• English

UNECE supports development of a regional framework for transboundary water cooperation in Central Africa

In Central Africa, most watercourses cross borders. There are 16 transboundary rivers, lakes or aquifers, among them the mighty Congo River — the second largest river in the world in terms of water flow after the Amazon. However, these shared rivers also bring a risk of conflict. For this reason, in the framework of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), countries of Central Africa — namely, Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe — decided to develop a regional framework for the prevention of conflicts related to transboundary waters.

UNECE, providing the secretariat to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) was asked to support this process. On 10 and 11 March 2016 a regional seminar was organized by ECCAS in Kinshasa to discuss a draft regional convention for transboundary water management. At the seminar, the secretariat of the UNECE Water Convention was invited to provide advice to the development of the Convention, to present the two global legal frameworks for transboundary water cooperation — the Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses and the Water Convention — and to share the experiences and lessons learned from the implementation of the UNECE Water Convention. Participants at the workshop concluded that the two global Conventions were useful tools for Central African countries and recommended their ratification. Following the entry into force of an amendment to the UNECE Water Convention, it is now open to all United Nations Member States. Prior to the workshop, two Central African countries, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo, had already expressed interest in possibly acceding to the Convention.