IWGP - Inclusive Water Governance Project in Mekong Region

Through this project, Switzerland will support civil society organisations, women and vulnerable communities to better influence water resource governance and decision-making processes at all levels in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. The Swiss knowhow in transboundary water governance and citizen participation shall leverage more inclusive, transparent and accountable infrastructure development that better responds to the needs of vulnerable riverine communities and improve their livelihood.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Democratic participation and civil society
Water diplomacy and security
01.10.2020 - 30.04.2025
CHF  3’378’000
Background The Greater Mekong Sub-Region is evolving rapidly, including geopolitical changes (with growing importance of Asian actors such as China, Japan and Korea), demographic growth and rapid urbanisation, and the continued emphasis of large-scale natural resource exploitation that is contributing significantly to economic growth. Despite the economic gains from hydropower development, the evidence shows that ineffective exploitation of water resources have negatively affected the sustainability of river ecosystems and the livelihoods of riverine population. The space for discussing these issues is being constrained across the region, where communities and people most affected by water resource management continue to be excluded from decision-making processes. Oxfam and International Rivers have been active in the region for more than 15 years. They have supported civil society actors, communities and women representatives to better engage and influence water and energy planning and development at all levels. Switzerland, as a neutral and trusted partner in the region, and based on its core democratic principles, will –though this project – further promote and support citizen participation in water governance.
Objectives SDC’s Inclusive Water Governance Project Phase 1 is a contribution to the second Phase of Oxfam’s Inclusion Project. The overall goal is to support water resource governance processes at the national and regional levels in the Greater Mekong Sub-region to be more inclusive of civil society, women and marginalised social groups. This shall ultimately lead to more sustainable livelihoods of riparian communities through access to river resources and the environmental services they provide.
Target groups

Direct beneficiaries: 25’103 people (12’877 women) including community members, community leaders, civil society organisation staffs and members of networks, academics and researchers, staff from government agencies and private sector actors.

Indirect beneficiaries will include an estimated 477’440 people (241’394 women) to be reached by the project’s outreach and activities. 

Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1:    Women leaders and representatives of marginalised social groups play leadership roles in influencing national and regional state and non-state actors in water resource governance and energy policy and planning.

Outcome 2:    Riverine communities and civil society actors engage with and influence national and regional water resource governance and renewable energy policy and planning processes, promoting the interests and rights of vulnerable social groups.

Outcome 3:    The target government and private sector actors at national and regional levels increased their compliance to international standards and best practice, and engage with and include the perspectives of civil society in hydropower and renewable energy policies and plans.


Expected results:  

1.1    More women are actively engaging in platforms and fora;

1.2    ncreased use of gender and social analysis among CSOs, private sector and policy makers;

2.1    Communities and Civil Society Organisations are better informed and their networks strengthened to influence policy and planning processes;

2.2    Communities and Civil Society Organisations have become more effective to engage with & influence the institutions, governments, private sector;

2.3    Civil Society Organisation partners more inclusive of vulnerable groups;

3.1    Increased understanding and awareness of key stakeholders of the impact and sustainability issues with hydropower and availability of alternative options;

3.2    more diverse actors are aware and promote sustainable renewable energy options;

3.3    Governments, regional institutions, financers, increasingly aware of and include civil society perspectives in hydropower and renewable energy development policies and plans. 

Results from previous phases:   The Inclusion Project Phase 1 has effectively influenced strategic processes and policies on Water Resource Governance and Renewable Energy through inclusive consultation, policy dialogue and more engagement among different stakeholders at sub-national, national and regional levels. Community members, including women and young people, government representatives, hydropower project companies and CSOs staffs (50,365 people, including 22,151 women) have improved their capacities, knowledge and network to be able to effectively influence Water Resource Governance and Renewable Energy planning and decision-making processes. A total of 43 government agencies/departments and 14 companies have increased their understanding about the impacts of water resource management on men and women. 

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
  • Other international or foreign NGO North
  • SDC Field Office

Other partners
Oxfam Australia (while project’s management is done by Oxfam in Cambodia in consortium with International Rivers)
Coordination with other projects and actors MRC; BRIDGE; DSTIA; CEGGA, RECOFTC
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    3’378’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    3’016’593
Project phases Phase 1 01.10.2020 - 30.04.2025   (Current phase)