a new
set of tools for evaluating regional transboundary water concerns. The inputs from the SHAG
Team included an independent review of the TDA and the specific transboundary issues.
Following the Stakeholder Analysis, the findings were presented to the SHAG members and
their input was requested specific to each of the transboundary issues. Overall, the group
provided significant and substantial input summarized below. The full SHAG Meeting Report
is in ANNEX 4

4.1 Irrational water use/ reduced flows
The SHAG Team enthusiastically addressed the issues and challenges of declining water
quantity in the Kura Aras basin. They discussed the causes, various current approaches to
government initiated management efforts including water user associations, current agricultural
practices and water saving options, and community led efforts to reduce impacts of water
shortages. The group also acknowledged that more assistance is needed including technical
support that may be sought from other countries and donors.

SHAG Team members discussed various approaches used at the national and local level to
address water flow issues. In many cases they said that water user associations were
established during the soviet and post-soviet era. However they generally agreed that now
these organizations are less effective and in some cases only exist on paper, rather than in
actual practice. It was noted that the Georgian parliament is considering legislation that gives
authority to communities over the tertiary canals through Water User Associations. Some
members voiced concern that there is not enough attention in the TDA to irrigation as an
impacting source and that increased agricultural development in the Aras basin could have a
significant impact on this issue.

The SHAG Team members also noted that there is an excessive use of flooding irrigation to
clean the fields and that this practice reduces the water flow, fertility of lands and negatively
impacts the ecology of the river basin. They suggested that instead of this practice using new
methods for irrigation, including drip irrigation instead of traditional canals and large scale
flooding of fields. A concern was raised that using drip irrigation is very expensive to install
and current farming practices require hoses to be replaced on a regular basis.
                                               36
Other suggestions for managing these challenges include the construction of community
reservoirs to capture water during high flow periods and use that for dry seasons. An example
of how to construct this for communities, typically downstream and using local labor was
provided by the community organizer from Azerbaijan. Additionally, creating soaking wells
and earthen berms around fruit trees in dry areas also reduces the need to water excessively
during dry times of the year. This was supported by the Iranians who have seen it applied
successfully in communities there.

The Armenians mentioned that the government had already taken steps to introduce controls on
flow of water and outlets and so on. This entails enhanced municipal control over water flow,
and charging based on flow rates to households and apartment flats in addition to agricultural
usage. It was suggest that this approach be introduced into countries where this does not exist
yet. When other team members questioned them about the effectiveness of this, they agreed
that at first it was met with public resistance, but after it was implemented it was more
effective and was showing reduced wastes of water with better and more regular service. Other
members agreed that this would be a good innovation if it were possible to implement it.

Additionally, the creation of farmer‟s associations that would work with different communities
and to serve as a source of equipment and information technology on pesticides, new types of
fertilizers and component of water usage was recommended. It was agreed this would be
difficult but very important to do. The fact that in the former Soviet republics the Water User
Associations may be a barrier to the government support for farmer associations was
mentioned. It may be possible, however, to overcome this barrier with the right international
support.

The group also recommended seeking assistance in the agricultural sector from bilateral and
international donors in coordination with the UNDP/GEF project. This may be helpful for
making realistic improvements to water flow challenges. These should include alternate
irrigation methods, water monitoring approaches, and public awareness building.

4.2 Flooding and Bank Erosion
The SHAG Team then turned to the issue of flooding and bank erosion, with strong support for
it‟s inclusion in the project. The discussion focused on several activities and concerns
including: emergency response; zoning in flood prone zones; flood prevention; deforestation;
community responsibilities and government level responsibilities; early warning systems and
actions. The realities of flooding are significant for the SHAG Team members and they believe
it is something that the project should definitely focus on to reduce loss of lives and property.

The first issue addressed in the discussion was the problem of emergency response committees.
As one member said “When the flood response committee finally meets, the problems of the
flooding have already receded.” The need to be more proactive and to take preventive
measures was supported through out the group. They were very concerned that as climate
change impacts lead to more serious flooding events, this should be addressed by their
governments as well as communities in a coordinated manner.

With regard to reducing impacts, the group discussed the problem of settlements being built in
flood prone zones, including areas where ground waters rise as well as river levels. It was
                                               37
suggested that the project encourage governments to limit settlements in flood plains, including
reducing any agricultural or industrial construction in the flood zones to prevent loss of life and
property.

The team also recognized that problems of deforestation and uncontrolled grazing in upstream
areas contribute to the flooding problems. The causes of deforestation were discussed,
especially with regard to the causes of deforestation. While a fair amount of logging is due to
commercial purposes, it was agreed that it is also due to the need to heat homes in the winters.
Since natural gas supplies are not always reliable, and the infrastructure has deteriorated in
some areas, heating with wood is the only alternative for many people. The issue of
uncontrolled grazing in flood zones and forested areas was also discussed and it was agreed
that a public awareness plan should address this issue in some way, though it will be difficult
to stop herdsmen from grazing livestock in areas that they have traditionally used. The team
suggested that education of pastoralists, and tree planting efforts may be a worthwhile effort to
reduce these problems.

Again the discussion of community responsibilities and government level responsibilities in
flood events was very serious. One member asked “in your plan, you have an emergency
warning system between countries, but what are we supposed to do with the information that
floods are coming?” It was discussed that most communities near the river do not have flood
prevention mechanisms in place, and when flooding occurs, often it is very difficult for
government support to arrive in time to assist communities. Another member of the group
detailed a plan on how his community had built channels that would reduce impacts of
flooding, but that the effort to do this was significant. It was pointed out that in Iran, they are
using local labor to improve flood defense mechanisms with good results. Other team members
were very impressed with this and felt that communities should be encouraged to develop
emergency flood response plans prior to the actual event.

The result of this discussion was the full group recommending the development of a flood
prevention and emergency response manual for communities throughout the basin. This
manual would assist communities in understanding the causes of flooding and their role in it,
alternative agricultural and pastoral practices, flood abatement measures, and responses that
can be implemented by communities when flooding events are likely to reduce the loss of life
and property. The manual could be produced in English and Russian and translated into local
languages, with an accompanying DVD to clearly illustrate the practices outlined in the
manual. The group agreed this would help improve response in the event of floods, empower
local communities and provide vital information that would reduce loss of life and property.

The group fully agreed that coordinated effort was needed between governments in the region
and communities to reduce the problems of flooding. Further, the group strongly supported the
development of a manual for flooding reduction and emergency response to be used throughout
the region.

4.3 Water Quality Degradation
For the discussion of Water Quality the SHAG Team was joined by Mr. Tim Turner, Project
CTA, and Mr. Malkhaz Adeishvili, Georgian Project Manager. This discussion involved a
wide range of issues pertaining to water quality. The discussion addressed sewage and waste
water treatment methods, pollution loads into the Caspian, monitoring of source and non-
                                                38
source pollutants, empirically based research and baseline data, drinking water and potability,
agrochemical pollution, and international agreements to support improving conditions. While
this topic had the fewest direct recommendations, the level of discussion was high and
members of the SHAG Team felt that it was very valuable.

With regard to sewage and waste water treatments, the Team members pointed out that there
are gaps in the data that should be filled and the specific types of pollutants more thoroughly
addressed. Mr. Turner and Mr. Adeishvili both agree with this observation and Mr. Turner
provided an overview of the approaches to municipal waster water treatment, including the
impacts of flooding of sewage systems due to heavy rains in urban areas. A discussion
followed regarding the commonly used methods of waste water treatment in the Kura Aras
basin, as well as methods used in more advanced sewage treatment. Mr. Turner‟s expertise on
this issue enabled the SHAG Team members who were not familiar with these approaches to
better understand the intricacies of this process as it applies to the project.

The discussion then turned to impacts of Kura and Aras pollution loads on the Caspian waters.
Mr. Turner referred to studies done within the Caspian Environment Programme that examined
an array of pollutants. He informed the team that the main concerns for the Caspian are heavy
metals from industry such as lead and copper, arsenic from mining, agro chemicals including
DDT, and hydrocarbons, especially in Baku Bay. However, the only significant loads in the
Kura delta were copper, while other loads were high throughout the Caspian waters and were
not notably elevated from the Kura-Aras basin. That is not to say these concerns are not
significant, but that the amount of inputs from the Kura are not impacting the Caspian more
than others. Mr. Turner also commented that a large algae bloom formed in the southern
Caspian in the summer of 2006, but it was not yet clear if that was due to nutrient loading or a
naturally occurring phenomenon.

The conversation then turned to monitoring of the Kura and Aras rivers. Some team members
believed that there are increased rates of nitrates, sulfates and heavy metals in the Aras basin,
as well as high levels of human waste. They felt that the causes and sources of the pollutants
should be identified as soon as possible in order to remedy the situation. Mr. Turner agreed that
this is a possibility, and discussed the challenges of monitoring due to the very fast flow rates
of both rivers, as well as the role the reservoirs play in trapping contaminants as pollution
sinks. He suggested that when flooding events occur the pollutants that have been stored in the
reservoirs are reintroduced to the rivers and when combined with the flooded land based
pollutants, flooding events become even more hazardous. Team members also pointed out the
water pollution results in reduced soil fertility and outputs.

This led to discussion of the challenge of establishing credible baseline data for evaluation. The
team agreed with Mr. Turner that this was an especially difficult issue and the only solution is
to use current reliable data as the acting baseline. Additionally, Mr. Turner referred to other
studies that had been conducted by other organizations including the IAEA and CEP using
laboratories in Monaco. Again, the SHAG team was grateful to receive this information,
especially as it pertains to the issues directly impacting them.

The issue of non-source pollution, specifically agro chemicals, was also raised as a concern.
Mr. Turner agreed that the lack of region wide information about the use rates and application
practices created difficulties in effective monitoring. It was suggested that educational support
                                               39
for farmers to introduce proper agro chemical use and application rates and timing, as well as
impacts on water may reduce some of the problems. The lack of information creates difficulties
for farmers as well as impacting the monitoring of water quality. The discussion turned to how
this impacts human health and if ground water quality is pristine or impacted by the agro
chemicals and other pollutants. Mr. Turner agreed that the regional ground water quality has
not been studied to date.

The group discussed pollutants in water as it impacts drinking water quality. The group
informed Mr. Turner about different water quality management approaches being utilized
throughout the basin. These included challenges of irregular supplies, dilapidated and crossed
inflow and outflow pipes, as well as drinking water quality reduced because of agricultural and
municipal wastes. The implementation of water user fees and the positive experiences in
Armenia with increased delivery times, updated pipes and household and apartment flat
monitoring were discussed. It was agreed that this is beneficial and yet difficult to implement
initially. The only setback was that the water still had to be boiled before drinking. Other
options for drinking water delivery, including piping water in from mountains, or treating
water with chlorine were mentioned by team members.

The group concluded with the need to introduce water treatment in smaller communities near
the rivers as well as larger municipalities. The intention is that improving the water quality
there will improve quality of life as well as reduce negative human impacts on the water. The
extended session concluded with Mr. Turner and Mr. Adeishvili‟s pending departure. The
group later expressed delight at Mr. Turner‟s willingness to meet with them and to address
their questions.

4.4 Ecosystem Degradation
The issue of ecosystem degradation was addressed by the group as a whole with a high level of
understanding as well as commitment to improving conditions. The discussion focused on
definitions and types of degradation, the impacts of human activities on fisheries, the
challenges of deforestation and overgrazing, and disposal of trash and municipal wastes on
river system health. The team was diligent in addressing this and worked well together.

The first issue addressed under ecosystem degradation was the need to include wetlands in this
section, as well as deforestation. The Ramsar Convention was raised and discussed as a means
to include this into the work of the TDA and full scale project. The team agreed it makes sense
to have as little institutional redundancy as possible and asked that the projects work closely
together with regard to these issues whenever possible. There were several questions about
cause and effect with deforestation which may have been attributed to translation confusion.

The issue of impacts of human activities on fisheries focused on both structural issues and on
pollution impacting fisheries. In terms of structural issues the team discussed problems with
the construction of hydroelectric dams which do not allow fish to pass in order to spawn up
river. The most senior member of the team said that he noticed that there are far fewer fish in
the river than when he was young, and though this was in part due to the impacts humans were
having. The others agreed and the group recommended implementing fish ladders in any new
hydroelectric dam construction.


                                              40
Other impacts of human activities and declining fisheries were addressed by the group. The
problems of pollution, especially agricultural and industrial run off were concerns. In cases
where there is industrial fishing the impacts on water quality and also threaten fish biodiversity
the group felt that stronger regulation should be employed to avoid these problems. The issue
of decreased water flows making poaching easier also was raised and discussed by the group.
The team felt that a concerted public awareness campaign on the importance of biodiversity
would help increase attention to this issue.

The group discussion then turned to the biodiversity within the basin and impacts of over
grazing as it pertains to river system health. The problem of increasing sheep and goat herds
was raised since they strip lands of grasses that hold soils during periods of flooding and
drought. In some areas of Iran there are limits placed on livestock to minimize their damage to
the landscape. In other areas the problem of grazing in flood plains was especially severe and
team members felt this should be more effectively regulated. Again they felt public
involvement campaigns would support this, by building awareness and helping the residents in
river communities to understand the effects their behavior has on the river system.

A final discussion turned to the need for sanitary landfills, trash disposal, and rivers in the
South Caucasus. The SHAG Team was very concerned about trash from communities being
dumped along the river bank, especially as the trash is no longer biodegradable. The lack of
sanitary landfills and alternative waste disposal means that often household and municipal
trash is dumped into rivers. Though it was pointed out that this trash was not actually
considered to be a significant pollutant yet, they felt that the impression people have along the
river is that it is dirty because of the trash, and that they should work to clean it up. Further, the
example of cleaning Lake Sevan as a large multi-NGO activity was discussed, as a way to
build awareness and a feeling of public ownership. The group suggested hosting a Kura-Aras
river day, with different communities/ groups going out to clean the local river banks
throughout the region. This could be held several times a year with competitions between
communities for how much litter they collect from the river as part of a public awareness
raising campaign.


The Preliminary SAP and Basin Vision were presented quickly to couch the recommendation
and the Public Involvement Strategy. This presentation was well received and though more
time to discuss the Basin Vision would provide more in-depth input into the development of
the SAP, the group suggested covering this in more depth in subsequent meetings. The group
was especially supportive of the idea of the Kura-Aras Environmental Programme which
would reduce redundancy of efforts by the international community. Also, while the Draft
Targets were not discussed due to a lack of time, the team felt that these should stem directly
from the recommendations of the TDA in order to make the TDA and SAP tightly linked.

The final presentations were the Public Involvement Demonstration Projects (PIDP), which
were well received by the team. Each presentation was made by a member of the SHAG team,
who will be responsible for implementing the PIDPs. The group made suggestions and
recommendations as well as raising concerns about each, including costs, increasing public
awareness and replicability. Overall, the entire group was very positive, making
recommendations such as providing organic produce to hotels catering to ex-pats and
developing documentaries on wastewater management. The group recommendations will be
                                                 41
included in the final PIDPs, and the group agreed to think of additional recommendations for
these and potentially other projects to increase stakeholder awareness of the issues impacting
the health of the Kura Aras River Basin.

The following lessons learned from the SHAG meeting include:

-   Dedication of the SHAG Team members, including willingness to travel for very long
    distances mirrors the dedication and importance they give this project. This sort of
    dedication reflects the critical nature of transboundary water management within the eyes
    of the stakeholder advisory group.

-   The input from the group, from their unique perspectives, provides a critical lens through
    which to view project objectives and activities. These stakeholders are those who we will
    seek to engage, and understanding their vantage point helps to clarify how to meet their
    needs and expectations.

-   The smaller group size allowed for building strong bonds among the group. A larger group
    may include more stakeholders but may not foster the same sense of belonging and mutual
    understanding that a smaller group can achieve and allow for the same degree of input.

-   There was a marked difference between the level and investment in input between the
    NGO Forum meetings and the SHAG Meeting. While the NGO Forum meeting was
    significantly larger with between 25 and 45 participants, the focus was primarily on
    building connections and finding grant sources for NGO activities, where as the SHAG
    Meeting was generally much more focused on assisting the project to accomplish its
    objectives and providing insights into the issues to improve project implementation.

-   The three day meeting time was sufficient to introduce the materials to the group, and to
    discuss the TDA recommendations. Additional time in a subsequent meeting with the same
    group will provide more in-depth discussion of the direction of the project.

-   The relatively low cost of the event (below $10K) makes this an attractive way to keep
    stakeholder input active in the project without overextending budgets.

-   The expertise of SHAG Team members compliments the TTT and other project staff, but
    also provides important legitimacy to the project by incorporating their input into the
    overall project development.

As no prior projects have had inputs from stakeholders at this level within the TDA
development process, and in combination with the findings of the SHA, it was felt that this was
a very strong contribution to the project. The lessons learned support future incorporation of
Stakeholder Advisory Groups into the TDA if possible.

       5   Recommendations and Conclusions

The findings and analysis of this study lead to a set of recommended studies for the TDA/SAP
process. These recommendations are intended to support the TDA Scoping process, as well and
inform the public involvement strategy.
                                              42
   Need for river health monitoring and study region wide
    The overriding concern about the access and quality of potable water suggests that the
    highest priority concern among stakeholders pertains directly to health impacts of water
    borne illnesses. At present this information is only anecdotal and warrants further study. It
    must be acknowledged that in the past the governments of the Caucasus countries have
    been somewhat recalcitrant to support river health studies. Despite these potential
    limitations, if possible this may be one of the most informative studies for the TDA, if it is
    possible to conduct it. While it may be possible to conduct surrogate studies, it will be
    helpful to stakeholders to have empirical information upon which to base their concerns,
    and to take steps to improve conditions.

   Need for investigation into impact of lack of sewage treatment throughout the river
    basin
    There is a critical need to address the sewage treatment methods, and perhaps improve
    water quality through use of low tech, low cost municipal waste management strategies.
    The impetus for this may be to examine the levels of bacteria and solid waste matter that
    exists at regular points throughout the river basin.

   Monitoring of water quality for irrigation
    Though studies have been conducted into the water quality of the basin for USAID and
    other projects, these do not specifically draw the linkages between the water used for
    irrigation and the impacts of this on the health of the river basin system and its people.

   Need for study of impacts of dumping on water quality
    The dumping of wastes from agriculture and industry should be monitored to ascertain if
    there is sufficient dilution of effluents from point and non-point source pollution. The
    impacts of use of pesticides, and fertilizers should be investigated as they occur, and
    possibly monitored using appropriate GIS technology as available.

