Drainage basins
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Cooperation in drainage basins

The Visual Capitalist just published a great map on the drainage basins of the World’s Longest Rivers. Drainage basin for geomorphology, or catchment area for hydrology, means the area where the water flows downstream and finally reaches the sea.

It is clear from the map that many drainage basis do not follow the country boarders. For example the Nile River systems covers as many as 11 countries.  Therefore, if you wish to protect the river or negotiate about the use of water resources or building dams, you need international cooperation. If one wishes to assess the water protection polices, in some cases assessing the international cooperation mechanisms might be an important precondition of the protection.

Government external auditors not only audit their governments actions but sometimes do also cooperative audits with their peers.  Environmental topics are very fruitful for such a cooperation because environmental problems don’t respect country boarders. One good starting point for cooperation is a shared ecosystem or a river catchment area.

Cooperative audit on the protection of Lake Chad is a powerful example of a cooperative audit. The marvelous video visualizes in an engaging way how the intensified use of natural resources and environmental, social and economic problems are deeply intertwined and sow seeds for conflict. Audit Offices of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon audited their countries’ actions as well as the Lake Chad Basin Commission overseeing water and other natural resource usage in the basin. Cooperative audit found that the Commission does not fully discharge its duties due to the fact of clear mandate, inadequate organization and poor optimization of resources. The audit pointed out that if no action is made, the whole lake might disappear.

By the way, Lake Chad is an endorheic basin and does not have an outlet to the sea.