NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Water ministers from Intergovernmental Authority
on Development (IGAD) bloc on Wednesday signed a protocol to
help implement a policy on shared resources to reduce conflicts.
The policy is
expected to sustainably manage water resources for economic
development, peace-building and integration in order to reduce
conflicts over the commodity.
The ministers drawn
from countries including Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda in
a joint communique endorsed during a meeting in Nairobi, also
directed the IGAD secretariat to ensure continued facilitation
of negotiation process on the regional water protocol in order
to promote regional cooperation on sustainable management of
water in the region.
“IGAD member states
are the main beneficiaries of this regional legal framework and
all of us should endeavor to overcome issues which are obstacles
to the negotiation process of the water protocol,” said Mohammed
Musa, IGAD deputy executive director.
“We have much of
shared surface water and groundwater resources, hence the need
to have a set of rules in place to guide in the governance of
these shared resources properly,” Musa added.
File photo shows a man fetches
water to drink in Minjar Arerti, Ethiopia, June 5, 2017.
They also further
reaffirmed their commitment to finalize the negotiation on the
protocol to promote closer cooperation to conserve and manage
the shared water resources in the region.
Musa appreciated the
member states for having stood the test of time in starting the
water protocol negotiation process, knowing too well that water
protocol negotiation processes are tedious and time taking.
He said with
endorsement of the IGAD regional water resources policy on
January 2015, member states remained engaged in the the protocol
negotiation process, but regretted that the negotiation process
stalled almost two years ago and the secretariat made all
efforts to move the process forward to no avail.
Musa said the
negotiation committee met only thrice; once in 2015 and twice in
2016 and thereafter could not proceed further and called upon
all players to consider water as an enabling pillar for
socio-economic development in the region and provide guidance.
Kenya’s cabinet secretary for water and sanitation, said the
availability and distribution of water resources in the Horn of
Africa region is uneven and irregular both in space and time.
“The situation is
further exacerbated by periodic serious droughts that affect the
region with serious and devastating human, economic and
ecological consequences,” Chelugui said, adding that water
resources are an important trans-boundary issue in the region.
reference to the IGAD region, approximately 60 percent of the
surface area is occupied by international basins and it is
foreseen that by 2025, all countries in this region would be
water scarce,” he added.
Chelugui said that
with climate change and increasing populations, management of
water resources becomes a high priority in the region.
He added that in
order to preempt future inter-state conflicts and political
tensions, there is need for judicious consideration in the
cooperative and equitable development and management of shared
water resources, particularly between upstream and downstream