   Need for attention to infectious diseases from water borne illnesses, such as malaria,
    dysentery, etc.
    Though not prevalent throughout the entire river basin the presence of water borne illnesses
    such as malaria should be investigated, especially as they tend to increase after natural
    disasters such as flooding, which are expected to become more common throughout the
    region.

   Need for informational campaign on water sanitation at the local level
    There is a need to enhance capacity of municipal governments to address water
    management issues in a low cost, low technology manner, develop training or awareness
    building of public health linkages to municipal waste treatment, developing waste
    management and land fill citing standards region-wide away from river beds, create
    informational materials for community level stakeholders on practices to improve local
    water quality.

   Develop environmental and water management training for local populations


                                                43
   The concerns over problems with water were pervasive among community level
   stakeholders throughout the region. Immediately all stakeholders were eager to discuss
   concerns and frequently wanted to know what could be done to improve the conditions.
   Though interviewers were unable to answer this question immediately, the request for
   information, in concert with high literacy rates and low employment, suggests that if
   training were available, there would be high level of interest from local populations. It may
   be worth considering developing a training curriculum for local population „experts‟ who
   could then assist local and neighboring communities in taking the steps to improve
   conditions. This will be further developed within the public involvement strategy for the
   project.


The recommendations emerging from the Quantitative SHA were those which were:
    Increase sectoral coordination and awareness raising, with targeted educational
       efforts: The analysis demonstrated that there is a lack of interdisciplinary approaches to
       water management with specific groups who traditionally bear responsibility for
       specific activities shifting potential culpability to other sectors. It is imperative that as
       the intersectoral committees come together to work on improving conditions that the
       focus of the meetings should be goal oriented and problem solving rather than assigning
       blame. This will help the members to work towards an improved future rather than
       deteriorate into potential bureaucratic posturing.

      Provide support for farmer education: the agricultural sector, including the Ministry
       of Agriculture and others should be exposed to targeted, positive, and actionable
       education and awareness building efforts that will increase awareness, provide farming
       specific benefits and emphasizing sustainable development principles.

      Schools through students and educators are eager for more information: This
       critical group should be specifically targeted to increase awareness of basic aquatic and
       ecosystem ecology, with potential linkages between similar activities in other regions
       and river basins. The educational materials should be age appropriate and whenever
       possible hands on activities that encourage students involvement in ecological
       stewardship.

      International and bilateral donors need support for environmental awareness
       building: The responses of the international and bilateral donor community suggest
       that there is a need to develop accessible information on environmental issues that can
       be included in their project design, development and implementation. Some donors
       already require environmental training, but the information available is often not
       specific to the region, is outdated or is not accessible to their targeted audiences.

      Public health care providers may be a key resource for information distribution:
       The public health care providers and the government agencies/ministries with oversight
       can provide significant support to stakeholders regarding the distribution of
       information, collection of data, and alerting threatened populations. Targeted
       informational materials and enhanced transboundary networking for health care
       providers can increase outreach and improve the human health in the region impacted
       by water conditions.
                                                44
      Targeted cross agency training and information exchange may increase project
       effectiveness: In order to emphasize proactive changes in current practices and policies
       it may be effective to introduce activities that will improve understanding and
       awareness of the importance of river health and techniques for improving it to those
       organizations who are currently involved in management. For example district water
       management officials should be included in project work where possible, perhaps with
       cross training with natural resources/environmental ministry officials.


The recommendations of the SHAG Team included:
Irrational Use of Water:
    - Introduce new methods for irrigation, such as drip irrigation instead of traditional
        canals and large scale flooding of fields
    - Support construction of small scale community reservoirs to minimize impacts of
        seasonal variation in flows
    - Create soaking wells and earthen berms around fruit trees, emphasize mulching
    - Implement user fees for water based on flow rates to households and apartment flats
    - Create farmers associations to work in different communities as a source of equipment
        and information technology regarding pesticides, new types of fertilizers and
        components of water usage
    - Seek assistance in the agricultural sector from bilateral and international donors in
        coordination with the UNDP/GEF project to make improvements to water flow
        challenges. These should include alternate irrigation methods, water monitoring
        approaches, and public awareness building.

Flooding and bank erosion:
   - Encourage and work with governments to limit domestic, agricultural or industrial
       construction in the flood zones to prevent loss of life and property
   - Develop and implement a public awareness plan to address herdsmen grazing livestock
       in areas flood prone areas, where deforestation and soil erosion is especially
       problematic
   - Endorse tree planting to reduce flooding impacts
   - Design a flood prevention and emergency response manual for communities with
       alternative practices in local languages to distribute throughout the region

Water Quality Degradation:
  - Teach farmers to proper agro chemical use, and application rates and timing
  - Teach farmers impacts on water may reduce some of the problems

Ecosystem Degradation
   - Include project focus on wetlands and link with other international efforts such as
       Ramsar
   - Implement fish ladders in any new hydro electric dam construction
   - Develop a concerted public awareness campaign on the importance of biodiversity
       would help increase attention to this issue
   - Host a coordinated region-wide Kura-Aras River Day, with different communities/
       groups going out to clean the local river banks
                                              45
As this is the first time that such an extended and involved SHA has been incorporated in the
PDF-B TDA/SAP development phase of GEF IWP, it is worth noting the specific inputs of
each segment of the SHA into the project process. This review is based on the findings
presented above, recommendations stemming from the various analyses and inputs into the
project as it developed.

The Qualitative SHA was done prior to the first meeting of the TTT where the priority
transboundary issues were decided. Because this analysis had been conducted, it was possible
at that juncture to introduce the concerns of the populations most impacted by degradation of
transboundary waters. While the issues riparian residents were most concerned about –
specifically access to drinking water was not specifically a transboundary issue – the causes of
the lack of access to potable water fed into the discussion and determination of the TTT.
Additionally, by providing the TTT members with an overview of their concerns, it was
possible to emphasize that there are populations that are in need of information and technical
expertise held by the TTT and the TTT members duty to assist these populations, rather than
focusing discussions on specific disciplinary agendas. The TTT also provided support for the
formation of the survey to be administered for the Quantitative SHA.

The Quantitative SHA faced several hurdles- primarily the lack of full information from three
of the four countries. However, the information available and subsequent findings informed the
development of the TDA, the project priorities and recommended areas where specific actions
may be targeted in the future. Also, looking at stakeholder concerns regarding specific issues
and by specific groups we have a more complete understanding of what the socio-political
terrain for the project to navigate. Further the Quantitative SHA provides a rudimentary
empirical baseline of stakeholder concerns and opinions that can serve to inform the progress
of future work conducted by the project by gauging the shifts in attitudes over time.

The Stakeholder Advisory Group was a particularly interesting exercise as the members of the
group came together with local experience and transboundary interests. They brought a high
level of expertise which was distinct from that of the TTT, and were able to review the TDA
and the project from their unique vantage points. Additionally their input was incorporated into
the final draft, as well as into the development of the Preliminary SAP. The value of the SHAG
to the project was a high quality of input from stakeholders that involved extended discussions,
potential activities and interventions based on the realities on the ground. As a result of their
input, stakeholder involvement activities which will emphasize indigenous solutions to the
specific issues of concern to stakeholders will be incorporated into the FSP and affiliated
project designs.




                                               46
ANNEX 1

                          UNDP/GEF Environmental Governance Project
  “Reducing Trans-boundary Degradation of the Kura-Aras River Basin through Public Involvement and
                              Stakeholder Inclusion in Governance”


                                   Kura Aras Qualitative Stakeholder Analysis


                                                    Summer 2005


                                           Mary M. Matthews, Ph.D.
                                 Public Involvement Expert/Stakeholder Analyst



Executive Summary
The Kura Aras Qualitative Stakeholder Analysis (QLSA) was conducted in order to directly attain the opinions of
the residents throughout the river basin about water quality and quantity issues, to ascertain their perceptions of
water management challenges, and to identify the region wide concerns for the TDA/SAP process. The QLSA
focused primarily on the concerns of those community members within the transboundary river basin because
they are most directly impacted by water quality and water quantity challenges. Traditionally, perceptions of these
stakeholders in riparian communities are under-represented in the national and regional water management
strategies and yet they can play a key role in successful river basin management plan implementation. In order for
the public stakeholders to be active participants in environmental governance, it is critical that their common and
tranboundary priority concerns are included in the larger scale Quantitative Stakeholder Analysis (QNSA) survey
and within the TDA/SAP process.

The QLSA was conducted between 14 June and 8 July in the Kura Aras River Basin as part of the UNDP/GEF
Environmental Governance Project “Reducing Trans-boundary Degradation of the Kura-Aras River Basin through
Public Involvement and Stakeholder Inclusion in Governance” and in preparation for the UNDP/GEF Project
“Reducing Transboundary Water Degradation in the Kura and Aras River Basin”. The analysis was conducted by
the Public Involvement Expert/Stakeholder Analyst (PIE) with the assistance of national and local stakeholder
consultants recruited through this project. The analysis focused on riparian communities of Azerbaijan, Georgia
and Armenia. Due to technical difficulties it was not possible to conduct the analysis within I.R. Iran; however a
supplementary analysis will be submitted as soon as conditions permit.

This report covers the objectives of the Qualitative Stakeholder Analysis (QLSA), the methodology employed, the
findings of the qualitative surveys, an analysis of these findings, and recommendations to the project based upon
this analysis. A draft stakeholder analysis survey is included, and will be finalized following the visit to I.R. Iran.

The specific objectives of the Qualitative Stakeholder Analysis (QLSA) are to: interview underrepresented groups
in order to identify priority concerns; provide the analyst with a first hand account of socio-economic conditions
along the river basin; inform the development of a quantitative survey instrument; and, identify stakeholders to
serve as members of the stakeholder advisory group for the TDA/SAP process.

The methodology for the QLSA involved conducting community visits based on the advice of the national and
local stakeholder consultants. Community visits involved meeting with individuals within the communities, and
conducting interviews using a series of open ended questions about water quality and quantity issues. These
responses were carefully noted and analyzed following the completion of the interview component of the study.

Based on these responses a series of analysis points were developed, focusing on the most frequently occurring
responses to the questions asked. The initial analysis suggests that the highest priority concern of all stakeholders
in the riparian communities is the need for regular access to clean and safe drinking water. Throughout the entire

                                                          47
river basin, this was the most prevalent response. Other concerns include quality of water for irrigation, quantity
of water for irrigation and household use, concerns about untreated sewage and municipal wastes, and concerns
about the impact of water issues on the health, ranging from dysentery to malaria. These analysis points will be
included in the broader statistically analyzed QNSA to be conducted in autumn 2005.

Based on this initial phase of the stakeholder analysis, future studies in the TDA may include: conduct a region
wide river health survey within the river basin, investigate impacts of the lack of sewage treatment throughout the
region, monitor water quality used for irrigation, study the impacts of dumping of industrial and agricultural
wastes on water quality, study prevalence of infectious water borne diseases such as malaria and dysentery,
develop information campaign on water sanitation for use at the municipal and local levels, and develop
environmental and water management training for local populations.

This study serves as a preliminary step in the larger stakeholder analysis, and the development of the public
involvement strategy. The stakeholders who have been the focus of this analysis have voiced strong support for
these projects, they are eager to have improved local water conditions and supply, and they are aware that their
own activities can contribute to improvements. Frequently interviewees asked where they could obtain additional
information and were very supportive of the idea of public involvement in environmental governance.

Introduction
The Kura Aras QLSA is part of the effort to include public participation and improve stakeholder involvement in
transboundary water management. The QLSA will combine with a Quantitative Stakeholder Analysis to examine
the range of concerns, perceptions and priorities of water management issues throughout the Kura and Aras Basin.
The objective of the full Stakeholder Analysis (SHA) is to identify trends in perceptions across a wide array of
stakeholder groups throughout the full river basin. The identification of priority issues that are common and
transboundary in nature enables the project to assist the stakeholders, and governments in taking steps to address
concerns and improve conditions. The full SHA of trends in perceptions are also aimed at identifying tensions
between stakeholder groups throughout the region pertaining to water resource use issues, and to take steps to
reduce these tensions through project activities.

The QLSA summarized here was conducted as part of the UNDP/GEF Environmental Governance Project
“Reducing Trans-boundary Degradation of the Kura-Aras River Basin through Public Involvement and
Stakeholder Inclusion in Governance” and in preparation for the UNDP/GEF Project “Reducing Transboundary
Water Degradation in the Kura and Aras River Basin”. The findings of the QLSA will be combined with the
QNSA based on a large scale survey of a broad array of stakeholders. Based on the findings of these combined
analyses, recommendations will be made to the Technical Task Team for the TDA, and subsequently activities
and objectives for the SAP. The SHA will also serve as a basis for the development of the public involvement
strategy of the project. It will also serve to inform the public involvement component within demonstration
projects to be implemented within the SAP in combination with the NGO Forum, already initiated as part of this
Environmental Governance component.

Objectives
The specific objectives of the Qualitative Stakeholder Analysis (QLSA) are:
      1. to interview underrepresented groups in order to identify priority concerns;
      2. to provide the analyst with a first hand account of socio-economic conditions along the river basin;
      3. to inform the development of a quantitative survey instrument; and,
      4. to identify stakeholders to serve as members of the stakeholder advisory group for the TDA/SAP
           process.

The QLSA was conducted in order to provide an initial forum for those community members living along the
river basin to participate in the identification of priority water management concerns. Farmers, public health care
providers, district water management officials, women, and the broader general public were asked to describe
their priority concerns regarding water issues. These groups are often not provided with a means to voice their
concerns, and yet they are the most impacted segment of the broader stakeholder community. Additionally, the
every day practices of these groups strongly impact their own conditions and the conditions of those down stream,
and as such interviewing them and regarding their perceptions provides important insights.



                                                         48
 The second objective was to provide the PIE (Public Involvement Expert) with a first hand accounting of the
challenges for water management throughout the river basin giving the analyst an opportunity to examine the local
social and economic conditions. These conditions are described in other reports and statistical analysis yet to
understand the context in which the project, and public involvement component of the project are placed, site
visits and field studies are critical for the assessment. This assessment includes a first hand observation of social
and economic conditions facing stakeholders throughout the region, which sets the stage for the Quantitative
Stakeholder Analysis, and recommendations to the Technical Task Team and CTA in the TDA/SAP Process.

The third objective of the QLSA is to provide critical information for the larger scale Quantitative Stakeholder
Analysis. The Quantitative Stakeholder Analysis (QNSA) relies on a standardized survey to be administered to a
broad array of stakeholders throughout the river basin and water management community. For an initial list of
stakeholders please see the draft survey in Annex 1, and for a review of their anticipated involvement in issues,
see Annex 2. The draft of the survey in located in Annex 1, and will be finalized following the site visit to Iran. It
is intended that approximately 125 surveys will be collected from stakeholders of all types in each country with a
total of 500 for the full region. The information garnered from these surveys will allow the PIE to gauge the
perceptions and levels of concerns of a wide array of stakeholder groups across the region based on statistical
analysis. This will identify the specific areas of tensions, agreements and priorities of stakeholders throughout the
region based on a broad range of the stakeholder population in a region-wide context. The quantitative analysis of
wider stakeholder groups will build on the initial concerns identified within the QLSA, and from the TTT scoping
workshop. From this QNSA, the trends among larger populations of stakeholders can be measured, areas of
potential conflict can be identified, and recommendations for action developed for the TDA and SAP.

The fourth objective is to identify stakeholder representatives who can serve as members of a Stakeholder
Advisory Group (SHA Group) for the project, drawing on a wide array of groups with varying interests and inputs
into the issues of transboundary water management. Via meetings with stakeholders from throughout the river
basin, the PIE, with support of the local and national consultants in each country, selects representative
stakeholders who will be able to articulate their concerns in the SHA Group. This group will provide feedback
from a range of groups who are not formalized stakeholder groups, but are key to the success of the project. They
will provide advice to the CTA and TTT in the scoping workshop to determine priorities to be set within the
TDA/SAP process. Additionally, these stakeholder advisors will assist the project by acting as project liaisons for
those communities they represent.

These objectives have been reached through this QLSA for the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. It
is anticipated that an additional QLSA will be conducted for Iran in the autumn of 2005.


Methodology
The first stage of the QLSA was to conduct a literature review to examine issues that are of high relevance to
successful river basin management. This includes review of international and national press over the past several
years, review of pertinent academic literature, project documents, related projects and regional issues that impact
integrated river basin management. Additional sources, such as selected web sites, studies, and socio-economic
analysis also provided insights into the situation under consideration. Supplementary research for further issue
clarification was conducted as well. For an over view of the findings of the literature review please see Annex 2,
which identifies stakeholder groups, the levels they impact and/or are impacted by specific issues.

The second stage of the QLSA was to review the project goals and objectives with national and local stakeholder
consultants for each country. The national and local stakeholder analysts were appointed and contracted within the
first stages of the project. The national stakeholder analyst is an individual, generally with an NGO background
and training in social sciences methodologies. These individuals assisted the PIE determine which communities to
visit, provided translation from local languages to English and Russian for the PIE during interviews. They will
also be responsible for coordination of the distribution of quantitative survey development and for interviewing
government officials and other stakeholder groups during the survey period. The local stakeholder consultant is a
member of a community located in the transboundary river basin, who is familiar with local concerns, farming
practices, and development projects within the basin, though formal training and NGO membership was not
required for this position. The local stakeholder analyst provided expertise and insights for additional support in
identification of sites and individuals for interviews, translation and stakeholder concerns. The local consultant
will be responsible for distributing the quantitative survey within the rural transboundary regions to local

                                                         49
stakeholders, as well as providing support to the national consultant during the next phase of the SHA. Together,
these consultants provide valuable local and national expertise to the PIE regarding issue specific concerns of the
stakeholders.

An in-country itinerary was agreed to based on the recommendations and expertise of the local and national
stakeholder consultants, the information garnered from the literature review. In cases where specific individuals
were contacted prior to interviews, these people were alerted to the SHA visit the day of or the day prior to the
visit. Accompanied by the national and/or local stakeholder consultant, the PIE conducted interviews with
members of communities along the Kura and Aras. See Map 1 for a review of the locations visited and Table 1 for
the itinerary and types of community level stakeholders interviewed.

