The centrality of transboundary water cooperation for peace and sustainable development has been stressed in recent years at the global and regional levels, notably in the Sustainable Development Goals, at the United Nations Security Council, and at the African Ministers’ Council on Water.
However, a significant acceleration of efforts is needed to reach the objective enshrined in the SDGs to have all transboundary basins covered by operational arrangements for transboundary water cooperation by 2030. The 2020 monitoring exercise for SDG 6.5.2 conducted jointly by UNECE and UNESCO, in which 129 of the 153 countries sharing transboundary waters submitted a response, showed that only 24 of these countries currently meet the SDG target.
The 9th World Water Forum organized by the Government of Senegal in Dakar from 21 to 26 March 2022 will therefore provide an opportunity to significantly strengthen efforts to promote transboundary cooperation for peace and development, including accession to the Water Convention. “Cooperation" is one of the four priorities identified by the Forum organisers. UNECE, as a strategic partner of the Forum, has led, in collaboration with several partners, the preparations for High level sessions, Ordinary Thematic sessions and side events. UNECE will also host a transboundary Pavilion that will serve as a Platform for various organisations to showcase their activities on transboundary water cooperation.
These events will provide the opportunity to share progress made and challenges faced in transboundary water cooperation, present tools available to support cooperation and exchange experiences; to discuss the main political messages that came up during the preparation of the forum and the efforts required to achieve SDG Goal 6, Target 6.5, including inter alia the development of agreements on both surface and ground waters and accession to the UN Conventions on transboundary water management; the need to improve conjunctive management of groundwater and surface water resources at all levels. UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova will stress these issues in her addresses to the ministerial segment on 21 and 22 March.
UNECE also supports the participation to the Forum of several African experts, with financial support from the European Union and Switzerland.
Note to editors
About the Water Convention
The Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) is central for the UN’s work in the area of transboundary water cooperation. Since the Convention’s global opening, in 2016, several African countries acceded (Chad, Senegal, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Togo) or are under accession process. These countries’ accession offers new prospects for enhanced transboundary cooperation in Sub-Saharan Africa, conflict prevention and regional stability.
About the World Water Forum
World Water Forum is the world's largest event on water organized every three years by the World Water Council and a selected host country. The Dakar Forum will be the first of its kind to be hosted in sub-Saharan Africa. The Dakar Forum was recognized by the United Nations General Assembly as a preparatory conference towards the United Nations 2023 Water Conference and will contribute to the elaboration of key political messages to convey to the Conference.