Chad’s accession to the Water Convention celebrated at a series of events organized by UNECE, Chad, the African Development Bank and the Lake Chad Basin Commission

On 23 May, Chad became the first African country to accede to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), serviced by UNECE. As a landlocked country in Central Africa, Chad faces significant water management challenges and depends to a large extent on the water resources it shares with its neighbours - Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Libya, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan.

This historic accession was celebrated and discussed on 19-21 November in N'Djamena (Chad) at events organized by the UNECE, Chad, the African Development Bank and the Lake Chad Basin Commission, with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany. About 50 participants from Chad and several representatives of neighbouring countries, including Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria, Central African Republic and Sudan, took part in the events marking Chad's accession.

"The Water Convention will enable Chad to continue its efforts in improving water governance and transboundary cooperation with its neighbours," said Ms. Lydie Beassemda, Minister of Production, Irrigation and Agricultural Equipment, representing Chad's Minister of Environment, Water and Fisheries, at the official celebration ceremony on 21 November. In addition, she noted that “Chad began to reap benefits already before its effective accession to the Convention. The accession process has contributed, in particular through the various meetings and workshops, to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry's experts in international water law, to strengthen coordination and collaboration between the different ministries on transboundary cooperation issues and to support national advocacy for sustainable water resources management”.

High level representatives from France, Germany, the European Union, Switzerland, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations as well as invited regional and subregional organizations, all congratulated Chad on its accession to the Convention. Ms. Ebeling, Chargé d'affaires of Germany explained: "By acceding to the UNECE Water Convention, Chad shows that it is determined to cooperate with others. On this basis, others will follow. The UNECE Water Convention provides us with the framework to speak a "common language", exchange views, learn from each other's experiences and develop in a sustainable way".

Mr. Ali Lamine Zeine, Resident Representative of the African Development Bank, acknowledged the importance of this accession for the Bank's investments and announced the AfDB's willingness to support the implementation of the Convention in Africa: "I would like to reiterate the AfDB's willingness and availability to continue to cooperate with all partners in Africa and at the global level, for the implementation of the Water Convention in order to make water resources a secure and irreplaceable input for life and sustainable development".

The practical benefits of this growing cooperation on activities between the Convention and the AfDB as well as the practical advantages of the Convention became apparent at the workshop on the preparation of bankable projects for climate change adaptation and transboundary cooperation, which preceded the official celebration ceremony on 19 and 20 November. During this training, participants learned about the sources of funding for water and climate projects, the steps and lessons learned to develop a project, the criteria for bankability, etc. This training has therefore strengthened the capacity of relevant actors to improve transboundary cooperation, based on the Water Convention.

The events marking Chad's accession ended with a regional workshop on the Water Convention in the afternoon of 21 November. During this workshop, the Executive Secretary of the Niger Basin Authority, Mr. Abderahim Bireme Hamid, the Representative of the Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, the Representative of the Economic Community of Central African States, reiterated their respective institutions' commitment to encourage Member States to accede to the Water Convention in order to support transboundary cooperation.