Interviews lasted between 20 minutes to several hours. A brief description of the projects focusing on the need to
ascertain community concerns about water issues was given in the local language. Standard questions asked
included:
 What is your biggest concern about water? Why is that?
 What other concerns do you have about water? Can you describe these problems?
 What is the cause of these problems?
 Is water available at all times?
 Is the water safe to drink? (If no) What sorts of problems do people experience from drinking the water?
     Where does your water come from?
 Who is responsible for making sure water supply is safe and regular?
 What do you do with household waste water?
 How does your community manage sewerage sanitation? In the case of canalization, where does that water
     go?
 What water do you use for irrigation in your yard? Where does the water for irrigation of crops come from?
     What other water problems are there?
 Do you think the water from the river is safe to drink?
 Do you think that the water used for irrigation is of good quality?
 What types of problems do they have downstream with the water? Would you use the water down stream for
     drinking or irrigation?
 Where do you get information about water?
 Do you have any questions for us about water issues?
 Is there anything else you would like us to know or to make note of?

These questions served as the basis for interviews. There was variation depending on the responses and issues
raised by the stakeholders within the interview process. Often if there were several people involved in the
interview process, they would have discussions about the responses in the local language, reach an agreement and
provide a single answer to the analyst. Table 1 provides a summary of communities visited and types of
stakeholders interviewed, Map 1, displays the approximate location of these field visits.

Table 1
Date Country        Places visited                Stakeholders Interviewed
14-6    AZ          Salyan, Neftchala, Ali-       power plant workers
                    Bairmly                       fishermen
15-6    AZ          Saatly, Sabiribad, Imishli,   farmers, housewives, animal husbandry, pensioners
                    Belegan
17-6    AZ          Goychay, Agdash, Sheki        towns people, public health care provider, recreation industry
18-6    AZ          Gakh, Zagatela, Balaken,      pensioners, farmers, shop keepers, mountain spring water tanker
                    Yevlakh, Mighchevar,          truck drivers, towns people, tourist
                    Geranbouy, Ganja
19-6    AZ          Shamkir, Tovuz, Gazakh,       farmers, district water management official, towns people
                    Aghstafa
24-6    GE          Kazreti, Bolnisi, Marnuli     public health care provider, pensioners, shopkeepers, community
                                                  activists, minority ethnic community members, farmers
1-7     GE          Gurjaani, Telavi, Cnori       municipal water management specialists, housewives, shop
                                                  keepers, local NGOs and water basin association members
2-7     GE          Rustavi, Garabani             housewives, shop keepers, pensioners
6-7     AR          Ichevan, Ditavan,             shopkeepers, retired geologists, soldiers wives in border village,
                                                          50
                     Kayanavan, Aghivovit         post mistresses, pensioners, children and animal husbandry,
                                                  farmers
7-7     AR           Goris, Kapan, Mehgri,        district water management official for Southern Armenia, shop
                     Agarak                       managers, townspeople, pensioners
8-7     AR           Ararat, Hovstashen,          shopkeepers, water management specialists, towns people,
                     Noramag, Siatnovi            pensioners, farmers


Map 1 Approximate location of site visits




These responses were compiled and reviewed for prevalence of remarks and trends in responses from geographic
location, stakeholder group membership and location of community in terms of highland and lowland locations.

Findings
The communities along the river basin have been separated by nationality because of the different teams working
on these sets of interviews with the analyst. In cases where there are geographic variation impacting responses
within countries this division is noted within the problem description. The responses here are summaries of
interviews and based solely on the perceptions of the respondents. Issues of misinformation or a lack of
understanding of ecological and hydrological processes suggest that there is a need address misconceptions these
within the educational component of the public involvement strategy.

Azerbaijan
Lack of potable water sources – The stakeholders throughout the Kura and Aras river basins cited this as primary
concern. Though some communities and households have artesian wells, the geology in the region does not
always permit these water sources to be tapped. As a result, or a due to lack of artesian wells, the population relies
upon water from the river for drinking. Government statistics suggest that up to 70% of the population rely on

                                                          51
rivers for drinking water. The community level stakeholders believe that when water filtration is available, the
systems are often only mechanical, sorting out solids in the water via screens and do not significantly purify the
water through chemical or biological means. In some cases, respondents report the use of large semi porous stones
used to filter water. Some local stakeholder report that these stones filter out the impurities in the water, and they
believe it makes it safe to drink. However, they say it takes a very long time for water to filter through these and
therefore they are not widely used. Boiling of drinking water is used some of the time, though not always.

Lack of sewage treatment for whole basin – Throughout the river basin there was a tendency to use the river as a
sewerage system, and raw sewage was dumped on river banks or flowed directly into the river untreated. In cases
where outhouses (latrine type toilets) are used, they are often pumped out and wastes dumped in the flood plain
immediate next to the river or directly into the river to be swept down stream. Also canals for waste are channeled
into water sources that are both standing water, or into canals used for irrigation drainage water. Yard wastes,
wastes from barns, trash including metals and plastics, and animal wastes are also frequently dumped directly into
the river, especially in smaller and densely populated communities.

Lack of clean water for irrigation (also lack of non-saline water) - The lack of clean, non-saline water is a high
priority concern for the rural stakeholders in Azerbaijan. The prevalent belief among community level
stakeholders is that the inundation of saline water from ineffective irrigation drainage systems sources has created
significant problems for agricultural development. The concern is that their irrigation water from rivers and
irrigation canals is often too salty for agricultural use, yet the waters in the irrigation drainage collector systems
flow throughout a large portion of the country via collector/drainage canals constructed during the Soviet era.
However a dilapidated infrastructure to support these canals means that there is frequent mixing of fresh and
saline water due to drainage canals flowing into river systems without sufficient dilution. There is a World Bank
Irrigation Distribution System & Management Improvement project aimed in part at improving these drainage
canals, and possible attention to this through the World Bank Azerbaijan Rural Investment Project; however this
continues to be a high level of concern among stakeholder in the region. This saline water also impacts the
drinking water in some communities.

Flooding and stagnant water – The spring flooding in Azerbaijan, specifically in low lands has created significant
problems for the riparian populations. Fields, individual plots and some towns are flooded out and residents forced
to relocate, both temporarily and permanently. The ramifications of this flooding also include problems of
stagnant pools of water that become sources of public health concerns including malaria from mosquitoes. In
additional often leakage from the irrigation canals and drainage collectors creates shallow ponds, which become
stagnant and infested with mosquitoes. It appears that the soils in some areas are waterlogged as a result of either
flooding or irrigation infrastructure degradation.

Public health problems from mosquitoes, poor quality drinking water, skin infections from water – Community
level stakeholders often stated that they felt that there were threats to public health from water including illnesses
spread by mosquitoes such as malaria, stomach and throat problems from drinking unclean water, and skin
infections for those coming into contact with river water. Though malaria is not prevalent in all communities, it is
reported in the lowlands of the country, as well as within the Alazani river basin. The skin infections impact hands
of women washing clothes in the river, and people who swim in the rivers and canals. The prevalence of
gastrointestinal illnesses is reported to be high by stakeholders, especially among communities without access to
artesian wells.

Pollution from sources upstream – The concern about pollution from upstream sources was not as prevalent as
initially expected, however in communities near the borders, especially borders with Armenia and Georgia, this
concern was voiced more frequently. There is concern about the pollution from industrial centers and metal ore
mining upstream across borders. Over all the concerns of community level stakeholders were most frequently
voiced in regards to a power plant discharging water into the river near Ali Bayrami and downstream from the
aluminum processing plant near Mighchevar, and Ganja. Municipal pollution from communities upstream was not
a high priority concern, though people rarely felt the water below their village was safe to use for bathing or
irrigation, because of their disposal of wastes into the river.

Lack of capacity, information to improve conditions – When stakeholders were asked what was needed to improve
conditions, a majority of respondents said that more information about water management was needed by the local
people. They felt that there was a lack of reliable educational materials about environment and water issues and

                                                          52
were eager to have access to these. They also felt that the municipal governments needed support in developing
solutions to the water problems. Respondents seem unwilling to blame the government for the conditions, though
they felt that intervention and support from international organizations would be the most expedient way to
improve conditions. Interviews with water specialists stated they felt that the lack of materials for laboratories,
and poor infrastructure limited their ability to monitor or improve conditions. They also stated that funds from the
government had been promised but were not yet available.

Georgia
Lack of reliable water flow for households and irrigation – The primary concern among stakeholders in Georgia
was the lack of reliable water flow for households, drinking water and irrigation use. This lack of water was
linked to declining infrastructure at the district and local level, and extended to the problems of outdated plumbing
within apartment houses. There were also concerns that the irregular flow of water impacting health as water was
frequently not available for proper cleaning and sanitation.

Lack of municipal government attention to water management – Stakeholders in Georgia often stated that they felt
that the municipal governments did not give sufficient priority to ensuring and protecting the water supply. While
water supply is the responsibility of the local municipal governments, in several communities there was the
perception that these bodies lacked the initiative or income to sufficiently address the need for reliable, quality
water. Municipal government officials agreed that there was a lack of financial resources to support the degraded
infrastructure of the domestic water supply sources; however they did say they expect that the national
government will provide some support for improvement projects.

Health problems from water used for irrigation – In the communities below Kazreti there was a high level of
concern about the condition of the water used for irrigation. Members of these communities said that though they
generally had drinking water pumped down from the mountain springs, the water used for irrigation of vegetable
plots, gardens and farm lands. The stakeholders in these communities spoke of problems with children‟s health,
low live birth rates/high infant mortality rates, and other health problems that resulted from the chemicals in the
water from the mining industries above Kazreti. It should be noted that there has been a public awareness
campaign regarding these issues by a national NGO working in the area. Additionally, there were concerns about
the wine making industry dumping acids into the river in the Telavi region. These concerns were focused in areas
below those with heavy industry, with the exception of communities below Rustavi, one of the most industrialized
areas on the Kura river, where those living down stream felt the water quality for irrigation was fine.

Dumping of untreated wastes into rivers – There was some degree of concern about the dumping of untreated
wastes into the rivers, both in terms of industrial waste, but also from untreated municipal wastes. In several
instances, the closing of large industrial factories also meant that treatment that had once existed is no longer
viable and as such there was some degree of concern about the water down stream, though they also felt that the
crops grown down stream from the industrial center Rustavi were some of the best quality available in Georgia.
As in Azerbaijan, the stakeholders questioned in Georgia did not think that the water below their community was
clean, though thought the water they use is cleaner and therefore acceptable because it comes from upstream.

Need for electricity to pump water – A concern about the lack of water for household and irrigation use also stems
from the perception that there is inadequate power to provide electricity for water pumps. In some cases
communities only had several hours of running water per week, and were struggling to find alternative solutions.

Flooding and associated problems – Seasonal rains and high melt rates from mountains increased flooding and
several communities suggested that this had caused serious problems with water supplies, clean water or health
problems related to water use. In several cases, respondents noted that standing pools of water were stagnant and
created health problems. In one case in the low lands of the Alazani river basin, malaria was reported to have
infected 30% of the community, though treatment had been provided by the government.

Low water quality needs treatment with chlor – In many cases people cited the problems of water held in cisterns
over long periods of time needing to be treated with “chlor” (assume chlorine). This was the case especially in
communities where water was pumped from sources outside the community and held for local use. This was
mentioned especially in communities where water supply was not consistent and so water needed to be stored
over long periods of time within homes and yards. The amounts of chlorine used for this is unknown though may
be worth considering.

                                                         53
No sewage treatment and crossing of pipes – In several communities there were concerns voiced about the
dilapidated infrastructure of the water system. There were cases where water pipes bringing water into apartments
or communities were believed to be crossed with sewerage pipes taking water out. It was believed that this
occurred on a fairly regular basis, though no treatment of water was done as a result.

Filtration in factories no longer working – In communities within below the industrial city of Rustavi, there was
concern that when the factories were working that filtered water was delivered to the local communities as a by-
product of the industrial process. Stakeholders said that these filtration systems were no longer active since the
factories had been closed and so they no longer received the same quality water that they had before.

Armenia
Health problems from drinking water – In communities throughout Armenia the water supply to the whole
community was generally perceived to be more reliable than that in Georgia, though the often stakeholders
commented that they were not able to drink the water that come into their home and instead preferred to carry
water from public sinks within the community. The water they drink in the mountainous regions comes from
springs via pipe systems installed during the Soviet era. These pipes are now showing signs of wear and can be
damaged by extreme temperatures. Stakeholders were concerned that the sources are frequently not protected
from grazing animals defecating near these sources. In most communities people spoke of problems with kidneys
and throat ailments as a result of drinking the local water. There was the belief that the water contained excessive
amounts of potassium in some cases and was the causes of these illnesses.

Must drink water from river rather than artesian wells – In the communities within the Ararat plain, on the border
with Turkey, several communities had access to artesian wells, however did not trust this water for drinking
because it flowed through neighboring communities before their own, so they drank river water instead. They
realized that this river water, which is just down stream from Yerevan frequently made them ill, but they felt it
was a better alternative than the artesian water, which they thought to be polluted by neighboring communities. In
other cases, the respondents spoke of the artesian water and the river water both being salty, and leaving residues
on glasses and plants when used for irrigation.

Irregular water supply because of infrastructure outdated – While the general consensus was that the water
supply in the mountainous regions was relatively good, there were concerns about outdated infrastructure and in
some cases a lack of water to the communities at all. In border areas this was seen to be the sentiment that there
was not adequate investment of resources for improving conditions in these locations.

Piped in drinking water, wastes dumped in rivers – Though of less concern in most communities in Armenia it
was widely acknowledged that all wastes are dumped into the river to be carried downstream. Generally, except in
some urban areas, it was believed that no treatment was done to the wastes, and in urban areas the wastes were
mechanically treated, with solids being separated from the other wastes before being dumped in the river waters.
When respondents were asked if they had concerns about people using the water down stream they were certain
that all water drawn from the river for human use would be appropriately treated. Within major urban areas of
Armenia, there are investments in improving water quality, funded by international donors and conducted by
European firms, however

Lack of sanitation – In several cases there was a concern among stakeholders that there was an over all lack of
sanitation in the water and that water needed to be treated with “chlor” though it was not always feasible to do
this. There was also some concern that water pipes and sewerage pipes may be crossing and contaminating water.

Health problems – In the Ararat plain there were several accounts of health problems from water use, including
kidney problems from the minerals in the water, and malaria as a result of the standing pools of water. Also
people throughout the country complained that there were problems with their throats and necks as a result of
drinking the water from the pipes, though it has not been possible to ascertain the specific cause of this illness.

Hydroelectric economic development – It should be noted that in the border region with Iran, there was a good
deal of support among local stakeholders for the pending damming of the Aras (tributaries) for hydro electric
power. It was not known exactly how this would occur, or if there would be significant flooding problems,


                                                         54
     however the sense was that the economic benefits from the construction of the dam would be a much needed
     boost to the local communities.



     Analysis of Findings
     These findings over all suggest that there are far more similarities among stakeholders than differences. These
     similarities should be highlighted to the extent possible. This analysis suggests that while there are other larger
     issues at stake, at the local level, the perceptions of these problems are more local than regional or national. These
     problems are mainly local and common problems rather than transboundary problems, however they share these
     concerns and in some cases the compounded problems become transboundary. These issues are analyzed
     following the analysis of priority regional concerns.

       Table 2
      Issues of concern for local stakeholders / river basin
                                                                       Armenia      Azerbaijan Georgia              Overall
                             residents
Lack of potable water sources and related health problems
(lack of potable water sources and agro or industrial pollution)
Lack of sewage treatment/ municipal waste management
(municipal waste dumping/ untreated sewage)
Lack of clean water for irrigation inc. lack of non-saline water
(agro or industrial pollution and unmet irrigation needs)
Flooding and associated problems
(soil salinization)
Malaria from standing water
(water impacts on public health)
Infrastructure decline (unmet irrigation needs, lack of access to
water for domestic use, lack of potable water sources)
Irregular water supply to households
(lack of access to water for domestic use)
 Key:           Red = high level concern, Yellow = medium level concern, teyyubismayilov@yahoo.com
                (in parentheses – comparable issues from literature review analysis)

     The regional stakeholder priority concerns are compiled in Table 2. This table provides a graphic summary of the
     levels of concern for the various problems identified through the stakeholder analysis and literature review (see
     Table 3 in Annex). The terminology and classification of problems overlap a small amount through the
     perceptions of the stakeholders and have been addressed as such. The top concern across the region was the lack
     of potable water sources. The perception is that the water is not clean, due to sewage dumping, and industrial
     wastes, though often this was not specifically articulated. The second most prevalent regional concern was
     infrastructure decline which results in a lack of access to water for domestic use and unmet irrigation needs, and
     also lack of potable water sources). The third and fourth most frequently articulated concern was the lack of
     clean, non-saline water for irrigation and irregular water supply to households, again closely linked to the decline
     of infrastructure. The lowest priority articulated issues were the lack of sewage treatment and municipal waste
     management for local communities. There is awareness about this issue throughout the region; however they were
     not the first that stakeholders mentioned when asked what their priority concerns were. They frequently would say
     this was a problem, and agreed that something needed to be done to improve conditions. Additionally, it is the
     primary reason they did not want to drink or bathe in the water downstream from their community.

     Of concerns voiced by stakeholders throughout the region, malaria as a result of standing water was mentioned by
     stakeholders in all countries, but not in all regions. This concern was prevalent in areas where the land was flatter
     and more prone to flooding. The malaria was not as pernicious as that in Sub Saharan Africa, though in
     communities where it occurred, respondents said that up to 40% of the population was infected.

     These common concerns are more fully explored below as part of the twelve points of analysis that can be drawn
     from these findings.



                                                               55
1) Stakeholders at the local level are very concerned about drinking water, both in terms of the
   quality and quantity available - This very immediate concern was voiced by almost all respondents
   within the first moments of the interviews. These concerns are linked directly to human health issues and
   the high level of awareness suggests that this should be addressed as a top priority issue for this project.
   The concern about drinking water quality in general was higher in Azerbaijan; however generally the
   concern about quantity was higher in areas where water flow was less regular due to the need for
   electricity for pumping water and infrastructural issues as in Georgia and Armenia. Respondents
   throughout were concerned that they were having health problems as a result of drinking water, from
   throat problems, to kidney problems, to a large number of gastrointestinal problems. There was some
   mention of the presence of metals in the water, though over all this concern was less frequently
   articulated, except immediately down stream from major industrial or mining centers where drinking
   water was drawn from the rivers. The types of illnesses experienced in these cases were not identified,
   though there was awareness that this had an impact. Over all the impacts of water borne illness on human
   health were well understood by stakeholders.

