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UN harnesses trust-building potential in shared water resources


“This year’s devastating floods and droughts in almost every corner of the planet demonstrate the vital importance of water to all aspects of society and the environment,” said the United Nations Economic Commission on Europe said (UNECE), comprising 56 member countries in Europe, North America and Asia.

“More than three billion people depend on water that crosses national borders. This makes cross-border water cooperation an important foundation for peace, sustainable development and climate action,” said UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova at the launch of the Alliance. Transboundary Water Cooperation, during the UN Groundwater Summit in Paris.

The decision to form the Alliance was made before the second United Nations Water Conferencefrom 22 to 24 March 2023. Equitable water security and management is at the top of the UN’s priority list as a means of preventing conflict, as well as a Sustainable development goals.

resource aggregation

A multitude of interested parties will join forces beyond governments and intergovernmental organizations, UNECE explains, from regional integration organizations to international academic and financial institutions, along with civil society group.

The UN agency also notes that although 153 countries share transboundary rivers, lakes or aquifers, only 24 countries have all of their transboundary watersheds covered. covered by operating agreements.

Conference call

Agreeing with the UNECE head’s call for more countries to commit to the Convention on Water at the UN Water Conference next year, Senegal’s Serigne Mbaye Thiam emphasized that cross-border cooperation Water is vital to peace, development and resilience to climate shocks.

“We need to act quickly and without delay, especially in transboundary basins and aquifers, which are often most vulnerable to impact,” said Senegal’s Minister of Water and Sanitation. of climate change. “As a member of the Alliance, we urge governments and stakeholders to make concrete commitments to improve cross-border cooperation at the 2023 Water Conference.”

A flooded area in Anambra State, Nigeria on October 28, 2022

A flooded area in Anambra State, Nigeria on October 28, 2022

Slovenian Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon, who has described his country as a “cheer” for water cooperation, stressed that the country plays an important role in promoting peace and regional security. “Transboundary water cooperation is about managing common water resources, mutual benefits, constructive reciprocity and building trust,” she explains.

No water, no development

From the World Bank, Mr. Saroj Kumar Jha, Global Director of Global Water Practice, said that improving cooperation on water sharing is “a prerequisite for development…advancement.” of the climate change agenda and the needs of a growing population, balancing the needs of people and the Environment”.

UNECE’s Algayerova noted that the goals of the new Alliance should focus on strengthening legal and institutional frameworks for water management, capacity building, data sharing, financing and sharing. knowledge.

Follow Swiss government – a major advocate in de-escalating potential conflicts through water diplomacy, an approach known as Greenpeace – no less than 263 river or lake basins spanning two or more countries across the globe all over the world.

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