UNECE supports the establishment of the Comoé-Bia-Tanoé Basin Authority to strengthen water cooperation in West Africa

West Africa is rich in transboundary waters with 25 transboundary river basins. The Comoé, Bia and Tanoé river basins are among the main basins that have so far not had a joint management mechanism. The combination of higher water demand from population growth as well as the projected new water infrastructure are increasing the pressure on the water resources of these basins in a context of significant reduction in water availability due to climate change.

The creation of the Comoé-Bia-Tanoé Basin Authority, which is being supported by the secretariat of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) hosted by UNECE, aims to provide a sustainable solution to these issues through transboundary cooperation. The establishment of the Basin Authority is part of the process of creating joint institution on main West African transboundary watercourses led by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The constitutive meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Comoé-Bia-Tanoé Basin Authority was held on 27 April 2018 in Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire). The meeting brought together ministers and senior officials in charge of water resources management from Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Mali. The secretariat of the Water Convention was invited to support the operationalization of the Authority.

During the meeting, the Ministers of Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Mali approved the draft texts constituting the Basin Authority, in particular the Convention on the status of the Comoe, Bia and Tanoé Rivers and the creation of the Comoé-Bia-Tanoé Basin Authority (CBTA) as well as the Statutes of the Basin Authority and the Organic Texts of the Basin Authority. The Council of Ministers also adopted a roadmap for the operationalization of the Authority.

UNECE supported the process by contributing to the finalization of the Authority’s constitutive texts during the expert pre-meeting to the Council of Minister. The constitutive meeting provided also opportunity to raise awareness on the Water Convention and its activities and the opportunities it provides for strengthening transboundary cooperation in the West African region. The representatives of Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Mali reiterated their willingness to explore the possibility of joining the Water Convention.

The Council requested support from the Secretariat of the Convention to accompany the effective establishment of the Basin Authority. UNECE will consider how it can support the effective operationalization of the Comoé-Bia-Tanoé Basin Authority.