2) Lack of sewage treatment and municipal waste management were common concerns - The concern
   about health impacts from improper waste management are closely linked to the availability of potable
   water. In cases throughout the river basin, untreated or only mechanically treated (filtered) wastes were
   dumped into the river as a means of disposal. Within rural and farming communities, it was common to
   see barn wastes, including manure and sludge from outhouses dumped into the river banks to be swept
   away by the river. At almost ever river bed surveyed near towns or agricultural communities this was the
   case throughout the entire river basin. Also, below large towns, and soviet style apartment block villages
   it was believed that wastes were directly dumped into the nearby rivers, as a result of degraded
   infrastructure and outdated planning. Historically there were soakaways or septic tanks but it is believed
   that these have fallen into disrepair. Most of the waste water treatment works constructed during the
   Soviet era are no longer working either due to damaged collector systems or the cost of power to
   maintain them. Though not tested at this point the impact of this waste on water quality is expected to be
   high and potentially problematic for downstream communities.

3) Lack of infrastructure for water – The lack of repairs and maintenance to water systems for both
   household and community use and agriculture is significant. Discussion regarding who bears the primary
   responsible for some of the water infrastructure problems varied from country to country. The over all
   decline in the sewerage systems, drinking water pipes, irrigation systems and other infrastructure
   pertaining to water management had generally not been repaired for more than 20 years, and in some
   cases more than half a century. This lack of repair has created problems of water being wasted, drinking
   water and sewerage pipes being crossed and over all decline in living conditions for the residents of the
   river basins. Though this in and of itself is not a transboundary water problem, it contributes significantly
   to the quality of life of residents and has secondary impacts on transboundary issues. It should be noted
   that during the Soviet era, there was no charge to water users, and the expectation of state support for this
   support continues, though strained state budgets often to not filter down to maintaining municipal water
   systems.

4) Lack of water quality and quantity for irrigation – This concern was voiced through out the region,
   especially by those directly dependent on irrigation for crops, those in secondary support industries and
   public healthcare providers. The perception was that even when household water resources were being
   met, generally there was a lack of attention to the quality of water used for irrigation when it was
   available. People often raised the issue of being charged for irrigation water, in part to pay for the power
   to pump the water, but also due to the problem of monopolization of irrigation water. This problem was
   noted in areas where a well or pump had been “privatized” by an individual who then was able to charge
   high rates for use of the water in the community. In some areas, specifically in the Ararat plain of
   Armenia and the lower plains of Azerbaijan, there was also concern about the inundation of salt water in
   the irrigation channels and rivers, and the negative impacts this had on crops. The perception of the
   community level stakeholders was that the degraded infrastructure was mainly at fault; though flooding
   also exacerbated the problem. It should be noted that none of the stakeholders interviewed felt that their
   own farming practices were contributing to this problem.



                                                    56
   5) Stakeholders believed water was cleaner from upstream - Interestingly, repeatedly people said that
      the water taken from upstream was cleaner than the water below their community, and while the water
      upstream would be safe for use for irrigation, bathing and possibly drinking, they felt that the water
      downstream would not be. This occurred throughout the river basin. Additionally, when asked if they
      thought the people below used water for similar purposes, the general response was that they believed
      people downstream had treatment facilities available for purify the water prior to use.

   6) Municipal governments lack capacity to address water issues – when asked who bore the
      responsibility for addressing the water quality and quantity issues, by and large the responses were
      focused on the municipal or district level governments. The sentiment seemed to be that the municipal
      government had the duty to provide water to the community; however, there was also a general belief
      that the municipal governments lacked the capacity to do this. Often community members alluded to a
      belief the municipal government was given money to address water concerns, but those in charge elected
      to invest the money elsewhere, instead of in improved capacity. Though the municipal government water
      managers generally disagreed that they lacked the capacity, they stated repeatedly that they were not
      being given the promised resources to enable them to successfully meet the demands. These resources
      included laboratory support, new pipes, money for improvements to infrastructure and such that were due
      from the district or national governments.

   7) Flooding is seen as a challenge that harms local communities - The over all concern was much lower
      than anticipated given the amount of flood damage caused over the past several years within the region.
      It may be that more immediate concerns of lack of potable water have again taken precedence among the
      stakeholders living under difficult conditions. The presence of large pools of stagnant water following
      flooding events a concern for stakeholders because of the prevalence of malaria in low lying regions.

   8) NGOs more concerned about institutional mechanisms for influencing policy decisions rather than
      priority issues of local stakeholders – The NGO forum hosted in conjunction with the Eurasia
      Foundation and the UNDP/GEF Environmental Governance component of this project focused on
      increasing civil society involvement in transboundary water management. During the conference, the
      NGOs were asked to list and rank the challenges for water management through out the region.
      Curiously, these groups were very highly focused on issues involving formalizing institutional
      mechanisms for influencing national policies rather than dealing specifically with the concerns raised by
      the stakeholders within the study. This may be due to their perception that without institutions for public
      involvement in the policy making process they will not have a voice. However, it may also be due to a
      lack of awareness of public concerns throughout the basin. Because many NGOs have a vested interest in
      increasing their influence in the decision making process, it is possible that they are not aware of the
      specific concerns of stakeholders focused on in this study.

   9) Disconnect between NGOs and local stakeholder populations – This is a common challenge in the
      civil society movement internationally, yet the important factor is to determine which NGOs are working
      with local stakeholder populations and further foster those relationships through the project, which,
      ideally, would enable those most directly impacted by the conditions to be given a direct voice in policies
      that impact them.

   10) Information sources from media, local municipalities, and neighbors – When stakeholders were
       asked where they obtained information about water issues, the replies were mainly: media, local
       municipalities and neighbors. When asked further if this information was adequate, the response was that
       the information was not regular and not especially reliable. This suggests that there is awareness of the
       need for additional information and that by enhancing the capacity of media and more importantly, the
       municipal governments, the project may be able to help educate local stakeholders. It should be noted
       that one representative of the municipal governments remarked that there should not be information
       released to the public about water issues until all repairs were done. This may be something that the
       project will need to maintain sensitivity to while building and implementing the public involvement
       component.

Recommendations for further studies


                                                      57
The findings and analysis of this study lead to a set of recommended studies for the TDA/SAP process. These
recommendations are intended to support the TDA Scoping process, as well and inform the public involvement
strategy.

   Need for river health monitoring and study region wide
    The overriding concern about the access and quality of potable water suggests that the highest priority
    concern among stakeholders pertains directly to health impacts of water borne illnesses. At present this
    information is only anecdotal and warrants further study. It must be acknowledged that in the past the
    governments of the Caucasus countries have been somewhat recalcitrant to support river health studies.
    Despite these potential limitations, if possible this may be one of the most informative studies for the TDA, if
    it is possible to conduct it. While it may be possible to conduct surrogate studies, it will be helpful to
    stakeholders to have empirical information upon which to base their concerns, and to take steps to improve
    conditions.

   Need for investigation into impact of lack of sewage treatment throughout the river basin
    There is a critical need to address the sewage treatment methods, and perhaps improve water quality through
    use of low tech, low cost municipal waste management strategies. The impetus for this may be to examine the
    levels of bacteria and solid waste matter that exists at regular points throughout the river basin.

   Monitoring of water quality for irrigation
    Though studies have been conducted into the water quality of the basin for USAID and other projects, these
    do not specifically draw the linkages between the water used for irrigation and the impacts of this on the
    health of the river basin system and its people.

   Need for study of impacts of dumping on water quality
    The dumping of wastes from agriculture and industry should be monitored to ascertain if there is sufficient
    dilution of effluents from point and non-point source pollution. The impacts of use of pesticides, and
    fertilizers should be investigated as they occur, and possibly monitored using appropriate GIS technology as
    available.

   Need for attention to infectious diseases from water borne illnesses, such as malaria, dysentery, etc.
    Though not prevalent throughout the entire river basin the presence of water borne illnesses such as malaria
    should be investigated, especially as they tend to increase after natural disasters such as flooding, which are
    expected to become more common throughout the region.

   Need for informational campaign on water sanitation at the local level
    There is a need to enhance capacity of municipal governments to address water management issues in a low
    cost, low technology manner, develop training or awareness building of public health linkages to municipal
    waste treatment, developing waste management and land fill citing standards region-wide away from river
    beds, create informational materials for community level stakeholders on practices to improve local water
    quality.

   Develop environmental and water management training for local populations
    The concerns over problems with water were pervasive among community level stakeholders throughout the
    region. Immediately all stakeholders were eager to discuss concerns and frequently wanted to know what
    could be done to improve the conditions. Though interviewers were unable to answer this question
    immediately, the request for information, in concert with high literacy rates and low employment, suggests
    that if training were available, there would be high level of interest from local populations. It may be worth
    considering developing a training curriculum for local population „experts‟ who could then assist local and
    neighboring communities in taking the steps to improve conditions. This will be further developed within the
    public involvement strategy for the project.




                                                         58
    ANNEX 1 Draft of survey
    (Introductory information about the survey to be developed)

1. _____     Country AR, AZ, GE, IR
2. _____     Gender (Male or Female)
3. _____     Age
4. _____     What best describes the area you live? A. Mountains, B. Plains, C. Lowlands D. Coasts
5. _____     U. Urban or R. Rural
6. _____     Proximity of your home to river in kilometers

7. _____      From the list below please indicate which stakeholder group(s) do you belong to? (Please do not
     select more than 2 groups)
1. Water, Hydro-                       27. Scientific
     meteorological                         community
     Department                        28. Educator
2. Natural Resources,                  29. Student
     Ecology or                        30. Farmer
     Environmental                     31. Agro-industry
     Ministry                          32. Pastoralists/ animal
3. Industry / Mining                        husbandry
     Ministry                          33. Public health care
4. Energy Ministry                          provider
5. Economic Ministry                   34. Members
6. Foreign Affairs                          community near the
     Ministry                               river
7. Defence Ministry                    35. Tourism/Recreation
8. Agriculture Ministry                     industry
9. Forestry Ministry                   36. Local press and
10. Fisheries Ministry                      media
11. Social Welfare /                   37. International
     Public Health                          Funding Inst
     Ministry                          38. Bilateral
12. Labour Ministry                         development agency
13. Mining industry                    39. Bilateral economic
14. Heavy industry                          SME organization
15. Light industry                     40. Charitable
16. Transportation                          organization
     Ministries
17. Parliamentary
     committees for
     environmental
     protection
18. Political Party
19. Regional
     government
20. District water
     management official
21. Municipal
     Government
22. Municipal waste
     manager
23. Nature preserve staff
24. National NGO
25. Local NGO
26. Community based
     organization

                                                   59
    8. _____        What is the source of your drinking water
               A.   artesian well,
               B.   spring water from pipes,
               C.   river water,
               D.   do not know

    9. _____        What is the source of local irrigation water:
               A.   artesian well,
               B.   spring water from pipes,
               C.   river water,
               D.   do not know

    Please rank these as high, medium or low priority concerns with
    5 for highest priority, 3 for medium and 0 for lowest priority

    10. _____ Lack of drinking water sources and related health problems (lack of potable water
         sources and agro or industrial pollution)

    11. _____ Lack of sewage treatment/ municipal waste management (municipal waste dumping/
         untreated sewerage)

    12. _____ Lack of clean water for irrigation inc. lack of non-saline water (agro or industrial
         pollution and unmet irrigation needs)

    13. _____       Flooding and associated problems(soil salinization)

    14. _____       Water impacts on public health (malaria or other illnesses)

    15. _____ Infrastructure decline (resulting in unmet irrigation needs, lack of access to water for
         domestic use, lack of potable water sources)

    16. _____       Irregular water supply to households(lack of access to water for domestic use)

For Questions 17 – 34 please rate your level of agreement with the following statements with 1 being
the strongest disagreement, and 7 being the highest level of agreement.


  strongly                         disagree                           agree                    strongly
                    disagree                     no opinion                       agree
  disagree                        somewhat                          somewhat                     agree
      1                2               3              4                 5          6               7


    17. _____ I do not worry about what is in the river water
    18. _____ The water in river communities is safe to drink
    19. _____ The water taken from the river is clean enough for irrigation uses
    20. _____ Eating fish from the river is always healthy
    21. _____ There is enough water for all groups who need it
    22. _____ Farmers need more water than they currently have
    23. _____ Flooding creates significant problems in river communities
    24. _____ People in river communities have been ill from water related causes
    25. _____ Economic development is the most important priority for my community
    26. _____ There is sufficient information about how to keep the river healthy
    27. _____ People in river communities have had malaria
    28. _____ People sometimes have skin problems after contact with water from the river
    29. _____ The water in river communities is only safe to drink after it is boiled
    30. _____ The water downstream from my community is treated before use by people in these
         communities
    31. _____ The river water from upstream (above) my community is safe to use
    32. _____ The government has the responsibility to keep the rivers healthy



                                                     60
33. _____    Each community should use the river however they want to
34. _____    Use of agro chemicals is safe for rivers and the environment
35. _____    My information about the conditions of the river comes mostly from television

Please rank the threats to the health of the Kura and/or Aras Rivers with 1 being the lowest threat
and 5 being the highest:
36. _____ Industrial pollution
37. _____ Municipal waste
38. _____ Sewerage waste
39. _____ Agricultural waste
40. _____ Flooding
41. _____ Other




                                              61
                 Qualitative SHA ANNEX 2 (for Qualitative study)
                 Table 3 Anticipated stakeholder concerns based on literature review
        Qualitative Stakeholder Analysis        Municipal    Agro or      Lack of     Water        Unmet       Lack of     Flooding        Hydro
                    Impact Table                 Waste      Industrial    Potable   impacts on   irrigation   access to     and soil      Electric
    Key:                                        Dumping/     Pollution     water      public      needs –     water for   salinization     Energy
Highly Impacted            Lower Impacting      untreated                 sources     health      Agricult.   domestic                   production
Lower Impacted             High Impacting       sewerage                                                         use
1. Water, Hydro-meteorological Departments
2. Natural Resources, Ecology or
             Environmental Ministries
3. Industry / Mining Ministries
4. Energy Ministries
5. Economic Ministries
6. Foreign Affairs Ministries
7. Defence Ministries
8. Agriculture Ministries
9. Forestry Ministries
10. Fisheries Ministries
11. Social Welfare / Public Health Ministries
12. Labour Ministries
13. Mining industry
14. Heavy industry
15. Light industry
16. Transportation Ministries
17. Parliamentary committees for
             environmental protection
18. Political Parties
19. Regional governments                                                                                            f
20. District water management official
21. Municipal Governments
22. Municipal waste manager
23. Nature preserve staff
24. National NGOs
25. Local NGOs
26. Community based organizations
27. Scientific community
28. Educator
29. Students
30. Farmers
31. Agro-industry
32. Pastoralists/ animal husbandry
33. Public health care providers;
34. Members of littoral communities;
35. Tourism/Recreation industry
36. Local press and media
37. International Funding Inst
38. Bilateral development agencies
39. Bilateral economic SME organizations
40. Charitable organizations




                                                                         62
ANNEX 2

                                                                                    Survey number: __ __
                                                                                            Initials: ____
                                      Stakeholder Analysis Survey

               Reducing Trans-boundary Degradation of the Kura-Aras River Basin

The United Nations Development Programme is implementing a project to reduce transboundary
degradation of the Kura-Aras river basin waters. As part of this project, a region wide stakeholder
analysis is being conducted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Iran. This survey is a part of this
analysis. You have been selected to take part in this survey. The information you provide will help
determine the priorities and objectives of this project. Your answers will be completely confidential
and nothing you say directly will be used in any report as a result of this. Please answer as accurately as
you can.

    1. _____        Country AR, AZ, GE, IR
    2. _____        City or region in which you live ___________________________
    3. _____        Gender (Male or Female)
    4. _____        Age
    5. _____        What best describes the area you live?
               A.   Mountains
               B.   Plains
               C.   Lowlands
               D.   Coasts

    6. _____        What describes the area when you live? U. Urban or R. Rural

    7. _____        What is the approximate distance in kilometers of your home to the river?

    8. _____      From the list below please indicate which stakeholder group(s) do you belong to?
         (Please do not select more than 2 groups)


    1.    Water, Hydro-                  14. Transportation                  27.   Educator/teacher
          meteorological                     Ministries                      28.   Student
          Department                     15. Parliamentary                   29.   Farmer
    2.    Natural Resources,                 committees for                  30.   Pastoralists/ animal
          Ecology or                         environmental                         husbandry
          Environmental                      protection                      31.   Public health care
          Ministry                       16. National NGO                          provider
    3.    Industry Ministry              17. Scientists                      32.   Member of
    4.    Energy Ministry                18. Heavy industry                        community near the
    5.    Economic Ministry              19. Light industry                        river
    6.    Foreign Affairs                20. Agro-industry                   33.   Tourism/Recreation
          Ministry                       21. Regional                              industry
    7.    Defence Ministry                   government official             34.   Press and media
    8.    Agriculture Ministry           22. District water                  35.   International
    9.    Forestry Ministry                  management official                   Funding Inst
    10.   Fisheries Ministry             23. Municipal                       36.   Bilateral
    11.   Social Welfare /                   Government                            development agency
          Public Health                  24. Municipal waste
          Ministry                           manager
    12.   Labour Ministry                25. Nature preserve staff
    13.   Mining industry                26. Community based
                                             organization


    9. _____        What is the source of your drinking water


                                                    63
             E.     artesian well
             F.     spring water from pipes
             G.     river water
             H.     do not know

    10. _____       What is the source of local irrigation water:
            I.      artesian well
            J.      spring water from pipes
            K.      river water
            L.      do not know



    Please rank these as high, medium or low priority concerns with
    5 for highest priority, 4 for high priority, 3 for medium, 2 for low priority, and 1 for lowest priority

    11. _____       Lack of potable drinking water sources and related health problems
    12. _____       Lack of water for irrigation
    13. _____       Infrastructure decline
    14. _____       Lack of sewage treatment/ municipal waste management
    15. _____       Irregular water supply to households
    16. _____       Non-rational use of water (inappropriate and non sustainable water use)
    17. _____       Ecosystem degradation in the river basin
    18. _____       Deterioration in water quality (e.g. pollution)
    19. _____       Increased flooding and bank erosion
    20. _____       Decline in bio-resources (e.g. fisheries)



For Questions 20 – 40 please tell us your level of agreement with the following statements,
 with 1 being strongly disagreement, 2 disagree, 3 no agreement or disagreement, 4 agree and 5 being
strongly agree.

