Research Activities
NBCBN in the transition phase and for its sustainability will work to show relevance for developing and executing research projects on regional and trans-boundary issues that support the development future needs of the basin, and it will be based on the needs of the clients and market, it will also include broader themes to be in the same line with IWRM and in the meantime serve the transboundary issues.

The research projects will be on both short and long term, and the objective of the short term is to target the policy maker with the urgent questions, while the long terms projects focuses on the non-addressed issues by policy makers. Research will be integrated to the knowledge sharing process, through training courses and policy interface events. The future research projects will have the chance for tackling local, regional and contracting research.

The role of research in the future of NBCBN will be to support development and investment at the far end. This will imply the inclusion of new capacity building activities to ensure the development of a new group of experts and NBCBN members who can support to fill the gap in complementary research components for project development and investment packaging. Therefore NBCBN will focus on its training and knowledge dissemination and sharing events on both technical and complementary important topics that can support the capacity development of its members in both technical and non-technical issues that are of importance to the water professionals.

Therefore the main objective of NBCBN Applied research activities in the transition phase is:
"Develop relevant knowledge in support of the policy dialogues, which happen at different levels and scales in the basin in a trans-boundary setting. To support the expansion and quality enhancement of tools and information development in the context of existing tools and information systems available to Nile Basin Countries through all its key stakeholders’ institutions."

  • Climate change (impacts, adaptation and resilience)
  • Ecosystems and Water quality management
  • Water governance in the Nile Basin
  • Hydropower development (micro and pico hydropower)
  • Ground water development
Current running research projects
1. Open Water Diplomacy Lab
 Media, Science and Water Diplomacy in the Nile Basin
“Open Water Diplomacy Lab” Research Project

Project Partners

-UNESCO-IHE (Project Coordinator)
-African Water Journalists Networks
-University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Department of Media Studies
-Nile Basin Capacity Building Network (NBCBN)
-Nile IWRM-Net
Project Overview

This project addresses an often overlooked area in water diplomacy: the role of media and their interaction with science and politics in advancing narratives that not only shape perceptions, but also contributes to define the scope of water debates and negotiations.
Water scientists from different disciplines and water journalists with different background (journalists, bloggers, and media officers of governments, NGOs and international institutions) will be involved with water diplomats in a laboratory – Open Water Diplomacy - addressing the following research questions:

1. How do media and communication contribute to transforming specific water issues into water diplomacy matters? How do water journalists resort to different disciplines and knowledge to uphold their stories and legitimise their narratives?
2. How do different water scientists and disciplines perceive their role in this process, particularly in terms of communicating their research? How could the interaction between media and science be improved in order to facilitate water diplomacy?

Water diplomacy could benefit from
- Better understanding of how the interaction between media, science and politics unfolds
- Trans-boundary (in terms of countries and disciplines) spaces where water journalists, scientists and diplomats can engage to communicate about water issues in a more open and effective way.

Nile Basin and focus on Eastern Nile basin case studies. In the third year the project will be extended to other transboundary basins.

What will Change
- Clearer understanding of the interaction between media, science and politics and its impact on water diplomacy
- Water journalists strengthened in terms of capacity to cover water issues – with a larger amount of journalistic reports published- and to promote a shared transboundary narrative
- Water scientists and researchers more aware about the water diplomacy implications of their research and of the way they communicate it
- Transboundary water negotiations supported by scientific research and evidences communicated in a way that is understandable to general audiences.

Project Impact
The research will address communication challenges by supporting an OPEN space where water journalists and scientists will co-produce knowledge across different divides and will share it with water diplomats and a plurality of other audiences. Thus, the project will contribute to SDGs 6.5 (transboundary cooperation) and 16.10 (public access to information)
Open Water Diplomacy is conceived as a laboratory where water journalists, scientists and diplomats engage in a process of common learning and co-production of knowledge on and for water diplomacy. This action research will be:

- Inter-disciplinary (involving social, technical and natural scientists, and communication specialists)
- Trans-national (scientists and journalists from different Nile basin countries will work together)
- Co-creative (scientists and journalists engaging in joint research/communication projects).

