Regional Expert on Transboundary Water Resources Management

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA)


Result of Service

  1. Annotated Table of Contents for the Arab Regional Report on the status of transboundary cooperation in the region for informing acceleration on SDG 6.5.2
  2. Draft Arab Regional Report (25-30 pages) on the status of transboundary water cooperation in the Arab region for informing acceleration on SDG 6.5.2;
  3. Final Arab Regional Report (25-30 pages, plus bibliography) on the status of transboundary cooperation in the Arab region for informing acceleration on SDG 6.5.2, based on the comments received on the draft version, in addition to the cover pages of any referenced bibliographic materials.

The final report will be prepared in the English language. The final report (25-30 pages, plus bibliography) will be submitted in MS Word (Times Roman, 11-point font, single spaced, A4 sized paper). Original diagrams, tables, figures and illustrations generated for the purpose of this report should be submitted as high-resolution images in the report or as separate files in their original format. The use of tables, diagrams and graphical materials is encouraged.

Reference materials should be duly cited in footnotes and in a bibliography at the end of the document (including webpage addresses and date of download, as appropriate). The submission of an e-copy of the cover pages of all material listed in the bibliography is required with submission of the final report. Should any copyrighted material be included in the report, including figures, tables or illustrations, the consultant is responsible for ensuring that the owner of the materials under copyright provides permission to ESCWA for reproduction of those materials.

Work Location


Expected duration

2.5 month (9 August 2021 – 22 October 2021)

Duties and Responsibilities


Transboundary water resources represent two-thirds of freshwater resources in the Arab region. More specifically, 14 out of 22 Arab States are riparian States to a transboundary surface water body, with 27 transboundary surface water basins. All Arab States, with the exception of Comoros, share a transboundary groundwater resource, with 21 Arab States sharing one or more of the 41 plus aquifers that cover 58 per cent of the surface area of the Arab region. As the management of transboundary water resources in one country may affect significantly water resources in another country, it is essential for riparian States to cooperate at the bilateral and basin levels as well as at the regional and global levels to support transboundary water resources management.

The high dependency on transboundary water resources in the Arab region complicates efforts to achieve water security and also hinders the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), articulated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The situation is further complicated in water basins that are shared between Arab and non-Arab countries; in transboundary river systems whose headwaters are situated outside the Arab region and are being subject to armed conflict; or in transboundary water basins that are partially under occupation. Climate change and climate variability threatens to further complicate transboundary water resources management stressing the importance of dialogue and cooperation between riparian States.

At the global level, several legal frameworks are available to support the management of transboundary water resources. These include the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses (United Nations Watercourse Convention), the Draft Articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (UNECE Water Convention).

At the regional level, the Draft Guidelines for Cooperation on Shared Water Resources between Arab States in the Arab Region continues to be reviewed under the Arab Ministerial Water Council (AMWC) in the League of Arab States. This could serve as guidance for supporting cooperation on shared water resources in the Arab region.

Under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, SDG 6.5 calls for the implementation of integrated water resources management (IWRM) at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate. This reflects the acknowledgement of the global community of the importance of transboundary water cooperation for the achievement of sustainable development. Two indicators are proposed for monitoring progress on SDG 6.5, indicator 6.5.1 aims to reflect the degree to which IWRM is implemented at the country-level and indicator 6.5.2 is meant to report on the degree of transboundary cooperation.

In this respect, ESCWA collaborated with UNECE and UNESCO for the preparation of the first Arab regional report for SDG 6.5.2 in 2018 and has extended this collaboration to support greater awareness and knowledge to foster dialogue and progress on transboundary cooperation from a regional perspective through a second joint report in 2021. The initial report reviewed the status of transboundary cooperation in the Arab region highlighting regional priorities and challenges. The second report will provide an update on the status of transboundary cooperation in the region with a focus on means of accelerating transboundary cooperation in the region. The report will also contribute to the regional midterm review of the Water Action Decade and the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework.


The regional expert will prepare the 2021 Arab Regional Report on transboundary cooperation that provides updated regional insights on the progress of transboundary cooperation since the first round of reporting in 2017 SDG indicator 6.5.2 for achieving progress towards SDG 6.5.
The report will draw upon the datasets collected as part of the second round of global reporting submitted by member States on SDG indicator 6.5.2 that are available with UNECE and UNESCO. The analysis will focus on progress in transboundary cooperation and regional priorities and challenges. In doing so, the report will identify means of accelerating transboundary cooperation in the Arab region.


Under the overall supervision of the Leader of the Climate Change and Natural Resources Sustainability Cluster, the regional expert would report directly to the Coordinator on IWRM for Improved Water Security and be responsible for the following:

  1. Drafting an annotated Table of Contents for the Arab Regional Report on the status of transboundary cooperation in the region for informing SDG 6.5.2 acceleration, for comment and feedback by ESCWA.
  2. Drafting the 2021 Arab Regional Report (25-30 pages) on the status of transboundary cooperation in the region for informing SDG 6.5.2 acceleration. The report would:
    • Follow the outline provided in the agreed upon Table of Contents ensuring that all the sections are adequately addressed;
    • Analyse national responses from Arab States and neighboring countries as part of their indicator report submission under the second global survey on SDG 6.5.2;
    • Collect and examine data from other established sources to complement the information provided in the indicator reports for improved robustness of data analysis, including data on transboundary water cooperation that may have been provided by Arab States under SDG 6.5.1
    • Provide an Arab regional analysis on the status of transboundary cooperation based on the country-level responses and regional specificities;
    • Generate analysis at the regional, national and basin levels on priority issues to address when seeking to advance transboundary cooperation;
    • Assess regional progress towards achieving SDG 6.5.2 and the national priorities and challenges;
    • Provide key findings and recommendations for accelerating transboundary cooperation.
    • Develop boxes/sections to highlight regional disparities, challenges and success stories;
    • Generate analysis on how transboundary cooperation at the Arab regional level can be accelerated drawing on the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework and lessons learned;
    • Prepare tables, charts and figures to enhance the presentation of findings and highlight priority areas/issues, as needed;
    • Draft report and solicit feedback from ESCWA.
  3. Finalizing the report (25-30 pages) based on the comments received and submitting it along with a complete bibliography and the cover pages or website addresses of all the referenced materials

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications: Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in water resources management, sustainable development, international water law or related field is required.
Experience: A minimum of seven (7) years of progressively responsible experience working in the field of water resources management with a focus on transboundary water resources, and/or water law within the context of sustainable development is required.
Language: Fluency in oral and written English and Arabic is required. Knowledge of French desirable.

No Fee