                                               Do not agree
strongly disagree           disagree                                     agree            strongly agree
                                                or disagree
        1                       2                    3                     4                    5

    21. _____       The water in communities near the river is safe to drink
    22. _____       The water taken from the river is healthy for irrigation uses
    23. _____       There are many fish in the river
    24. _____       Eating fish from the river is healthy
    25. _____       There is enough water for everyone who needs it
    26. _____       I worry about what is in the river water
    27. _____       I would agree to pay to support a reliable supply of drinking water in my community
    28. _____       People in river communities have been ill from water related causes
    29. _____       Economic development is the most important priority for my community
    30. _____       Farmers need more water than they currently have
    31. _____       We need more information about how to keep the river healthy
    32. _____       People in my community have had malaria
    33. _____       People sometimes have skin problems after contact with water from the river



                                                       64
    34. _____    People need to boil the water before they drink it
    35. _____    The river water downstream from my community is healthy for use by people
    36. _____    The government has the responsibility to keep the rivers healthy
    37. _____    Each community along the river should use the river any way they want to
    38. _____    The river water from upstream (above) my community is safe to use
    39. _____    Use of farming chemicals is safe for rivers and the environment
    40. _____    My information about the conditions of the river comes mostly from television


                                Thank you for your participation!
If you have any questions about this survey, please do not hesitate to ask the person giving this survey,
                                               or contact
                 Mary M. Matthews, PhD at mary.matthews@tethysconsultants.com




                                                   65
ANNEX 3
(From TDA)

5. STAKEHOLDER ANALYSIS
5.1 Introduction
In order to improve the conditions of the river basin, and address the needs of the
many types of stakeholders, a stakeholder analysis was conducted in the Kura Aras
basin in 2005-2006. The analysis involved identifying different types of stakeholder
groups, asking stakeholders what their priority concerns are, and questions to gauge
how they perceive issues pertaining to transboundary water management in the
region. Open ended questions asked in the Qualitative Stakeholder Analysis focusing
on river basin communities, and then structured surveys were administered to over
500 stakeholders from the region, representing 30 different stakeholder groups for a
Quantitative Stakeholder Analysis. The results of these analyses provide a summary
review of priority concerns and perceptions of stakeholders throughout the Kura and
Aras basin.

The Qualitative Stakeholder Analysis was conducted in Armenia, Azerbaijan and
Georgia in June- July 2005. The Kura Aras Qualitative Stakeholder Analysis (QLSA)
was conducted in order to directly attain the opinions of the residents throughout the
river basin about water quality and quantity issues, to ascertain their perceptions of
water management challenges, and to identify the region wide concerns for the
TDA/SAP process. The QLSA focused primarily on the concerns of those community
members within the transboundary river basin because they are most directly
impacted by water quality and water quantity challenges. Traditionally, perceptions of
these stakeholders in riparian communities are under-represented in the national and
regional water management strategies and yet they can play a key role in successful
river basin management plan implementation. In order for the public stakeholders to
be active participants in environmental governance, it is critical that their common
and transboundary priority concerns are included in the larger scale Quantitative
Stakeholder Analysis (QNSA) survey and within the TDA/SAP process.

The Quantitative Stakeholder Analysis survey was conducted during December
2005/January 2006 in Georgia and Armenia. In Azerbaijan and Iran the surveys took
place later during 2006 and are still being finalized6 . The 512 surveys collected from
the region were compiled and statistically analyzed for trends across and within
stakeholder groups. The QNSA provides a structured empirical gauge of a very wide
array of stakeholders throughout the region. These groups and their priority concerns
are presented in Table 5.1. The full survey is presented in the Annex 12.

The most notable finding of the SHA, both the QLSA and QNSA is the high level of
concern among all stakeholders regarding the deterioration of water quality. Among
all stakeholders surveyed, this was the highest priority concern by a significant
margin. The top three concerns among all groups was the lack of sewage treatment,
lack of potable drinking water and related health problems, and deterioration of water

6
 The analysis presented here is based on an unequal number of surveys. There are fewer available
survey from Azerbaijan and Iranian and more from Armenian and Georgia. A weighted fully
completed analysis is expected by the beginning of the year 2007.


                                                 66
      quality (e.g. pollution). The second highest priority set of concerns are the variation
      and reduction of hydrological flow, with concerns regarding the lack of water for
      irrigation, infrastructure decline, irregular water supply to households, and non-
      rational use of water including inappropriate and non sustainable water use.

      Table 5.1: Stakeholder priority concerns from the Kura-Aras river basin Quantitative
      Stakeholder Analysis (QNSA) survey (2005-2006).




                                                            Lack of Potable




                                                                                                                Lack of Sewage


                                                                                                                                 Water to Home




                                                                                                                                                                                        Flooding/ Bank
  Stakeholder Groups Prioritizations of Concerns




                                                                                               Infrastructure
                                                                              Lack of water
                                                                              for irrigation




                                                                                                                                                              Degradation




                                                                                                                                                                                                         Bioresource
                                                                                                                                                 Non ration
                                                                                                                Treatment




                                                                                                                                                              Ecosystem
                                                                                                                                                 Water use




                                                                                                                                                                                                         Decline in
                                                                                                                                 Irregular




                                                                                                                                                                            Pollution
                     High Priority




                                                                                                                                                                                        Erosion
                                                                                               decline
                    Medium Priority




                                                            H2O
                     Low Priority

Survey question number:                                      11                12               13               14              15              16           17            18           19              20
Transboundary Problem Area7:                                 B                 A                A                B               A               A            C             B            D               C
Priority Level for All Stakeholder Groups:                   #2                #8               #4               #1              #7              #6           #5            #3           #9              #10
    37. Water, Hydro-meteorological Department
    38. Natural Resources, Ecology or Environmental
         Ministry
    39. Industry Ministry
    40. Energy Ministry
    41. Economic Ministry
    42. Foreign Affairs Ministry
    43. Defence Ministry
    44. Agriculture Ministry
    45. Forestry Ministry
    46. Fisheries Ministry
    47. Social Welfare / Public Health Ministry
    48. Labour Ministry
    49. Mining industry
    50. Transportation Ministries
    51. Parliamentary committees for environmental
         protection
    52. National NGO
    53. Scientists
    54. Heavy industry
    55. Light industry
    56. Agro-industry
    57. Regional government official
    58. District water management official
    59. Municipal Government
    60. Municipal waste manager
    61. Nature preserve staff
    62. Community based organization
    63. Educator/teacher
    64. Student
    65. Farmer
    66. Pastoralists/ animal husbandry


      7
       Transboundary Problem: A. Variation and reduction of hydrological; B. Deterioration of water
      quality; C. Ecosystem degradation in the river basin; D. Flooding and bank erosion


                                                      67
67.       Public health care provider
68.       Member of community near the river
69.       Tourism/Recreation industry
70.       Press and media
71.       International Funding Inst
72.       Bilateral development agency
      The third highest priority set of concerns are ecosystem degradation in the river basin
      and decline in bioresources (e.g. fisheries). The lowest priority concern is increased
      flooding and bank erosion8.


      5.2 Variation and Reduction of Hydrological Flow
      The variation and reduction of hydrological flow was a medium level problem for
      most stakeholders. There were several priority concerns that address this. The decline
      in infrastructure to support water delivery was the 4th highest priority among all
      stakeholders, and non-rational use of water was the 6th highest concern. Although
      some stakeholders ranked this concern as important (generally the Ministries and
      scientific community), within the survey there were varying levels of agreement
      amongst stakeholders pertaining to the availability of water. For example, farmers,
      fishermen and community groups all felt that non-rational use of water was a low
      priority issue.

      There were some interesting and very informative trends in regards to issues of
      potential water scarcity. In response to the statement “There is enough water for
      everyone who needs it” only labour ministry groups agreed, while many groups either
      disagreed strongly or have division within the specific group. Upon close examination
      there was some geographic division with those living closer to the river tending to
      disagree, while those living further from the river and in urban areas generally
      agreeing. In contrast, almost all stakeholder groups agreed that “farmers need more
      water than they currently have”. A notable exception was the District Water
      Management Officials, though those in areas further down stream tended to agree
      more readily than those further up stream. Over all rural stakeholders agreed more
      strongly than urban stakeholders. This suggests that overall stakeholders are aware of
      and concerned about availability of water throughout the region.

      In response to the statement “each community should use the river any way they want
      to” there was strong disagreement among most stakeholder groups, with strongest
      disagreement among urban stakeholders compared to rural stakeholders. Light
      industry tended to agree with this statement though stronger agreement originated
      from among those in small industries further upstream than down stream. It should
      also be noted that there is almost unanimous consensus among stakeholder groups in
      response to the statement “economic development is the most important priority for
      my community”. Tourism and recreation industry stakeholders were less adamant, as
      were public healthcare providers, farmers, educators, nature preserve staff, and natural
      resource, ecology and environment ministry officials. Members of communities near
      the river, regional government officials, municipal government officials, economic


      8
       The lower number of surveys from Azerbaijan and Iran may impact the low status of flooding as a
      priority issue.


                                                      68
ministry representatives, and energy ministries agreed more strongly than the average
stakeholder did.

These findings were supported by the QLSA findings. Within the QLSA, stakeholders
were concerned about the lack of water delivered to homes and through the
community. There was frustration about the lack of power to support pumps in areas
where water was pumped into communities, and there was concern over the cost for
irrigation waters. Several farmer stakeholders who were interviewed as part of the
QLSA said that they pay for water, but often it is not provided or the amount that they
pay is too high. This seemed to vary from one place to the next without clear trends.
In communities with lower levels of economic development this concern was more
apparent. When stakeholders were asked who was responsible the broad reaction was
municipal government officials. Municipal government officials, when interviewed,
agreed generally, however they also said that they have no budget for improving
water delivery, and that the district officials do not pay them sufficiently to support
current work or improve the infrastructure. All stakeholder groups agreed strongly
that they are willing to pay to support a reliable supply of drinking water in their
communities, with rural stakeholders, and those whose drinking water comes from the
river agreeing more strongly than average.

The transboundary implications of this are that the stakeholders are largely aware of
the issue of the variation and reduction of hydrological flow, however they perceive it
from a localized point of view. This is to be expected as many stakeholders to not
think of their water use from a basin wide transboundary perspective. The negative
reaction of stakeholders to the question regarding unfettered use of the river by each
community suggests that there is concern about how other communities use the
resource within the river basin system, and a strong understanding of the impacts of
water use from one community to another. However, it is not clear at this point if this
pertains more immediately to pollution or to irrational water use.


5.3 Deterioration of Water Quality
The deterioration of water quality was by far the highest priority problem of the
stakeholders. This was either as a lack of potable drinking water, lack of sewage
treatment/municipal waste management and deterioration in water quality (e.g.
pollution). Each stakeholder group listed at least one of these as a highest priority
issue, and many listed all three. Of those whose drinking water came from river,
deterioration of water quality/pollution was listed as the highest priority concern
whereas for those whose water came from piped spring water, the lack of sewage
treatment/ municipal waste management was the highest priority. For those whose
water came from artesian wells, the lack of potable water sources and related
problems was the highest priority concern.

Those stakeholder groups who classified themselves as rural indicated that the lack of
potable water drinking sources and related health problems were the highest priority
by a significant margin, whereas among urban stakeholders the lack of sewage
treatment and/or municipal waste management was the highest priority issue. These
findings were widely supported by the QLSA. In the QNSA, two main areas of
concern were identified that relate to the deterioration of water quality: the impacts on
public health and the impacts on river health.


                                           69
Through the QNSA, concerns about water quality deterioration and impacts on public
health were articulated by stakeholder groups though 5 statements. In response to the
statement “the water in communities near the river is safe to drink” all stakeholder
groups disagreed strongly. There was some division amongst ministry officials from
industry, economic, public health and social welfare in upstream communities.
Overall this statement drew the strongest level of disagreement from stakeholders of
all statements in the survey.

In a related statement “people need to boil water before they drink it” those whose
drinking water comes from the river agree with this statement very strongly,
especially in downstream communities. Those who have other sources of water also
tend to agree that the water should be boiled before drinking it. District water
managers disagreed with this statement overall, though those in upstream
communities were more prone to disagree, whereas those from downstream
communities agreed more strongly. This was also the trend for public health care
providers who strongly agreed in downstream communities, and only mildly
disagreed in upstream communities fed by mountain streams. Foreign Affairs
Ministry officials and Public Health and Social Welfare Ministry officials agreed
strongly with this as well, indicating an awareness of water problems among both of
these groups.

In response to the statement “people in river communities have been ill from water
related causes” there was a strong trend that those living in down stream communities
who are dependent on the river for drinking water responded in strong agreement,
where as those who had other sources of drinking water tended to disagree. Public
health care providers from down stream communities supported this statement
strongly, while public health care providers from upstream communities did not.
District water managers tended to disagree with this statement. Light industry also
disagreed with this statement. Other groups generally were more neutral about this,
though this may be a result of incomplete data from downstream communities.

Also related with the above was the statement “people sometimes have skin problems
after contact with water”. Those that relied on the river for drinking water, and
residents and public health care providers in down stream communities had much
stronger levels of agreement than those upstream. During the QLSA this concern was
highlighted by a number of those interviewed, especially in communities who were
down stream from industries, mining and municipal centers. The overall perception of
stakeholders from downstream communities is that they are ill as result of pollution
from upstream, whereas those communities further upstream and in more urban areas
consider the impacts of pollution on public health as less immediate.

The deterioration in water quality is also perceived to have other impacts. Most
stakeholder groups responded with agreement to the statement “I worry about what is
in the river water”. The agreement with this did not vary significantly across countries
or from upstream and down stream communities. Those groups that agreed most
strongly with this were the Foreign Affair Ministries, and Public Health and Social
Welfare Ministries, and the scientific community (such as environment and natural
resource ministry officials, nature park staff, scientists and hydromet officials) who
are those with access to scientific information.


                                          70
There was a high level of disagreement among all stakeholders to the question “use of
farming chemicals is safe for rivers and the environment” but especially among those
who have access to scientific information. Farmers who lived closest to the river
tended to agree with this statement, while those who live further from the river
disagreed. This may be because those close to the river do not see immediate impacts
of their individual agro-chemical use. It should also be noted that during the QLSA,
those in farming communities said that they use less agro-chemicals now than during
Soviet times because of the cost of these chemicals.

Despite these concerns, in response to the statements “Eating fish from the river is
healthy” and “the water taken from the river is healthy for irrigation uses”
stakeholders overall were in agreement and there was little variation between
upstream and down stream communities. However, as noted earlier, those that had
access to scientific information tended to be more inclined to disagree with this, while
those without this information tended to be in stronger agreement. This is mainly
because of the belief that while the water is not safe to drink, mainly due to organisms
within the water, use of river water for irrigation benefits crops by improving
nutrients, the soils and the mineral content of the produce. The same belief is also the
case for fish taken from the river.

The perception amongst stakeholders overall is that river water quality has
significantly deteriorated, and in the QNSA, the belief that water quality was not safe
or healthy either above or below the community in which they lived was pervasive. In
contrast, during the QLSA, those stakeholders interviewed generally felt that the
water coming into their community was much cleaner than the water leaving the
community. This was largely in part due to the household trash, raw sewage and farm
wastes dumped into the rivers, or disposed of on the flood plain next to the river.

The transboundary implications of the deterioration of water quality are found mainly
in the variation in responses from upstream communities and downstream
communities, especially pertaining to public health issues. Though most stakeholders
do not seem to draw direct links to transboundary problems, there is some awareness
of this. However, the lack of accessible scientific information available to the public
has resulted in a lower level of awareness of transboundary pollution than might
otherwise be expected. Anecdotal evidence suggests that there may have been
intentional transboundary pollution, however, neither the QLSA nor the QNSA show
any indication of this, nor of a perception that this practice is taking place.


5.4 Ecosystem Degradation in the River Basin
While ecosystem degradation in the river basin is a high level concern for those with
access to scientific information and a high level of understanding of environmental
degradation issues, among other stakeholders, this was not a priority concern. The
problem of ecosystem degradation in the river basin ranked fifth among all surveyed,
and the concern of decline in bio-resources ranked lowest. The QLSA found that
while stakeholders are worried about river basin conditions, they are concerned
mainly with impacts on their own health and the health and economic development of
their communities, rather than longer term environmental aspects.



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It should be noted that many of the issues addressed in the sections above regarding
river health and pollution impacts would also be applicable to their beliefs about
ecosystem degradation. However, in terms of the health of the river ecosystem,
despite the perceived pollution levels, non-scientific stakeholders continue to perceive
that the ecosystem continues to function.

In response to the statement “there are many fish in the river” there was a notable
disconnect between the scientific community who believed that the number of fish
was low and disagreed with this statement, and the other stakeholders who were more
varied, but tended to be neutral regarding this. Further those in rural areas were
slightly more likely to agree with this. Many fishermen were observed along the river
banks during the QLSA, and the fish caught were predominantly for human
consumption.

The response among stakeholders that economic development is the most important
priority for communities could be seen as a threat to the ecosystem. However, the
survey also signaled that the participants were open to information about
environmental management which could have a positive impact on the ecosystem. For
example, in regards to ecosystem health, all stakeholder groups agreed that there was
a need for more information on how to keep the river healthy, and that currently most
information about river conditions is found via television. Though this does not
directly have an impact on improving ecosystem health, it does signify an increased
interest in the problems and a possible medium for making ecosystem awareness more
pervasive and possibly meaningful to stakeholders.


5.5 Flooding and Bank Erosion
The QLSA found that flooding is seen as a challenge that harms local communities
and threatens economic development. The overall concern was much lower than
anticipated given the amount of flood damage caused over the past several years
within the region. As noted above, this may be in part due to the lower number of
surveys from downstream countries.

Problems with flooding for stakeholders include loss of life and property, loss of
infrastructure and loss of economic opportunities. The stakeholder groups who listed
this as a high priority concern included the environment and natural resource
ministries, as well as forestry officials and those in the agricultural industry. Rural
stakeholders ranked this slightly higher as a concern than urban residents.
Furthermore, stakeholders who depend on the river for drinking water ranked this as
their highest priority concern. This is to be expected as flooding events for these
communities can contaminate drinking water supplies, and considerably impact living
conditions. Members of this category also tend to live downstream or in rural
conditions that are more strongly impacted by flooding events.

Beyond the immediate threats of flooding there are a number of long term impacts.
For example, the presence of large pools of stagnant water following flooding events
is a concern for stakeholders because of the prevalence of malaria in low lying
regions. During the QLSA this was noted as a significant concern by rural
communities living near the river or on the flood plains in all countries. In the QNSA,
this issue was addressed with the statement “people in my community have had


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malaria”. Those who are dependent on river water for drinking water rated this much
higher than those who have other sources of drinking water. Rural stakeholders
ranked this somewhat higher than urban, but the lack of data from Iran and Azerbaijan
may be weighting this. Also those stakeholders surveyed in Armenia tended to
disagree with this statement strongly, while those in Azerbaijan strongly agreed with
it. This is most likely because geographic variation and climate differences in the
basin countries have an affect the presence of malaria.




