Green Cross International (GCI) welcomes the decision by the Republic of Chad to ratify the United Nations Watercourses Convention, the only global legal instrument governing the world’s international watercourses.
GCI actively advocates for the ratification of the Convention, which governs the use, management and protection of the world’s 276 cross-border rivers and also applies to the connected underground aquifers. Some 145 countries share these basins. Advocacy made through Green Cross’s Water for Life and Peace Programme contributed to inform Chad’s decision, made on 26 September.
Chad is the 28th State party to the Convention, which must be ratified by 35 countries to enter into force. Benin, Denmark and Luxemburg completed their accession process earlier this year. The Italian Senate ratified it in August.
“It is great news that Chad decided to join the UN Watercourses Convention, which entry into force will become a reality very soon,” says Marie-Laure Vercambre, Director of the GCI Water for Life and Peace Programme. “The snowball effect we are witnessing makes us believe that the Convention will reach the 35 required State parties for its entry into force in 2013, the Year of International Water Cooperation by the United Nations.”
“We are certain that the UN Watercourses Convention will contribute to creating a better environment to preserve our shared water resources.”
In late 2010, Ms. Vercambre and Dr. Mbengue, of the University of Geneva, presented on sustainability and legal governance at the Lake Chad Conference, which adopted a resolution that stated Chad’s commitment to carefully consider ratifying the Convention.
A year later, Green Cross convened an experts’ roundtable on the topic at the Solidarity for Water in the Niger Basin Forum organised by the Chirac Foundation and the Republic of Mali.
Bilateral and basin agreements cover just 40% of the world’s shared watercourses and most present major gaps and failings in light of the current stakes surrounding fresh and shared water resources.
Negotiated during more than three decades at the UN, the UN Watercourses Convention aims to promote environmental, economic and political security. It provides guidance on balanced and equitable use of these basins against the backdrop of the global increase in water demand, pollution, climate change and overexploitation. Should a conflict arise over water, the Convention proposes dispute settlement mechanisms.
Green Cross International (GCI), founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mikhail Gorbachev in 1993, is an independent non-profit and nongovernmental organization working to address the inter-connected global challenges of security, poverty eradication and environmental degradation through a combination of advocacy and local projects. GCI is headquartered in Geneva and has a growing network of national organizations in over 30 countries.