Benefit-sharing mainly refers to sharing the benefits from a development intervention with those most negatively affected by it. It can also refer to larger scale sharing of benefits – for example, revenue received from multiple development interventions being channeled into social and environmental projects. ‘Benefits’ it should be noted, are not always monetary.

Benefit-sharing Mechanisms (BSMs) are institutional innovations created as a mechanism for sharing water-related costs and benefits among different social groups. They need new cross-sectoral and transboundary institutional arrangements to address high-level issues of water management. These arrangements can enable equitable and sustainable development through improved resource governance and more productive and resilient water management.

Benefit-sharing mechanisms are developed and adopted as a means to resolving water-related conflicts and better sharing its benefits.


Why does benefit-sharing matter?

All too often, the benefits of river development are unequally shared. Indeed, most conflicts around water resources are because of perceived inequalities of sharing river benefits, or those emerging from development interventions. In much benefit-sharing literature, it is not only disadvantaged people who are the focus of benefit-sharing, but also the environment.

A focus on benefit-sharing can result in transboundary agreements, more equitable outcomes from development, improved welfare, and a fairer distribution of costs.

The change we seek

Benefit-sharing mechanisms are developed and adopted by Greater Mekong Governments, the private sector, development agencies and community-based organisations as a means to resolving water-related conflicts and better sharing its benefits.

WLE and benefit-sharing

The WLE has implemented many projects focused on benefit-sharing at local, catchment and basin scales. The programme views benefit-sharing, and the development of benefit-sharing mechanisms as a viable way of generating positive development outcomes, improving international cooperation and agreement over transboundary rivers, and reducing negative impacts on the vulnerable.