UN Water Convention: lowering cross-border tensions

In the course of the UN Water Conference, held at UN Headquarters between 22-24 March, Two nations joined the Conference, in opposition to the backdrop of a rising international water disaster, through which local weather change, air pollution, and rising demand are posing challenges for growing and developed nations alike.

On Thursday Nigeria grew to become the 48h nation to hitch the treaty. The fast-growing nation, probably the most populous in Africa, is dealing instantly with the results of desertification, having seen Lake Chad, an necessary water supply, shrink by round 90 per cent because the Nineteen Seventies.

And on Friday, Iraq additionally joined, the primary within the Center East to take action. Nineteen of the 22 Arab nations are thought-about water scarce, and almost all Arab States draw upon transboundary water sources that cross a number of worldwide boundaries. Iraq is experiencing mounting social, financial and political pressures as a consequence of water shortage.

On the second day of the Convention, Conor Lennon from UN Information moderated a dialogue on the SDG Media Zone, on learn how to enhance cross-border cooperation between nations which share water sources. He was joined by Sonja Köppel, the Secretary to the Water Conference, and Suleiman Adamu, Nigeria’s Federal Minister of Water Sources.

The next is an edited abstract of the SDG Media Zone session.

Conor Lennon: What has the Water Conference achieved because it entered into pressure in 1996?

Sonja Köppel: Greater than 60 per cent of all freshwater sources are shared by two or extra nations, so cooperating on using these waters is essential for peace, sustainable improvement, and local weather motion.

The Water Conference is a singular authorized and intergovernmental platform, which has helped to facilitate as much as 100 agreements between nations, serving to to stop conflicts, and arrange sturdy establishments for its joint administration.

In Europe, it has led to concrete power technology agreements, and improved ecosystem well-being. And, in recent times, there was an elevated momentum for cooperation.

In Africa, round 20 nations are within the technique of accession to the Conference, and now there’s additionally rising curiosity in Latin America, and even Asia.

The Water Conference is highlighting the subject of transboundary water cooperation on the worldwide stage, and that is now mirrored within the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals]. Goal 5 of SDG 6 (Clear Water and Sanitation for All) features a name for transboundary water cooperation.

Conor Lennon: What distinction will becoming a member of the Conference make to Nigeria?

Suleiman Adamu: What’s necessary is that we at the moment are shifting from a regional state of affairs to a extra international neighborhood. Water safety is essential to us. We’re coping with Boko Haram terrorism within the northeast, partly as a result of lack of alternatives arising from the shrinking of Lake Chad. We hope that becoming a member of the Conference will draw extra consideration to this concern.

Conor Lennon: Lake Chad has shrunk some 90 per cent over the past 60 years. This should have made an enormous distinction to individuals dwelling in that area.

Suleiman Adamu: We estimate round 14 million persons are affected in somehow, in one of many poorest areas on earth, the place persons are coping with desertification and different local weather challenges.

We fear that, someday within the subsequent few many years, we’d discover that there shall be no Lake left in any respect. We actually have to get up and handle this problem.

The disaster has additionally moved inland, as a result of among the grazing areas across the Lake Chad are not obtainable. There’s rising battle between nomadic herders and sedentary farmers within the center part of the nation, and there’s a transfer in the direction of the south, the place there may be higher high quality land, within the absence of what was once obtainable round Lake Chad. It’s an enormous problem for Nigeria.

Sonja Köppel: Accession to the Water Conference signifies that Nigeria will be capable of profit from the worldwide experience, capability constructing, and good practices from current events in numerous elements of the world. It additionally sends a constructive sign to the worldwide neighborhood, together with worldwide monetary establishments.

It could additionally imply help for local weather change adaptation as a result of, as everyone knows, water and local weather change are carefully interlinked. The Water Conference helps nations by growing joint adaptation methods, so Nigeria will be capable of carry ahead its requests and desires.

Conor Lennon: Are you resigned to Lake Chad disappearing? Or can or not it’s saved?

Suleiman Adamu: The inter-basin water transfer project from the Congo Basin to Lake Chad might be among the best options to this drawback, as a result of we won’t cease desertification. It’s a large-scale, drastic answer, to maneuver a big quantity of water, that usually flows into the Atlantic Ocean, to Lake Chad.

Conor Lennon: Can the worldwide water disaster be solved?

Sonja Köppel: We have to mobilize governments on the highest stage and mobilize monetary establishments and the personal sector. We additionally have to contain civil society and younger individuals, and have sturdy advocates for water, demonstrating that water is essential for all of the Sustainable Growth Objectives.


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