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ANNEX 4

           Meeting Report from the Kura-Aras Stakeholder Advisory Group

                                     Gudauri, Georgia
                                   10-13 November 2006.


Executive Summary
The Kura Aras Stakeholder Advisory Group (SHAG) convened in Gudauri Georgia in
November 2006 to review the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) and provide
comments on the project development and objectives. A group of 12 SHAG team members
were carefully selected to facilitate broad representation of a wide array of stakeholders who
had not been directly involved in the development of the project to date. These include: NGO
representatives, a public health care provider, a community organizer, a municipal water
manager, an agricultural input association representative, a farming technology expert, a rural
sociologist, and an environmental journalist. Most lived in communities close to the Kura and
Aras rivers. The members of the group were selected based on a broad spectrum of
specialization, their understanding of transboundary water issues, and various interests while
maintaining an equal balance of regional nationalities.

The group was briefed on the UNDP/GEF, the project objectives and the TDA/SAP
methodology. Following this the SHAG Team members divided into working groups to
review the findings of the TDA, focusing on the Causal Chain Analysis (CCA) and
recommendations. Each group had one person from each country, and varied specializations.
They reconvened and discussed each of the four transboundary issues in turn. The Project
CTA and Georgian Project Manager joined the group for their discussion of Water Quality
Degradation. For each of these issues, the working groups made a series of recommendations
for the project, presented below. Following the discussion of the transboundary issues and the
TDA, the group heard presentations on the Stakeholder Analysis, the Preliminary SAP, and
the Public Involvement Strategy and the Public Involvement Demonstration Projects.

The SHAG Team members varied expertise and unique vantage points on these issues
provided a new set of lenses for the project to view the situation in the region, as well as a
new set of tools for evaluating regional transboundary water concerns. The inputs from the
SHAG Team included an independent review of the TDA, and a set of recommendations for
future project activities, detailed below. Overall, the group provided significant and
substantial input to the project and provided unique perspectives on the challenges facing the
project. It is recommended that now that they are familiar with the project, and have
developed a sense of ownership, that subsequent meetings be held to give the team an
opportunity to comment on the SAP and future project development if project budgets allow.

The recommendations of the SHAG Team included:
Irrational Use of Water:
     - Introduce new methods for irrigation, such as drip irrigation instead of traditional
         canals and large scale flooding of fields
     - Support construction of small scale community reservoirs to minimize impacts of
         seasonal variation in flows
     - Create soaking wells and earthen berms around fruit trees, emphasize mulching
     - Implement user fees for water based on flow rates to households and apartment flats
     - Create farmers associations to work in different communities as a source of
         equipment and information technology regarding pesticides, new types of fertilizers
         and components of water usage




                                              74
    -   Seek assistance in the agricultural sector from bilateral and international donors in
        coordination with the UNDP/GEF project to make improvements to water flow
        challenges. These should include alternate irrigation methods, water monitoring
        approaches, and public awareness building.

Flooding and bank erosion:
    - Encourage and work with governments to limit domestic, agricultural or industrial
       construction in the flood zones to prevent loss of life and property
    - Develop and implement a public awareness plan to address herdsmen grazing
       livestock in areas flood prone areas, where deforestation and soil erosion is especially
       problematic
    - Endorse tree planting to reduce flooding impacts
    - Design a flood prevention and emergency response manual for communities with
       alternative practices in local languages to distribute throughout the region

Water Quality Degradation:
   - Teach farmers to proper agro chemical use, and application rates and timing
   - Teach farmers impacts on water may reduce some of the problems

Ecosystem Degradation
   - Include project focus on wetlands and link with other international efforts such as
       Ramsar
   - Implement fish ladders in any new hydro electric dam construction
   - Develop a concerted public awareness campaign on the importance of biodiversity
       would help increase attention to this issue
   - Host a coordinated region-wide Kura-Aras River Day, with different communities/
       groups going out to clean the local river banks




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I. Introduction
What is the SHAG?

The Kura-Aras Stakeholder Advisory Group is a team of involved and aware citizens from
throughout the region who have an active interest in the water quality and water quantity
issues in the Kura Aras River Basin. The team consists of 12 stakeholders selected during the
course of the initial Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) phase of the project within the
Stakeholder Analysis (SHA). These stakeholders were selected as representatives of
stakeholder groups which are not given a formal voice in the TDA development process
through intersectoral committees, yet whose insights and perceptions of the project
development may be especially illuminating given their very immediate involvement with
water related issues.

The role of the Stakeholder Advisory Group (SHAG) in the UNDP GEF Project is to provide
feedback to the TDA drafting team on the issues being addressed. The SHAG reviews the
issues, including the causal chain analysis and SHA, in order to provide a very important
perspective to the project development. The members of the SHAG are well versed in the
issues addressed by the project, but are not members of the government or the international
donor community. They often have hands on experiences with water related issues that are
more immediate than members of the TDA drafting committee, and they provide an informed
check on the assumptions and perceptions of the project staff. This is the first time that such a
group has been given this level of input to a GEF International Waters Project at this early
and critical phase of project development.

The objective of the meeting held in November 2006 was to host the initial SHA meeting,
introduce the members of the SHAG to the UNDP/GEF and Environmental Governance
Project for the Kura Aras River Basin, and to request their assistance in reviewing the TDA.
The official objective of the meeting was: To obtain feedback on project activities and
development from stakeholders in the region who are impacted by conditions, aware of issues
and representative of their stakeholder group. This objective was accomplished. Due to the
high level of input from this group, it is recommended that additional SHAG meetings be
considered for additional project components.

II. Establishing the SHAG

The SHAG team was established during the scope of the stakeholder analysis – during the
qualitative interview section, and in collaboration with the national stakeholder consultants
(NSCs). During the qualitative stakeholder analysis the NSCs were asked to assist the
international stakeholder consultant (ISC) to identify important stakeholders within the river
basin who are familiar with water related issues and who are open to discussing their
concerns. In the case of Iran, where no qualitative analysis was conducted, the Iranian NSC
worked closely with the ISC to recruit members. In some cases the ISC had not met the
SHAG members, but was familiar with them through the recommendations of the NSCs or
other stakeholders.

In order to assure equally representative contingent from all countries, a small group that
would encourage cross country dialogue and open regional discussion was recruited. The size
of the group was also limited by budget constraints, however, the 12 member SHAG proved
to be an ideal size for discussions, and for break out groups that emphasized sharing common
concerns. There were 3 representatives from each country, including one NSC. The other two
members from each country were selected in close coordination with the ISC in order to
assure that a wide array of stakeholder groups were represented at the meeting. These include:
NGO representatives, a public health care provider, a community organizer, a municipal
water manager, an agricultural input association representative, a farming technology expert,


                                               76
a rural sociologist, and an environmental journalist. Most lived in communities close to the
Kura and Aras rivers. The list of SHAG team is presented in ANNEX 1.

A regional stakeholder consultant, who has worked extensively with the project assisted in the
recruitment, oversight and logistical implementation of the meeting. All transportation costs
plus a small per diem was paid to all participants, in addition to full room and board at a
secluded resort. The secluded venue enabled SHAG members to have extensive informal
interactions, and reduced attrition from members that may have occurred in larger urban
settings. Concurrent English/Russian translation was officially provided with additional
translation into Persian and Azeri provided by the participants themselves when needed.
Copies of the Draft TDA were provided to SHAG members, in Russian and English.


III. Agenda of the SHAG Meeting

The meeting was divided intro three major sections. The first was to familiarize the SHAG
with the UNDP/GEF project and the Environmental Governance Component. The second was
to ask for feedback from the SHAG on the TDA and Causal Chain Analysis as well as other
sections of the project, such as the SHA. The third section was to introduce future aspects of
the project, such as the public involvement strategy and the public involvement demonstration
projects. The initial agenda was intended to be flexible. (See ANNEX 2) The final
component, the communication strategy, was not addressed in this meeting because the
discussion of other sections became more involved and was very helpful to the project.

The meeting convened on 10 November, with a presentation of the GEF, and introduction of
the UNDP /GEF Kura-Aras Project, an introduction to the Environmental Governance
Component, and review of the objectives of the SHAG meeting, and the role of the SHAG in
the full project and components to be reviewed. (See attached presentation 1. Introduction)
This initial session enabled the members of the SHAG to introduce themselves, their area of
specialization and begin to establish a working relationship.

Participants introduced themselves by name, home, professional position, their expectations
for the meeting, and “nick-name” to help one another remember names. Overall, participants
were very positive about the beginning of the meeting, and the role of the stakeholder group.
The most prevalent expectation from the meeting was that they would learn about the issues
and challenges regarding water issues in other countries and throughout the region.

There was an air of anticipation and mutual respect, though initially all nationalities sat
clustered together and were discussing issues amongst themselves. This was also was the case
during meals initially. However, during breaks there was a good deal of exchange among
nationalities, discussions of mutual interests and further introductions of themselves to each
other. By the end of the meeting, there was a great deal of blending of nationalities with a
strong feeling of camaraderie among the participants.

The second session focused more specifically on the TDA/SAP process and the various
components of the project. The multiple levels of the TDA/SAP process and standard best
practices for GEF IWP TDA/SAP were introduced. The role of the Technical Task Team
(TTT) and their findings were presented, as were the various sections of the current draft of
the TDA. The Causal Chain Analysis (CCA) methodology was also reviewed so that the
SHAG members could review the CCA findings in the TDA Draft. (See attached
presentation 2. Introduction to the KA Project and TDA)

After the second session the Major Transboundary Issues were introduced, relying upon the
TDA Drafts in hard copy that all participants were reading. The full group was divided into 3
smaller working groups, with one person from each country in each of the groups. The groups


                                             77
were asked to review the TDA, Major Issues, CCA, and recommendations in the draft TDA.
The groups broke out and took time to read over the TDA sections. They took several hours
to discuss the individual issues, and requested more time to discuss their ideas. Throughout
their discussion time, they worked well together, often educating one another about the
various issues based on their specialization and national perspectives. Additional time was
given to the groups so that they could work in more depth as they went through the TDA
sections.

The full SHAG Team reassembled to discuss the TDA and address the major transboundary
issues. Each of the issues was addressed in turn, with each group presenting their comments
and recommendation, and open discussion among the full team. The summary of these
discussions is presented below. A full transcript of the discussions is available upon request.

Irrational water use/ reduced flows
The SHAG Team enthusiastically addressed the issues and challenges of declining water
quantity in the Kura Aras basin. They discussed the causes, various current approaches to
government initiated management efforts including water user associations, current
agricultural practices and water saving options, and community led efforts to reduce impacts
of water shortages. The group also acknowledged that more assistance is needed including
technical support that may be sought from other countries and donors.

A lively discussion regarding the decline in water flows began with the team pointing out that
there needs to be attention paid to the natural causes as well as anthropogenic- in the CCA. It
is unclear what natural factors are being considered, and the team asked that additional
information be provided on the impacts of rain, flooding events, evaporation rates, drought
frequency in this section. The team is aware of the upcoming challenges of climate change,
and requested that the TDA provide baseline information if available.

SHAG Team members discussed various approaches used at the national and local level to
address water flow issues. In many cases they said that water user associations were
established during the soviet and post-soviet era. However they generally agreed that now
these organizations are less effective and in some cases only exist on paper, rather than in
actual practice. It was noted that the Georgian parliament is considering legislation that gives
authority to communities over the tertiary canals through Water User Associations. Some
members voiced concern that there is not enough attention in the TDA to irrigation as an
impacting source and that increased agricultural development in the Aras basin could have a
significant impact on this issue.

The SHAG Team members also noted that there is an excessive use of flooding irrigation to
clean the fields and that this practice reduces the water flow, fertility of lands and negatively
impacts the ecology of the river basin. They suggested that instead of this practice using new
methods for irrigation, including drip irrigation instead of traditional canals and large scale
flooding of fields. A concern was raised that using drip irrigation is very expensive to install
and current farming practices require hoses to be replaced on a regular basis.

Other suggestions for managing these challenges include the construction of community
reservoirs to capture water during high flow periods and use that for dry seasons. An example
of how to construct this for communities, typically downstream and using local labor was
provided by the community organizer from Azerbaijan. Additionally, creating soaking wells
and earthen berms around fruit trees in dry areas also reduces the need to water excessively
during dry times of the year. This was supported by the Iranians who have seen it applied
successfully in communities there.

The Armenians mentioned that the government had already taken steps to introduce controls
on flow of water and outlets and so on. This entails enhanced municipal control over water


                                               78
flow, and charging based on flow rates to households and apartment flats in addition to
agricultural usage. It was suggest that this approach be introduced into countries where this
does not exist yet. When other team members questioned them about the effectiveness of this,
they agreed that at first it was met with public resistance, but after it was implemented it was
more effective and was showing reduced wastes of water with better and more regular
service. Other members agreed that this would be a good innovation if it were possible to
implement it.

Additionally, the creation of farmer‟s associations that would work with different
communities and to serve as a source of equipment and information technology on pesticides,
new types of fertilizers and component of water usage was recommended. It was agreed this
would be difficult but very important to do. The fact that in the former Soviet republics the
Water User Associations may be a barrier to the government support for farmer associations
was mentioned. It may be possible, however, to overcome this barrier with the right
international support.

The group also recommended seeking assistance in the agricultural sector from bilateral and
international donors in coordination with the UNDP/GEF project. This may be helpful for
making realistic improvements to water flow challenges. These should include alternate
irrigation methods, water monitoring approaches, and public awareness building.

Flooding and Bank Erosion
The SHAG Team then turned to the issue of flooding and bank erosion, with strong support
for it‟s inclusion in the project. The discussion focused on several activities and concerns
including: emergency response; zoning in flood prone zones; flood prevention; deforestation;
community responsibilities and government level responsibilities; early warning systems and
actions. The realities of flooding are significant for the SHAG Team members and they
believe it is something that the project should definitely focus on to reduce loss of lives and
property.

The first issue addressed in the discussion was the problem of emergency response
committees. As one member said “When the flood response committee finally meets, the
problems of the flooding have already receded.” The need to be more proactive and to take
preventive measures was supported through out the group. They were very concerned that as
climate change impacts lead to more serious flooding events, this should be addressed by their
governments as well as communities in a coordinated manner.

With regard to reducing impacts, the group discussed the problem of settlements being built
in flood prone zones, including areas where ground waters rise as well as river levels. It was
suggested that the project encourage governments to limit settlements in flood plains,
including reducing any agricultural or industrial construction in the flood zones to prevent
loss of life and property.

The team also recognized that problems of deforestation and uncontrolled grazing in upstream
areas contribute to the flooding problems. The causes of deforestation were discussed,
especially with regard to the causes of deforestation. While a fair amount of logging is due to
commercial purposes, it was agreed that it is also due to the need to heat homes in the winters.
Since natural gas supplies are not always reliable, and the infrastructure has deteriorated in
some areas, heating with wood is the only alternative for many people. The issue of
uncontrolled grazing in flood zones and forested areas was also discussed and it was agreed
that a public awareness plan should address this issue in some way, though it will be difficult
to stop herdsmen from grazing livestock in areas that they have traditionally used. The team
suggested that education of pastoralists, and tree planting efforts may be a worthwhile effort
to reduce these problems.



                                              79
Again the discussion of community responsibilities and government level responsibilities in
flood events was very serious. One member asked “in your plan, you have an emergency
warning system between countries, but what are we supposed to do with the information that
floods are coming?” It was discussed that most communities near the river do not have flood
prevention mechanisms in place, and when flooding occurs, often it is very difficult for
government support to arrive in time to assist communities. Another member of the group
detailed a plan on how his community had built channels that would reduce impacts of
flooding, but that the effort to do this was significant. It was pointed out that in Iran, they are
using local labor to improve flood defense mechanisms with good results. Other team
members were very impressed with this and felt that communities should be encouraged to
develop emergency flood response plans prior to the actual event.

The result of this discussion was the full group recommending the development of a flood
prevention and emergency response manual for communities throughout the basin. This
manual would assist communities in understanding the causes of flooding and their role in it,
alternative agricultural and pastoral practices, flood abatement measures, and responses that
can be implemented by communities when flooding events are likely to reduce the loss of life
and property. The manual could be produced in English and Russian and translated into local
languages, with an accompanying DVD to clearly illustrate the practices outlined in the
manual. The group agreed this would help improve response in the event of floods, empower
local communities and provide vital information that would reduce loss of life and property.

The group fully agreed that coordinated effort was needed between governments in the region
and communities to reduce the problems of flooding. Further, the group strongly supported
the development of a manual for flooding reduction and emergency response to be used
throughout the region.

Water Quality Degradation
For the discussion of Water Quality the SHAG Team was joined by Mr. Tim Turner, Project
CTA, and Mr. Malkhaz Adeishvili, Georgian Project Manager. This discussion involved a
wide range of issues pertaining to water quality. The discussion addressed sewage and waste
water treatment methods, pollution loads into the Caspian, monitoring of source and non-
source pollutants, empirically based research and baseline data, drinking water and potability,
agrochemical pollution, and international agreements to support improving conditions. While
this topic had the fewest direct recommendations, the level of discussion was high and
members of the SHAG Team felt that it was very valuable.

With regard to sewage and waste water treatments, the Team members pointed out that there
are gaps in the data that should be filled and the specific types of pollutants more thoroughly
addressed. Mr. Turner and Mr. Adeishvili both agree with this observation and Mr. Turner
provided an overview of the approaches to municipal waster water treatment, including the
impacts of flooding of sewage systems due to heavy rains in urban areas. A discussion
followed regarding the commonly used methods of waste water treatment in the Kura Aras
basin, as well as methods used in more advanced sewage treatment. Mr. Turner‟s expertise on
this issue enabled the SHAG Team members who were not familiar with these approaches to
better understand the intricacies of this process as it applies to the project.

The discussion then turned to impacts of Kura and Aras pollution loads on the Caspian
waters. Mr. Turner referred to studies done within the Caspian Environment Programme that
examined an array of pollutants. He informed the team that the main concerns for the Caspian
are heavy metals from industry such as lead and copper, arsenic from mining, agro chemicals
including DDT, and hydrocarbons, especially in Baku Bay. However, the only significant
loads in the Kura delta were copper, while other loads were high throughout the Caspian
waters and were not notably elevated from the Kura-Aras basin. That is not to say these
concerns are not significant, but that the amount of inputs from the Kura are not impacting the


                                                80
Caspian more than others. Mr. Turner also commented that a large algae bloom formed in the
southern Caspian in the summer of 2006, but it was not yet clear if that was due to nutrient
loading or a naturally occurring phenomenon.

