Ghana, whose transboundary river basins cover more than 75 per cent of the land, has recently announced its entry into the Convention on the Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention). This accession will be effective on September 21, 2020, making Ghana the third African country to accede to the UN Water Convention.
Ghana is opting for integrated management of transboundary watercourses. A choice that resulted in the accession of this West African country to the Convention on the Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention). “The growing effects of climate change and the pressure on water resources require urgent action to deepen existing transboundary cooperation,” says Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Ghana’s Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources.
Ghana’s membership text will be validated on September 21, 2020, making the country the 44th State Party to the UN Water Convention, and the third in Africa. Chad and Senegal having acceded to the convention in 2018.
Adopted by the Government Counsellors of the countries of the Economic Commission for Europe at their resumed fifth session held in Helsinki from March 17 to 18, 1992, the Water Convention is a flexible and comprehensive international legal framework that sets out the basic norms and standards for cooperation between States sharing watercourses for their use, management and protection.
Integrated management of transboundary watercourses, a necessity for Ghana
The concerted management of transboundary watercourses is indeed a necessity for Ghana whose territory is more than 75% covered by them. The most emblematic case is the Volta basin, with a surface area of about 400,000 km², which the country shares with 5 other West African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Togo).
In order to ensure the rational and integrated management of the resources of this basin, which has more than 20 million users, the Heads of State of the countries concerned signed the convention on the status of the Volta River and the creation of the Volta Basin Authority on January 19, 2007 in Ouagadougou.
This means that the integrated management of transboundary watercourses has always been a concern for Ghana, but also for its neighbours in the sub-region. For Côte d’Ivoire and Togo, with which Ghana shares its basins, are at an advanced stage of the national process of adhesion to the UN Convention on Water.