Project Manager
Dr. Emanuele Fantini, UNESCO-IHE

2. Water Scarcity
Water scarcity is the lack of sufficient available water resources to meet water needs within a region. It affects every continent and around 2.8 billion people around the world at least one month out of every year. More than 1.2 billion people lack access to clean drinking water. Millions of people around the world do not have enough water to sustain their livelihoods. Clean drinking water is scarce and there are millions of people across this globe that spends their entire day searching for it. Yet, people who have access to safe, clean drinking water take it for granted and don’t use it wisely. Inadequate access to water is one of the main reasons for poverty and it affects people’s basic needs, health, food security and livelihoods.
Collaborative regional research is one of the main activities of capacity building undertaken by The Nile Basin Capacity Building Network. NBCBN, in its transition phase to an independent organisation, is seeking to develop a portfolio of innovative regional research projects in the Nile basin. Demand driven trans-boundary research projects for development are the main research tracks for which NBCBN will seek funding. The Network has received funding from the DUPC2 funding programme under UNESCO-IHE to support and coordinate an applied research programme on Water Scarcity in the Nile Basin. Therefore, NBCBN announced in September 2016 to its member countries hosting institutes a new call for research projects on Water scarcity and invited its country nodes to team-up with NBCBN member institutions and partners to develop proposals under this research theme. These projects is under the general theme of “water scarcity” but some specific issues for research are proposed that will promote regional management of water resources to cope with water scarcity in the Nile basin.

Three research projects under this theme will be funded by NBCBN for 2017-2018, more details on these projects will be announced on NBCBN website once the projects are officially launched.

The overall goal of the NBCBN research project on Water Scarcity is to improve capacities, the governance and management of water resources in the Nile basin under water scarcity stresses and sharing the knowledge and practice needed to do so in different regions of the basin.
Detailed objectives include:
• Identification of hotspots facing water scarcity issues in the region
• Definition of key existing water scarcity problems in the basin
• Linking water scarcity to food security issues in the basin
• Developing solutions for water scarcity resilience in stressed areas of the basin
• Capacity development of the Nile basin's water professionals on key water scarcity issues
• Analysis of the gender and equity issues in relation to water scarcity
• Exchange of experiences and best management practices between the Nile basin countries and other regions with similar scarcity issues.

Sub-Thematic Research Areas
The research proposals should cover one or more of the following different areas of research under the Water Scarcity Theme:
• Water availability
• Water variability
• Water quality
• Water harvesting
• Water demand issues and water allocation
• Climate change impacts and resilience
• Land use change
• Livelihood and food security

Targeted Outputs
As highlighted the research project s seeking to achieve measurable outcomes – changes in attitudes, skills, and/or knowledge that lead to better water resources management policies and investments to support solutions for water scarcity. These outcomes are expected to be foreseen on long term to have positive impacts on better management of water resources, food productivity and people’s livelihoods. To achieve these outcomes, the project will produce a number of outputs, including the following:
• Knowledge products on regional water scarcity issues in the basin
• Tools, methods, frameworks and strategies for governing scarce water resources
• Guidelines for best management practices on water scarcity.
• Partnerships to strengthen learning, the exchange of information, knowledge and experiences.
• Improved links with stakeholders and next users.
• Training course to build capacities on different topics associated with water scarcity.
• Different types of Publications targeting different next users and stakeholders (peer reviewed papers, technical briefs, policy briefs,…)



For further information on the projects under this theme contact the, NBCBN-SEC Office or visit our website for regular updates.

Concluded Researches
1. Nile Ecosystems valuation for Wise Use
The Nile Ecosystems Wetlands Valuation and wise-Use (Nile-Eco-VWU) is a regional project to develop and test integrated tools for ecosystem services, valuation, and assessment that can be applied at local and regional scales within the Nile Basin. The project will fill a current gap in knowledge of how the values of wetlands are perceived, the tools to estimate those values, and the role of communities in that. Through integrating the social, natural and economic sciences the project will evaluate trade-offs inherent in an ecosystems-based approach to wetland management.