The conversation then turned to monitoring of the Kura and Aras rivers. Some team members
believed that there are increased rates of nitrates, sulfates and heavy metals in the Aras basin,
as well as high levels of human waste. They felt that the causes and sources of the pollutants
should be identified as soon as possible in order to remedy the situation. Mr. Turner agreed
that this is a possibility, and discussed the challenges of monitoring due to the very fast flow
rates of both rivers, as well as the role the reservoirs play in trapping contaminants as
pollution sinks. He suggested that when flooding events occur the pollutants that have been
stored in the reservoirs are reintroduced to the rivers and when combined with the flooded
land based pollutants, flooding events become even more hazardous. Team members also
pointed out the water pollution results in reduced soil fertility and outputs.

This led to discussion of the challenge of establishing credible baseline data for evaluation.
The team agreed with Mr. Turner that this was an especially difficult issue and the only
solution is to use current reliable data as the acting baseline. Additionally, Mr. Turner referred
to other studies that had been conducted by other organizations including the IAEA and CEP
using laboratories in Monaco. Again, the SHAG team was grateful to receive this
information, especially as it pertains to the issues directly impacting them.

The issue of non-source pollution, specifically agro chemicals, was also raised as a concern.
Mr. Turner agreed that the lack of region wide information about the use rates and application
practices created difficulties in effective monitoring. It was suggested that educational support
for farmers to introduce proper agro chemical use and application rates and timing, as well as
impacts on water may reduce some of the problems. The lack of information creates
difficulties for farmers as well as impacting the monitoring of water quality. The discussion
turned to how this impacts human health and if ground water quality is pristine or impacted
by the agro chemicals and other pollutants. Mr. Turner agreed that the regional ground water
quality has not been studied to date.

The group discussed pollutants in water as it impacts drinking water quality. The group
informed Mr. Turner about different water quality management approaches being utilized
throughout the basin. These included challenges of irregular supplies, dilapidated and crossed
inflow and outflow pipes, as well as drinking water quality reduced because of agricultural
and municipal wastes. The implementation of water user fees and the positive experiences in
Armenia with increased delivery times, updated pipes and household and apartment flat
monitoring were discussed. It was agreed that this is beneficial and yet difficult to implement
initially. The only setback was that the water still had to be boiled before drinking. Other
options for drinking water delivery, including piping water in from mountains, or treating
water with chlorine were mentioned by team members.

The group concluded with the need to introduce water treatment in smaller communities near
the rivers as well as larger municipalities. The intention is that improving the water quality
there will improve quality of life as well as reduce negative human impacts on the water. The
extended session concluded with Mr. Turner and Mr. Adeishvili‟s pending departure. The
group later expressed delight at Mr. Turner‟s willingness to meet with them and to address
their questions.


Ecosystem Degradation
The issue of ecosystem degradation was addressed by the group as a whole with a high level
of understanding as well as commitment to improving conditions. The discussion focused on
definitions and types of degradation, the impacts of human activities on fisheries, the


                                               81
challenges of deforestation and overgrazing, and disposal of trash and municipal wastes on
river system health. The team was diligent in addressing this and worked well together.

The first issue addressed under ecosystem degradation was the need to include wetlands in
this section, as well as deforestation. The Ramsar Convention was raised and discussed as a
means to include this into the work of the TDA and full scale project. The team agreed it
makes sense to have as little institutional redundancy as possible and asked that the projects
work closely together with regard to these issues whenever possible. There were several
questions about cause and effect with deforestation which may have been attributed to
translation confusion.

The issue of impacts of human activities on fisheries focused on both structural issues and on
pollution impacting fisheries. In terms of structural issues the team discussed problems with
the construction of hydroelectric dams which do not allow fish to pass in order to spawn up
river. The most senior member of the team said that he noticed that there are far fewer fish in
the river than when he was young, and though this was in part due to the impacts humans
were having. The others agreed and the group recommended implementing fish ladders in any
new hydroelectric dam construction.

Other impacts of human activities and declining fisheries were addressed by the group. The
problems of pollution, especially agricultural and industrial run off were concerns. In cases
where there is industrial fishing the impacts on water quality and also threaten fish
biodiversity the group felt that stronger regulation should be employed to avoid these
problems. The issue of decreased water flows making poaching easier also was raised and
discussed by the group. The team felt that a concerted public awareness campaign on the
importance of biodiversity would help increase attention to this issue.

The group discussion then turned to the biodiversity within the basin and impacts of over
grazing as it pertains to river system health. The problem of increasing sheep and goat herds
was raised since they strip lands of grasses that hold soils during periods of flooding and
drought. In some areas of Iran there are limits placed on livestock to minimize their damage
to the landscape. In other areas the problem of grazing in flood plains was especially severe
and team members felt this should be more effectively regulated. Again they felt public
involvement campaigns would support this, by building awareness and helping the residents
in river communities to understand the effects their behavior has on the river system.

A final discussion turned to the need for sanitary landfills, trash disposal, and rivers in the
South Caucasus. The SHAG Team was very concerned about trash from communities being
dumped along the river bank, especially as the trash is no longer biodegradable. The lack of
sanitary landfills and alternative waste disposal means that often household and municipal
trash is dumped into rivers. Though it was pointed out that this trash was not actually
considered to be a significant pollutant yet, they felt that the impression people have along the
river is that it is dirty because of the trash, and that they should work to clean it up. Further,
the example of cleaning Lake Sevan as a large multi-NGO activity was discussed, as a way to
build awareness and a feeling of public ownership. The group suggested hosting a Kura-Aras
river day, with different communities/ groups going out to clean the local river banks
throughout the region. This could be held several times a year with competitions between
communities for how much litter they collect from the river as part of a public awareness
raising campaign.


The third section of the meeting was conducted on the final morning of the meeting, as the
earlier sections had run long. This was due to team members wanting more time to discuss the
TDA and to develop their recommendations. It was decided that in order to benefit the project
the most, and to encourage the SHAG Team to take the time needed to assimilate a large


                                               82
amount of information, that later sections could be abbreviated. It was felt by the international
consultant and national consultants that the extensive recommendations and positive
interactions between the group members, as well as the strong sense of ownership this input
gave the participants justified the lower levels of input in the subsequent sections still in
earlier phases of development.

The following day, the findings of the stakeholder analysis were presented to the stakeholder
advisory group. (See Presentation 3. Stakeholder Analysis) It was done after the discussion of
the TDA, to avoid tainting any input from the group, and because it was thought that it was
more important to spend a significant amount of time discussing the team opinion of the TDA
major transboundary issues. Overall they were very supportive of the findings and glad to
have an opportunity to review them. Some points of clarification were requested regarding the
qualitative and quantitative approaches used as well as reasons all of the surveys were not
done in all countries. The National stakeholder consultants were within the SHAG Team and
able to discuss the challenges and specifics of the project.

The Preliminary SAP and Basin Vision were presented quickly to couch the recommendation
and the Public Involvement Strategy. (See presentation 4. Preliminary SAP and Basin Vision)
This presentation was well received and though more time to discuss the Basin Vision would
provide more in-depth input into the development of the SAP, the group suggested covering
this in more depth in subsequent meetings. The group was especially supportive of the idea of
the Kura-Aras Environmental Programme which would reduce redundancy of efforts by the
international community. Also, while the Draft Targets were not discussed due to a lack of
time, the team felt that these should stem directly from the recommendations of the TDA in
order to make the TDA and SAP tightly linked.

The Public Involvement Strategy was then presented to the SHAG Team. (Presentation 5.
Public Involvement Strategy) This was covered in a fairly in-depth manner. The Team
members were supportive of this, appreciated the feedback loops that continually emphasized
monitoring, evaluation and public awareness building. They suggested that this be used as a
foundation for their suggestions as much as possible, incorporating their ideas into specific
stakeholder involvement activities, and broader public awareness as possible. The group
comments were noted and will be included in the final public involvement strategy.

The final presentations were the Public Involvement Demonstration Projects (PIDP), which
were well received by the team. Each presentation was made by a member of the SHAG team,
who will be responsible for implementing the PIDPs. The group made suggestions and
recommendations as well as raising concerns about each, including costs, increasing public
awareness and replicability. Overall, the entire group was very positive, making
recommendations such as providing organic produce to hotels catering to ex-pats and
developing documentaries on wastewater management. The group recommendations will be
included in the final PIDPs, and the group agreed to think of additional recommendations for
these and potentially other projects to increase stakeholder awareness of the issues impacting
the health of the Kura Aras River Basin.

The meeting concluded with a strong sense of accomplishment, and anticipation of possible
future meetings. Each of the participants were thanked personally by the International and
National consultants and the group shared a final meal together.

The total cost of the meeting fell below $10,000, consultant time not included.


Conclusions:




                                               83
The role of the SHAG Team in the TDA development process proved to be a very interesting
exercise in providing a reality check on the assumptions of the Technical Task Team. Though
there was not significant deviation from the concerns of the SHAG and the TTT, members of
the SHAG were able to flesh out the issues significantly and add new layers of validation for
the work being done by the project. Additionally, because the SHAG Team members have
perspectives are quite different from the TTT members, they provide a more complete picture
of the situation on the ground. Their insights into the issues of public concern, realities of
project implementation and the causes and effects of specific problems will enhance the TDA
as well as the SAP and other future project developments.

The Lessons Learned:

The following lessons learned from the SHAG meeting include:

    -   Dedication of the SHAG Team members, including willingness to travel for very long
        distances mirrors the dedication and importance they give this project. This sort of
        dedication reflects the critical nature of transboundary water management within the
        eyes of the stakeholder advisory group.

    -   The input from the group, from their unique perspectives, provides a critical lens
        through which to view project objectives and activities. These stakeholders are those
        who we will seek to engage, and understanding their vantage point helps to clarify
        how to meet their needs and expectations.

    -   The smaller group size allowed for building strong bonds among the group. A larger
        group may include more stakeholders but may not foster the same sense of belonging
        and mutual understanding that a smaller group can achieve and allow for the same
        degree of input.

    -   There was a marked difference between the level and investment in input between the
        NGO Forum meetings and the SHAG Meeting. While the NGO Forum meeting was
        significantly larger with between 25 and 45 participants, the focus was primarily on
        building connections and finding grant sources for NGO activities, where as the
        SHAG Meeting was generally much more focused on assisting the project to
        accomplish its objectives and providing insights into the issues to improve project
        implementation.

    -   The three day meeting time was sufficient to introduce the materials to the group, and
        to discuss the TDA recommendations. Additional time in a subsequent meeting with
        the same group will provide more in-depth discussion of the direction of the project.


    -   The relatively low cost of the event (below $10K) makes this an attractive way to
        keep stakeholder input active in the project without overextending budgets.

    -   The expertise of SHAG Team members compliments the TTT and other project staff,
        but also provides important legitimacy to the project by incorporating their input into
        the overall project development.


Recommendations for Next Steps:

It is recommended that a subsequent SHAG Team meeting be held to discuss the direction of
the SAP, as well as the developments within the Kura Aras project since the original SHAG
meeting. The members of the SHAG Team should be encouraged to return since they have


                                              84
already developed a familiarity with the project. It is also suggested that the group
recommendations be incorporated into the TDA as well as the preliminary SAP and additional
project documents as possible and appropriate.




                                           85
ANNEX 1
SHAG Team Members

Participant Name     Position                                 Country   Group
Alexan Ohanjanyan    Deputy head of Meghri Water and          AR        3
                     Wastewater service
Karine Mirzoyan      Head physician of Lori marz Center of    AR        2
                     Hygienic and Epidemic Surveillance –
Arevik Hovsepyan     Sustainable Water Environment NGO        AR        1
Farid Firudonov      Head - AKTIVTA                           AZ        2
                     (Azerbaijan      Ag-Input      Dealers
                     Association)
Robil Ceferov        Community Leader -Sabiribad              AZ        3
Teyyub Ismayilov     River community member, Regional         AZ        1
                     Stakeholder Coordinator UNDP/GEF
                     Kura Aras Project
Kakhaber Bakhtadze   CENN – Caucasus Environmental NGO        GE        1
                     Network
Revaz Getiashvili    Environmental Journalist Newspaper       GE        2
                     "NEW VERSION"
Maka Ochigava        Administrator UNDP/GEF Kura Aras         GE        3
                     Project
Houman Sanaei        Team Member of „Applied Research         IR        2
                     Center of Advanced Machinery
                     Technologies in Precision Farming &
                     Mechanization.
Nasrin Haje Hasani   East Azerbaijan Reaserch Center for      IR        1
                     Agriculture and Natural Resource.
Behrouz Vafaie       Lecturer in Azerbaijan National          IR        3
                     Academy of Sciences
Mary Matthews        Public Involvement Expert UNDP/GEF       Int‟l
                     Kura Aras Project
Tim Turner           UNDP GEF Project Chief Technical         Int‟l
                     Advisor
Malkhaz Adeishvili   UNDP GEF Country Project Manager         Georgia




                                    86
                 Meeting of the Kura-Aras Stakeholder Advisory Group

                                      Gudauri, Georgia

                                    10-13 November 2006.

                          Gudauri, Sports Clue, Tel +995(32)20-29-00



Working language: English and Russian with concurrent translation

Participants: Advisory Group from members from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and Iran.



Friday, 10 November 2006

13:00 Arrive in Gudauri

13:00-13:30 Check in to hotel rooms

13:00-16:30 Lunch and rest

16:30 -17:00 Coffee/tea break

17:00-17:20 Introduction and opening of the meeting, Overview of Kura Aras Project and
Objectives of meeting, Mary Matthews Governance Project Manager,

17:20-17:40 Introduction of participants

17:40-18:00 Review of agenda and work plan for meeting Review of role of Advisory Group
in the project and introductory overview of project components to be reviewed at meeting


19:30.Dinner

Free time


Saturday 11 November, 2006

08:00-09:00 Breakfast

10:00-11:00 Review of the UNDP/GEF Project and the Tranboundary Diagnostic Analysis

11:00-11:30 Coffee/ Tea

11:30-13:00 Major Issues and Causal Chain Analysis

13:00-14:00 Lunch

14:00-16:00 Stakeholder Analysis and findings

16:00-16:30 Coffee/ Tea


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16:30-18:30 Preliminary SAP and Basin Vision

19:30 Dinner


Sunday 12 November 2006

08:00-09:00 Breakfast

10:00-11:00 Introduction of the Public Involvement Strategy – Mary to Present

11:00-11:30 Coffee/ Tea

11:30-13:00 Discussion of Public Involvement Strategy – Teyyub to facilitate

13:00-14:00 Lunch

14:00-16:00 Presentation of the Public Involvement Demonstration Projects and Discussion –
Aravik and Kakha to present and facilitate

16:00-16:30 Coffee/ Tea

16:30-18:30 Communication Strategy Discussion – Mary with Teyyub and Maka (Tabled)

19:30 Supra/Banquet


Monday 13 November 2006

08:00-10:00 Breakfast

10:00-11:00 Discussion and recommendations

11:00-11:30 Coffee/Tea

11:30-1:00 Final Wrap up

1:00-13:00 Lunch

14:00 Lunch Depart Gudauri




                                            88
ANNEX 5




          Public Participation and Stakeholder Involvement Strategy



                         for the UNDP/GEF Project



    Reducing Transboundary Degradation of the Kura Aras River Basin




                        Mary M. Matthews, Ph.D.
                        Public Involvement Expert
                   mary.matthews@tethysconsultants.com




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Introduction:

Stakeholder involvement in transboundary projects increases the range of opinions,
ideas and participating populations. In cases where multi-stakeholder involvement has
not been widely utilized in decision making processes, or where there are groups who
have been marginalized by the norms ingrained in the decision making process, a
stakeholder involvement strategy provides guidance for increasing inclusion and a
sense of ownership among a broad array of stakeholder groups. The benefits of
increased stakeholder involvement in project development and implementation
includes obtaining inputs and diverse perspectives from stakeholder groups,
incorporating these into project design, development and implementation. Additional
benefits include increasing sustainability of project impacts by increasing the range of
stakeholders whose interests are met by the project and through an enhanced sense of
region wide responsibility for common resources.

The rationale for developing a stakeholder involvement strategy for the Kura Aras
River is that prior to the PDf-B project, low levels of attention paid to the need to
secure broad-based public support for, uses associated with the Kura Aras River
Basin. It is anticipated that this strategy will provide guidance for how to increase
stakeholder input into decision making of the project and will provide guidance about
how to appeal to broader public as beneficiaries of the efforts undertaken by the
project. Additionally, it is anticipated that this strategy will provide the project with
suggested activities that can be undertaken in order to facilitate stakeholder buy-in to
project activities to be implemented primarily at the national level and utilizing formal
civil society stakeholder organizations.

The Public Participation and Stakeholder Involvement Strategy focuses specifically
on the objectives of the Kura Aras River Basin Project and will also support the
forthcoming region-wide multi-donor supported Kura Aras Environment Programme
(KAEP) and will delineate the activities and tactics to meet the stakeholder
involvement objective of obtaining high quality contributions to the project
development and implementation from engaged, diverse and informed stakeholder
groups. This will include activities to ensure multi-stakeholder inputs into the
Strategic Action Programme, and determining public awareness building and outreach
activities, education targeting specific stakeholder groups, public involvement
components in demonstration projects, ongoing support of the regional Kura Aras
NGO Forum, and monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the project.

This will be accomplished through a series of activities based on creating a dynamic
flow of information to and from the project staff based on a variety of stakeholder
ideas and opinions, and allowing a significant portion of the public and stakeholder
involvement to be driven by the stakeholders themselves. The findings of the
Stakeholder Analysis conducted during the PDF-B phase of the project serve as the
empirical basis for both the specific issues to be addressed and approaches to be
employed to reduce tensions between groups through collective action towards
common goals.

The activities of the Kura Aras Public Participation and Stakeholder Involvement
Strategy are intended to link with the activities of other KAEP component projects
such as the UNDP/OSCE Environmental Security Initiative, USAID projects, and EU,


                                           90
as well as others under development such as SIDA, the Greek Embassy, and those
working on related activities. Additionally, it is anticipated that the Public
Participation and Stakeholder Involvement Strategy can be synchronized with the
Caspian Cluster Activities strategy when that has been finalized.

