By signing to the UN Water Convention, Namibia has become the first country in southern Africa and the eighth country in Africa to join.
“Through this accession, Namibia will not only reap substantial benefits from its participation in this global legal framework but will also have the opportunity to engage with fellow members in promoting the principles of peace and equity in transboundary water sharing,” said Calle Schlettwein, Minister of Agriculture, Namibia.
The development will enable Namibia to access the expertise, technology and funding from global members of the convention to ensure the sustainable conservation and exploitation of shared water bodies.
Ms Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, which services the UN Water Convention, added that the entrance by Namibia in the consortium has the potential to unlock participation by other southern African countries to help address water challenges across national borders, which is especially crucial due to rising climate change impacts.
The milestone comes at a time Namibia is working with its neighboring countries including Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe to maximize water conservation, quantity and quality through legal frameworks such as the Okavango-Cubango River Commission, the Zambezi Watercourse Commission, the Cuvelai Watercourse Commission, the 2000 SADCC’s Revised Protocol on Shared Watercourses and the 1997 UN Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses.
Namibia is one of only two countries in Africa to have all its transboundary freshwater bodies covered by operational management arrangements.