Greece recently became the 21st country to ratify the UN Watercourses Convention, a global water treaty designed to reduce conflict and guide joint management over rivers and lakes forming or crossing international boundaries.
The ratification adds new momentum to efforts to bring United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (UN Watercourses Convention) into force. The Convention, adopted at the United Nations 13 years ago by an overwhelming majority, becomes effective once it has been ratified by 35 nations.
Greece’s ratification contributes to a busy year in the establishment of the UN watercourses convention, supporting views that growing global anxieties over freshwater are boosting support for the treaty. France has announced its imminent ratification and willingness to actively promote the convention in Europe and beyond. Ratifications earlier this year include those by Nigeria, in September, and Guinea-Bissau, in May. Burkina Faso is likely to become the 22nd contracting state in the near future.
“Water is a resource that often crosses borders, creating both obligations and opportunities for the development of successful cooperation between countries,” said H.E. Tina Birbili, Greek Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change.
“The promotion of transboundary cooperation on water issues is inherent to Greece’s foreign policy, since around 25% of its surface water extends to or originates from neighboring countries. The UN Watercourses Convention together with the EU Water Framework Directive constitute the necessary background and reference point for advancing the transboundary negotiations that Greece has initiated with Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, on the Prespa Lake; with Turkey, on the Evros basin; and with Bulgaria, on the Nestos, Strymon, Ardas, and Evros basins.”
The widespread endorsement of the convention has been facilitated and encouraged by the UN Watercourses Convention Global Initiative, of which Green Cross is a member along with the WWF, Global Water Partnership, the IHP-HELP Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science, under the auspices of UNESCO (Centre for Water Law, Policy & Science), and numerous other partners.