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IGAD wants international water law revised

By Vision Reporter

Added 6th August 2015 01:52 PM

The Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) leadership has reaffirmed the region’s commitment to have the international water law revised.

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The Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) leadership has reaffirmed the region’s commitment to have the international water law revised.

By Stella Naigino      

The Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) leadership has reaffirmed the region’s commitment to have the international water law revised.

This comes after IGAD countries realizing the water scarcity that exists in many river basins around the

According to IGAD regional water expert Fred Mwango, physical water scarcity affects every continent and approximately one-fifth of the world population.

He notes that some of the not so obvious issues and solutions surrounding water scarcity are virtual water and bulk water transfer.

He explains that Virtual water is importing and exporting the virtual water embedded in water Intensive commodities. 

Khadija Mohamed, left, Prof. Emmanuel Kasimbazi and  Water  Law consultant  Marcella Nanni, right, during the conference organised by  Global Water Partnership (GWP) in partnership with Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) pose for a group photo at Imperial Botanical hotel  Entebbe 3/7/15. Photo by Wilfred Sanya

He says Global trade in bulk water has gained momentum, including the shipping of water in tankers across the ocean which has caused scarcity in many river basins hence need for a revised law on international water use.

This was at the closure of a four-day training in Entebbe by countries under IGAN on Wednesday.

Close to 70% of the IGAD region is either arid or semi-arid, with an estimated 76 million people routinely bearing the brunt of intermittent droughts whose frequency and severity is becoming alarming.

“The water of a country is defined by the volume of water needed for the production of goods and services consumed by the inhabitants of that country. Even countries which do not share any significant trans-boundary water resources are still reliant on the goods and services produced in tran-boundary basins. For example, Malta does not share any
tran-boundary resources, but imports 87% of its water so scarcity of water in river basins will greatly limit production of goods and services,”Mwango explains.

This scenario demonstrates that the sustainable management of international water courses is vital to all nations of the world not just trans boundary riparian nations.

Patrica Katabazi, the in charge of gender ministering in trans-boundary water resource management, said states are also facing the challenge of mitigating and adapting to uncertain climate variability and the resulting impact on water management.

“Changes in flow patterns, affecting the sediment and morphology of upstream and downstream rivers, affecting land use productivity due to loss of natural sediment depositions, and loss of fish productivity due to fish migration and habitation destruction are some examples of this challenge, which states must address whilst balancing ever growing demand for development,” she explained.

She called for a common understanding among member states so that they have  numerous internal and external motivations for state compliance to observe international law most of the time.

“It is in a nation’s self-interest to obey, if a state is seen to ignore international law, other states may do the same and the resulting chaos would not be in the interest of any state,’she said.

She said that 78 States recognize this necessity because it imports an element of stability and predictability into international relations.

However, where states fail to comply with international law, possible reasons include ambiguity and indeterminacy of language or lack of capacity and less commonly where a state makes a conscious decision to violate it on an issue regarded as vital to their interests.

The closure was graced by the top leadership of the member countries and a multiplicity of stakeholders as the bloc seeks to mitigate effects of drought on its citizens.

IGAD has seven member countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti, South Sudan, Sudan and Rwanda – with an estimated population of 214 million people.


IGAD wants international water law revised

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