Chad on its way to becoming the first African country to accede to the Water Convention

Chad expressed its intention to accede as soon as possible to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), serviced by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). This is the main outcome of the national workshop “Water Convention: Opportunities and Perspectives for Sustainable Management of Transboundary Waters in Chad”, held in N’Djamena on 29 and 30 March 2016.

The Water Convention provides a global legal and institutional framework for the sustainable management of transboundary water resources and for the promotion of cooperation. After announcing its interest in joining the Convention in 2014, the Ministry of Water and Sanitation of Chad organized a first national preparatory workshop on 22 February 2017 to discuss the Convention. This workshop gathered about fifty participants, including two ministers, His Excellency Mr. Sidick ABDELKERIM HAGGAR, Minister of Water and Sanitation and His Excellency Mr. Hassan AHMAT PATCHA, Deputy Secretary General of the Government.

The two-day national workshop on 29 and 30 March, co-organized by the Ministry of Water and Sanitation and UNECE, aimed to answer the questions raised during the preparatory workshop and to detail the obligations under the Convention, the benefits of acceding to it,  its implementation and possible challenges. The workshop brought together about sixty participants from different ministries, parliament and civil society. Experts from Greece, Portugal and Hungary shared their experiences on the implementation of the Convention in their respective countries.

His Excellency Mr. Asseid Gamar Sileck, Minister of Production, Irrigation and Agricultural Equipment, also speaking on behalf of His Excellency Mr. Sidick ABDELKERIM HAGGAR, the Minister of Water and Sanitation of Chad, explained the country situation driving the accession process: “Our country, Chad, is one of the countries having large basins; Lake Chad is the fourth largest lake in Africa. The Lake Chad Basin is drained by two main rivers: the Chari and the Logone, which are largely supplied by tributaries outside Chad. In addition to these surface waters, the Nubian sandstone aquifer system is shared between Chad, Libya, Sudan and Egypt. All these reasons explain the need for our country to join the Water Convention, which provides a framework for cooperation and exchange at the regional and international levels”.

Peter Kovacs, Chair of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention, congratulated Chad on its progress and expressed its hope that Chad could become the first country in Africa to accede to the Convention.

The French Ambassador in Chad, His Excellency Philippe Lacoste, affirmed that “at a time when climate change has considerable impacts on water resources, a strong and equitable multilateral framework with high quality expertise is highly desirable. France considers that the Water Convention provides such an instrument, and invites Chadian authorities to consider their possible accession as soon as possible.”

The authorities of Chad have also committed to promote the Convention among member countries of basins to which Chad belongs, in particular in the framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and the Niger Basin Authority (NBA). In this respect, Eng. Sanusi IMRAN ABDULLAHI, Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission noted in his opening address: "The Commission will continue to cooperate with the secretariat of the Water Convention. I request the Chadian Minister of Water and Sanitation to continue his advocacy with other member States of the Commission with the aim of ratifying this Convention.”