This strategy outlines the activities of the Public Participation and Stakeholder
Involvement Strategy (P2/SIS) through: description of the activity; rationale;
recommended tactics for accomplishing the activity; ttimeframe within the project;
and, suggested monitoring indicators. Definitions for major terms used in this strategy
are available in Annex 1.

This strategy should be viewed as a framework for more specific actions within the
project that will be developed as the project is implemented relying on further
stakeholder inputs during the SAP development phase of the full sized projects (FSP).
This will include the constructing a project communication strategy to facilitate broad
project outreach and public awareness, public involvement inputs into the
demonstration projects, and monitoring of project effectiveness and impacts. It is
expected that fulfillment of the strategy will include exchange of knowledge, ideas,
challenges and experiences between communities from various other river basins in
the broader region, including the Caspian Sea, Black Sea, Dnipro/Dneiper River,
Tisza River, and Danube River, potentially the Upper Syr Darya, and Aras Sea, as
well as other transboundary water projects.

Background information

The need to support stakeholder involvement and public participation in
transboundary water management within the UNDP Kura Aras Project is based on the
findings of the stakeholder analysis, and the need to meet the needs of multiple
stakeholder groups with an interest in and/or impact on the ecology of the river basin
while avoiding exacerbating tensions among stakeholder groups. The combination of
these two will determine the makeup of the Stakeholder Advisory Council (SHAG)
and will contribute to the formation of the national Stakeholder Fora (SHF), as well as
provide direction for the implementation of the strategy.

The Stakeholder Analysis (SHA) for the UNDP Kura Aras Project was conducted in
Spring 2005 – Autumn 2006. The first phase involved qualitative analysis based on
in-depth person to person interviews with stakeholders in the Former Soviet Kura
Aras countries. This was followed by development of stakeholder analysis surveys
administered to over 500 stakeholders representing 36 distinct stakeholder groups in
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Iran. The survey was designed to gauge
stakeholder group opinions, concerns and priorities regarding the specific issues
addressed by the UNDP Kura Aras Project . These surveys were statistically analyzed
and the findings combined with those from the qualitative analysis.

The findings of the SHA suggests that there is a need to include a much broader range
of stakeholders in the process of decision making so that the needs of many groups
can be addressed in a way that does not infringe upon the needs of others. The SHA
demonstrated that there were potential tensions between the upstream and
downstream users and use of agrochemicals and municipal waste dumping, or
tensions between environmental users such as those concerned with seasonal flows


                                          91
and those stakeholders who favor more aggressive water use schemes that would
distribute water at times favorable to demand peaks in order to advance economic
development.

The SHA Findings, including those from the Qualitative SHA, Quantitative SHA, and
Stakeholder Advisory Group, suggest that stakeholders at all levels are aware of
problems and are eager to be involved in addressing these. These SHA demonstrated
that there is desire across all stakeholder groups for more information about how to
keep the river healthy, and a willingness among stakeholders to recognize that
upstream and downstream uses of the river have resounding impacts throughout the
region. Specific stakeholder groups will need encouragement and support in
becoming involved while others are already active and eager to have more input in to
the river basin management process. Completed findings are available in the Full
Stakeholder Analysis, and serve as the foundation for this strategy. The
recommendations, activities and initiatives advocated within this strategy emerge
from the SHA and are a result of the lessons learned through Environmental
Governance “Reducing Trans-boundary Degradation of the Kura-Aras River Basin
through Public Involvement and Stakeholder Inclusion in Governance” the Regional
Environment Practice Component, of the UNDP/GEF Kura Aras Project administered
through the UNDP Bratislava Regional Centre.


Objective and activities:
As noted above the primary objective of the strategy is to obtain quality contributions
into the project development and implementation from engaged, diverse and informed
stakeholders through inputs into project planning/design, implementation and
monitoring of the activities at the national and regional levels. This is to be
accomplished through a set of five activities stemming from the findings of the SHA
and emanating from the inputs of the regional SHAG.


1. Provide input into the project development, including Strategic Action Programme
   development and demonstration project implementation through the SHAG with
   linkages to national stakeholders charged with supporting the UNDP Kura Aras
   Project

2. Continue to support the region wide Kura Aras NGO Forum focusing on
   addressing sustainable transboundary water and environmental management
   advocacy to support the project, provide civil society input into project activities
   and support project outreach activities.

3. Based on the input of the SHAG, develop an iterative communication and
   outreach strategy for the project that emphasizes broad public awareness building
   and specific stakeholder group targeted education activities to be implemented
   through a small grants programme in coordination with the NGO Forum

4. Implement the hands-on stakeholder and public involvement activities at the local
   level in close coordination with the project SAP Demonstration Projects to be
   implemented by NGOs and civil society within the region.



                                          92
5. Create and maintain an empirical mechanism to monitor and evaluate the
   effectiveness of the activities to determine what works, what needs improvement
   and how sustainable efforts are without long term project funding.


This work will be done in accordance with the UNDP/GEF Kura Aras SAP
Development, and other KAEP projects as possible. These activities will be linked to
the activities of the Caspian Cluster where possible and appropriate. It is intended that
these activities will provide a model for other the KAEP projects and they will be
mutually reinforcing, complimentary, and coordinated whenever possible.

The following section outlines the tactics may be employed to accomplish these
activities. Additions and adjustments will be made as the project develops and more
information becomes available. The strategy should be viewed as a flexible approach
to including stakeholders and the public in project activities and should not be
considered an immutable plan. It must remain sensitive to the realities of the project,
of regional developments and to the needs and conditions of stakeholders on the
ground.

1. Provide input into the project development, including Strategic Action Programme
   development and demonstration project implementation through the SHAG with
   linkages to national stakeholders charged with supporting the UNDP Kura Aras
   Project

In order for the public involvement strategy to most accurately reflect the needs,
concerns and priorities of stakeholders within the region, it will be critical that
stakeholders from a broad spectrum of interests and backgrounds are represented on
the Stakeholder Advisory Group.

During the PDF-B phase of the project a group of 12 Stakeholders met for 3 days in
November 2006 to review the TDA after an in depth briefing on the UNDP/GEF
Project and earlier work of the SHA Team. The SHAG Team members included:
NGO representatives, a public health care provider, a community organizer, a
municipal water manager, an agricultural input association representative, a farming
technology expert, a rural sociologist, and an environmental journalist. Most lived in
communities close to the Kura or Aras rivers.

The members of the group were selected based on a broad spectrum of specialization,
their understanding of transboundary water issues, and various interests while
maintaining an equal balance of regional nationalities. They provided input, via
comments on content, and made substantial recommendations for the project
development. Their input has been incorporated into subsequent drafts of the TDA,
and will be incorporated into the Full Sized Project (FSP) and other component
projects.

The make-up of this group is based on the findings of the stakeholder analysis and
members were selected based on the division over particular project related issues, the
degree of salience within specific stakeholder groups and the degree to which these
stakeholders are impacted by the conditions. The SHAG does not replicate the
functions of the intersectoral committees established by the project but instead


                                           93
focuses on those groups who do not have a formal voice within the decision making
process at the regional level.

In the future officials from various government sectors may be invited to participate
in the SHAG as appropriate. Members of international funding institution and
bilateral development agencies and governmental sectors also are stakeholders who
may be included in project activities as appropriate, however they will not be
participating members of the SHAG.

The SHAG members will provide input into the identification and articulation of the
SAP Ecosystem Quality Objectives (EQOs), and set the stage for the development
and contributions to the UNDP Kura Aras Project. The SHAG will be asked to assist
the project to develop the final version of the Basin Vision, and to work with the
project and SAP Formulation Team members to develop meaningful EQOs that will
favour win-win situations, address concerns of multiple stakeholders in the region and
be realistically attainable.

For the project to move forward to address specific issues other stakeholder groups
may be formed to deal with these issues. For example for the demonstration project
dealing with transboundary flooding between Azerbaijan and Georgia, a small, issue
specific stakeholder group may be able to provide key inputs into the project design
and development, especially pertaining to the development of public involvement
activities of that project. The members of that group could include national members
of the regional SHAG, as well as others impacted by and directly involved with this
issue. This approach could be replicated for other demonstration projects and national
level activities as needed.

Both the SHAG and issue specific groups will be run on a consensus based decision
making model, with no member given more prominence than any other, regardless of
social, economic, or political standing. The emphasis will be placed on building
mutual respect, consideration and understanding. The goal of these groups is to create
win-win positive sum situations whenever possible, and in cases where it is not, to
reduce negative impacts on stakeholders.

2. Continue to support the region wide Kura Aras NGO Forum focusing on
   addressing sustainable transboundary water and environmental management
   advocacy to support the project and, provide civil society input into project
   activities and project outreach activities.


The civil society mechanisms with the Kura Aras Basin are emerging as a potentially
influential force for change for social and environmental issues. Prior to the PDF-B
phase of the project there was not an organization or coalition of civil society
organizations that addressed transboundary environmental issues focusing specifically
on water management. The NGO Forum came together under the Environmental
Governance Component of project with the mission to increase support for the project
within the civil society sector, to provide a mechanism for the project to support
transboundary project development and implementation for projects funded by
international donors and to provide a united front for civil society involvement in the



                                          94
region. The NGO Forum now provides civil society with a formal mechanism for
input in to the UNDP project, as well as other.

Members of the NGOs come together, exchange experiences and ideas, develop
transboundary partnerships. Organizations in the NGO sector are often competitors
for funding, however because of the diversity of expertise within these groups,
creating a means for them to cooperate can have benefits throughout the region,
including serving as a clearing house and directory for donor funding initiatives,
creating a regional expertise database, and establishing cohesive and collaborative
project proposals and implementation.

The additional benefit for the creation of a NGO Forum is that it provides a means to
recruit and market transboundary communication outreach and stakeholder education
activities (detailed in Activity 3) and it provides a means to solicit proposals for
implementation of public involvement activities (detailed in Activity 4).

Through continues support, in combination with other regional donors, such as the
Eurasia Foundation and OSCE ENV SEC Initiative, the Kura Aras NGO Forum can
continue to build upon the strong foundation laid during the PDF-B phase of the
project and work towards becoming autonomous. Additionally, the group now has
elected representative who can serve to provide civil society input in to the
forthcoming Kura Aras Environment Programme. Additionally, there is an eagerness
to liaise with NGOs in the Caspian Cluster.

3. Based on the input of the SHAG, develop an iterative communication and
   outreach strategy for the project that emphasizes broad public awareness building
   and specific stakeholder group targeted education activities to be implemented
   through a small grants programme in coordination with the NGO Forum

An iterative communication and outreach strategy for the UNDP Kura Aras Project is
intended to reach a broad array of stakeholders, and the general public, as well as
more specific and targeted stakeholder groups. The messages to be sent to these will
be different and based on both awareness raising about the nature of the challenges to
the Kura Aras Basin environment, and improving the behaviours and actions of
specific stakeholders in order to reduce negative impacts on the environment.

A second more focused effort will be developed to increase educational outreach to
specific stakeholder groups. The intention is to increase awareness and introduce
alternative practices to stakeholders in the region. These efforts will be focused on
specific stakeholder groups, such as public health care providers, sustenance farmers,
municipal water managers, or educators. The approach will be to demonstrate the
logic behind current approaches, the empirical evidence of the impacts of these
approaches, and introduction of alternative practices.

The SHAG will serve as the body that provides the critical inputs for the development
of the strategy and the specific stakeholder education projects based on the findings of
the SHA and the TDA. The SHAG will be asked to help identify specific areas where
these efforts will be most effective and then develop specific messages to target
groups and over all awareness building. The support of an environmental
communications expert may be obtained in order to ensure optimal outputs and


                                          95
strategy design. The communication and outreach strategy should use social
marketing approaches to reach the public and should be done through a series of
iterated activities and information campaigns so that they can build on one another,
and increase understanding and need for action gradually and more effectively. This
will be based on the strategy guidelines developed by UNDP/GEF in the manual
“Communicating for Results! A Communications Planning Guide for International
Waters Projects”

Once the efforts and activities have been identified and initally developed through the
strategy, they will be channelled to the NGO Forum, and expressions of interest
including specific approaches to be used, budgets, transboundary areas and such will
be solicited from transboundary partner NGOs. These will be awarded based on
criteria established by the SHAG and will be supported through small grants
administered by the project. The small grants will have a specific monitoring and
evaluation criteria and may be administered based on the criteria for set by the SHAG.

4. Implement the hands-on stakeholder and public involvement activities at the local
   level in close coordination with the project SAP Demonstration Projects to be
   implemented by NGOs and civil society within the region.

The SHAG will also be charged with advising the project regarding the public
involvement demonstration projects (PIDPs) to be implemented during the SAP
development phase of the project. The SHAG will provide additional ideas, and assist
in the development of strategies to increase the public in communities near the
selected sites for the demonstration projects. It is anticipated that the SHAG members
will have a unique set of vantage points that can provide much needed understanding
of how these issues are currently viewed and how communities can be recruited to
assist in the project, and as a result become more invested in the outcomes.

The PIDPs were designed and developed through a competitive selection process
during the PDF-B phase of the project in conjunction with the NGO Forum activities.
The selected projects are:

Implementation of a farmer training project that demonstrates the impacts of current
farming practices, improved farming practices and organic farming practices. This
will involve training of farmers in communities, carefully gauging the impacts of the
farming practices on the environment, and providing hands on community educational
opportunities that target reducing negative impacts while improving harvests quantity
and quality.

Design and implementation of artificial wetlands to treat waste water in public
buildings within small communities. This will use artificial wetland technologies to
purify the water prior to introducing it to the river environment, and will emphasize
small scale, cost effective mechanisms for improving the water environment.

These demonstration projects will be implemented in all four Kura Aras Basin
countries, by NGO partners, and will emphasize training, affordability, community
involvement and cost effectiveness of the activities.




                                          96
Again the SHAG could provide critical inputs to the receptivity, location and
approach for recruiting community involvement in these activities.

For new smaller scale PIDP activities, the SHAG will assist in the development of
new PIDP ideas, provide criteria for selection for proposals from NGOs in the NGO
Forum, and devise monitoring and evaluation indicators for the pubic involvement
strategy. As with the Communication Strategy Activities, these will be channeled
through the Kura Aras NGO Forum and will require transboundary cooperation
among NGO partners for implementation, to be funded through small grants.

5. Create and maintain an empirical mechanism to monitor and evaluate the
   effectiveness of the activities to determine what works, what needs improvement
   and how sustainable efforts are without long term project funding.

A significant challenge to the field of public participation and stakeholder
involvement is adequate and meaningful monitoring and evaluation of activities. The
causality of changes in behaviours, the impacts of outreach activities, and the
effectiveness of projects are often inappropriately measured and lack empirical
validity. As such it becomes difficult to know if the activities had the intended
impacts. Therefore this strategy includes the development of an empirical mechanism
to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of activities. This is intended to gauge what
is effective, where improvements can be made and how to increase long term
sustainability after funding from the project is no longer driving activities.

A second end of project stakeholder analysis should be conducted to identify where
changes have or have not been effective. This will be based on the findings of the
initial SHA and target specific issues and stakeholders identified as critical during
FSP phase of the project. Additionally, the broader public will also be surveyed to
determine if the project has had inputs on the specific groups. This will be a
significant portion of the monitoring and evaluation of the communication strategy
and stakeholder education activities.

A critical review meeting will be held with project staff and select members of the
SHAG to determine the quality and impact of inputs in to the SAP development. It is
anticipated that there will be significant lessons to be learned through this and the
critical review meeting will provide an opportunity to assess the positive and negative
impacts of this so that both this and future projects can benefit from the findings and
conclusions reached in this meeting.

Monitoring and evaluation of the NGO Forum will be based on the independent
transboundary initiatives undertaken by the NGOs, as well as the specific activities
they implement on behalf of the project. As noted above the SHAG will assist in
developing the indicators for measuring the successful implementation of the project.

Finally, SHAG and project staff will be charged with reviewing the impacts of the
public involvement in the demonstration project activities. These will be reviewed in
terms of the unique approaches employed, the receptivity of communities and the
long term impacts these activities have on communities.




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The final output from the monitoring and evaluation of the public participation and
stakeholder involvement activities will be critically reviewed and a lessons learned
report will be produced to provide information for related projects and inputs, as well
as for the Kura Aras Environment Programme and/or Caspian Cluster to consider for
future public involvement activities.




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Annex 1 for Public Participation and Stakeholder Involvement Strategy

Definition of Terms
There are several terms that continue to present conceptual challenges to the
development of public involvement strategies. The terms “public”, “stakeholder”, and
“participation”, are routinely, and often erroneously, interchanged in discussions and
project designs. The working definitions for this particular strategy are as follows:

Public: The population as a whole, including a wide array of stakeholders, both those
active and latent, who are not specifically defined by their status as members of other
professional, social, civic, hedonistic, or economic stakeholder groups in relation to
the river basin.

Stakeholder: A member of a specifically defined group sharing a common interest in
river issues, based on professional, social, civic, hedonistic, or economic concerns. It
is possible that an individual can be a member of several stakeholder groups at the
same time. Stakeholder interests can be active and organized or latent and
unorganized. Stakeholders can be actively or passively involved in the issues
addressed by the project. They can either be impacted by and/or impacting the issues
addressed by the project.

Stakeholders for this project include the following groups: Non-Governmental
Organization (NGOs), scientists, industrial sector, mining industry representatives,
construction industry representatives, agro-industry representatives, regional
government officials, district water management officials, municipal government
officials, municipal waste manager, nature preserve staff, community based
organizations (CBOs), educators and teachers, students, farmers, pastoralists, public
health care providers, member of community near the river, tourism and recreation
industry officials and employees, press and media, and members of international
Funding Institution and bilateral development agencies. Governmental sectors also are
stakeholders who may be included in project activities as appropriate.

Participation: The act of taking part in activities of the project in order to reach the
goal of a healthier river system in the Kura Aras Basin. This may be done through
receptive participation, in terms of receiving information and education about actions
that can be taken to improve conditions, and through active participation by taking
part in activities and potentially continuing to be involved in those activities.

Involvement: Making a direct contribution to the project through providing direct
input and assisting in guiding the project design and development. Involvement is
more dynamic and multidirectional than participation, and stresses a sense of
ownership through consensus building and extended interactions based on
establishing and maintaining an ongoing relationship with the project, and project
activities.

Therefore a public participation and stakeholder involvement strategy involves
encompassing the broader public through interactions specifically designed to
support the participation of a wide array of stakeholders in activities in support of the
project.



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