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Senegal joins the Water Convention

Published: 10 September 2018

Senegal is the second country outside the pan-European region to accede to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), the Secretariat of which is provided by UNECE.

A Sahelian country located on the western coast of Africa, Senegal shares most of its surface and groundwater resources with its neighbours - Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Mauritania.  The management and use of these water resources is therefore a strategic issue to ensure development and to preserve regional stability; especially as water availability is affected by climate change.

Senegal's accession to the Water Convention aims to support the efforts undertaken by the country in the sustainable management of its water resources.

His Excellency Mr. Mansour Faye, Minister of Water and Sanitation of Senegal, explained the relevance of the accession for Senegal: "Aware of the impact of water issues on the different development sectors of the country and considering the international nature of most of its water resources, Senegal very early on recognised the crucial importance of cooperation on transboundary water resources.  Thus, the Senegal and Gambia river basins, which hold most of our surface water reserves, have been the subject of institutional arrangements since the 1970s. Considering the increasing pressure on water resources, the 1992 Water Convention provides a relevant intergovernmental framework to strengthen these cooperation frameworks”.

UNECE’s Executive Secretary Ms. Olga Algayerova said: "I warmly congratulate Senegal on its accession to the Convention. This represents a very important development for the Convention, given Senegal's role in cross-border cooperation. I hope that this accession, a few months after Chad's, will motivate many more countries to join the Convention, which constitutes a key platform to help countries implement the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 6 on universal access to water and sanitation. "

Senegal's commitment to the Convention was illustrated by the joint launch by Senegal, Finland and Kazakhstan of the report on the follow-up to indicator 6.5.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals at the last session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, held in New York in July 2018. Senegal intends to continue to play an active role in advocating transboundary cooperation by promoting accession to the Water Convention among other African States.

Senegal's accession offers new prospects for strengthening transboundary cooperation in Africa and demonstrates once more the global opening of the Water Convention.

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Note to editors

About the Water Convention

The Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, the secretariat of which is provided by UNECE, has, since its entry into force in 1996, provided an important framework for improving the management of transboundary surface water and groundwater resources in the pan-European region. In March 2016, the Water Convention became a global multilateral and intergovernmental legal framework for transboundary water cooperation, open for accession to all UN Member States.

The Convention aims to protect and ensure the qualitative, quantitative and sustainable management of transboundary water resources by facilitating and promoting cooperation between countries. An important aspect of the Convention is its institutional framework, which is based on the Meeting of the Parties, its subsidiary bodies, such as working groups and task forces, as well as a permanent secretariat. This framework assists Parties in the implementation and progressive development of the Convention, which includes the exchange of experiences and good practices, the development of guidelines and recommendations, field projects and capacity-building. The Convention applies to various areas, such as the adaptation to climate change and the connection between water, food, energy and ecosystems within transboundary basins.

Transboundary cooperation under the Water Convention can accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including goal 6.5 to "implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation". UNECE is, together with UNESCO, the depository agency for indicator SDG 6.5.2, which measures cooperation for transboundary waters.

The eighth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention will be held in Astana, Kazakhstan, on 10-12 October.

On Senegal's accession to the Water Convention

On 31 August 2018, Senegal presented its instruments of accession to the Water Convention to the United Nations in New York.

Senegal began its accession to the Convention in 2017. The main steps in this process were the submission of a letter of interest to the Water Convention in November 2017 to UNECE and the organization of a national workshop in February 2018. Senegal's accession to the Water Convention will enter into force within the next 90 days. 

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