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UNECE supports Ghana towards accession to global Water Conventions

Ensuring the effective management of water resources so that different needs – including for agriculture, industry, drinking water supplies, hydropower and the protection of ecosystems – can be met is complex at the national level. When water resources are shared with other countries, this can be even more challenging.

In this context, practical frameworks for cooperation, such as the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), serviced by UNECE, and the Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses (Watercourses Convention), can make an important contribution to sustainable water management.

Ghana shares with its neighbours three main transboundary rivers– the Volta, Tano and Bia. The current legal framework for the Volta River has been in place since 2007, while transboundary arrangements for the Tano and Bia are in their infancy. Key transboundary challenges facing Ghana include hydropower development, agriculture, flood management and the cumulative impacts of illegal mining.  

To help respond to these challenges, a workshop was held in Accra, Ghana, on 25 January 2018 to explore the benefits of Ghana joining the Water Convention and the Watercourses Convention.

This was an opportunity to bring together 50 participants from across government departments and civil society to examine the evolution and current status of the Water Convention and the Watercourses Convention, and highlight the benefits they could bring for enhancing the country’s water management. An important message was that there are synergies between both Conventions, and therefore advantages in countries joining both instruments. 

These synergies and advantages were highlighted by Péter Kovacs, Chair of the Bureau to the Water Convention, who shared Hungary’s experience with both conventions. The workshop also explored the compatibility of Ghana’s national water policy with the two global water conventions, as well as their connections with the Volta Basin legal framework already in place. 

The benefits of Ghana joining the conventions include strengthening the development and implementation of the Volta basin legal framework, supporting transboundary cooperation on the other rivers that Ghana shares with its neighbours, and supporting Ghana's contribution to the global water agenda in the context of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.  

As an outcome of the workshop, the Water Resources Commission of Ghana will develop a recommendation for the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources for the country to accede to both global conventions.  

The workshop was organized by Green Cross, UNECE, the Water Resources Commission of Ghana and WWF.