By: Momodou Kanteh
Following the signing of the Instruments of ratification for the two (2) UN Water Conventions by the President of the Republic of The Gambia, His Excellency Adama Barrow few months ago, the Gambia has just concluded the deposition ceremony for the two conventions held on the 17th July, 2023.
The ceremony which was presided over by Honourable Musa S Drammeh, Minister for Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, was held during the side event on Water Action Agenda in the ongoing High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 10 – 19 July, 2023, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
There is a global momentum on the accession to the two conventions namely:
Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses adopted in New York on 21 May 1997 (1997 Watercourses Convention)and Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses International Lakes done at Helsinki on the 17th March, 1992 (1992 Water Convention).
The Gambia has become the 52nd Party globally and 9th Party in Africa. It follows on the heels of Namibia and Panama as the newest parties to the Conventions.
The event was moderated by Ales Bizjak, Vice chair of the Water Convention, Ministry of Natural Resources and Spatial planning of Slovenia and attended by Ms Sonja Koeppel, Secretary to the Water Convention, Mr. Komlan Sangbana, Legal Officer at the Water Convention Secretariat, officials of the Gambian Permanent Mission in New York, as well as officials of Namibia and Panama amongst others.
In his statement, Honourable Drammeh highlighted that “Being part of two trans boundary basins, The Gambia’s accession to the two UN Water Conventions will strengthen our capacity to enhance Integrated Water Resources Management at national level”.
He further pointed out the benefit that The Gambia has already derived from the work of the Convention.
“Substantially, The Gambia is already a beneficiary of the work of the Water Convention Secretariat through the coordination and facilitation of the dialogue on the concerted management of the Senegalou-Mauritanian Aquifer Basin since May 2020. This initiative resulted in the development of a Joint-Regional Project and also led to the signing of a Ministerial Declaration in September 2021, paving the way for Trans boundary Aquifer Cooperation ”.
The Honourable Minister therefore, requested for financial and technical support from donors and financial partners to enable the country to develop its implementation strategy for the two conventions.
Meanwhile, the minister also held a bilateral meeting with the Secretary to the Water Convention and her team, on the next steps regarding the support for the implementation. Issues of twinning with a long term party were also discussed.