IGAD Keeps on Building Capacity of Member States in Transboundary Water Governance

06 March 2017

Diego Jara

From 27 to 28 February a Regional Training on Hydrodiplomacy and Negotiation Skills for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Water Resources Protocol Negotiation Members, was held under the leadership of the Director of Agriculture and Environment Division- IGAD, Mr. Mohamed Moussa, with the support of Mr. John Owino and Mr. Juan Carlos Sánchez from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Ms. Sonja Koeppel from the United Nations Economic Cooperation for Europe (UNECE), and Mr. Yeneneh Teka from the United States State Department in attendance at the high table.

This training, which gathered thirty participants, is the continuation of a series of training sessions in the capacity building process in transboundary water management and governance for officials and Experts from Ministries in charge of water resources management, Ministries of Foreign Affairs, and legal experts from IGAD Member States.

This event served to share additional tools and some additional elements building on previous workshops. It also focuses on the Helsinki Water Convention, the United Nations Watercourses Convention, and the drafting of treaties and negotiation skills. The goal of this series of training sessions is to build and strengthen transboundary cooperation in the matters of shared water resources in the IGAD region that counts 12 transboundary river basins, and almost no cooperation frameworks in this matter.

Mr. Mohamed Moussa, in his opening remarks, noted that the successive training workshops in this matter, have contributed to team building as much as capacity building. He highlighted that building capacity of Member States institutions in the various intervention areas of IGAD, is a corner stone within IGAD

Mr. John Owino, Nairobi-based Programme Officer at IUCN and Mr. Juan Carlos Sánchez, Bonn-based Legal Officer at the IUCN Environmental Law Centre said that IUCN is a building technical block in this process that consists in completing the tasks which started with the IGAD INWRM Programme. "At IUCN, we are implementing a programme called Building River Dialogue and Governance Initiative (BRIDGE) funded by SDC. You will recall that the programme under which we are holding this training of today is dubbed Strengthening Transboundary Water Governance and Cooperation in the IGAD Region and was launched by us all in December 2016 in Nairobi with financial support from OES", said Mr. Owino who noted the complimentarily nature of both programmes within the framework of the capacity building of IGAD Member States in view of developing and strengthening cooperation in transboundary water resources management and governance.

Geneva-based Environment Affairs Officer at the Convention on the Protection and Use of Trans-boundary Watercourses and International Lakes- UNECE, Sonja Koeppel, precised that 60% of fresh water around the world is transboundary, hence the necessity to work collaboratively on legal frameworks at international and regional levels, but also to endow oneself with national water governance tools. "Knowledge of water international laws is essential in building cooperation towards accomplishing the United Nations MDGs among which the water issue", she said in substance.