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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Eastern Africa bloc to implement water
policy on shared resources to fix conflicts 

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.

 

Man fetches water to drink | Coastweek

 

 

File photo shows a man fetches water to drink in Minjar Arerti, Ethiopia, June 5, 2017. XINHUA PHOTO: MICHAEL TEWELDE

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.

Simon Chelugui, 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.

“With particular 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 countries.

             

 

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