Enhancing hydro-diplomacy to facilitate discussions on the draft IGAD Regional Water Resources Protocol

The IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) component of BRIDGE Africa is supporting IGAD to finalize its draft Protocol on Regional Water Resources and convened a second regional meeting on July 6th-8th 2015 in Naivasha, Kenya, attended by senior government officials who form the Technical Advisory Committee, members of  IGAD on Water Resources, legal experts from the IGAD Member States as well as staff from the IGAD Secretariat that reviewed the IGAD draft Protocol on Water Resources.

Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti working together on solving the practical exercise in hydrodiplomacy

One of the main outcomes of the meeting was the establishment of a committee representing IGAD Member States to negotiate and finalize the draft IGAD Protocol on Water Resources. The Member States are expected to appoint the members of the negotiating committee (two members per country) for their respective countries and submit their names to the IGAD Secretariat by end of July 2015. The first meeting for the negotiation committee is scheduled for the month of September 2015.

The overall objective of the Protocol is to promote closer cooperation in the equitable, sustainable and coordinated utilization, protection, conservation and management of trans-boundary/shared water resources in the IGAD region. The Protocol is progressive as it provides for the establishment and operationalization of an institutional framework responsible for the implementation of the Protocol. Upon adoption by IGAD Member States, the Protocol will be legally binding. The Protocol will facilitate the implementation of the IGAD Regional Water Resources Policy which was adopted by the IGAD Council of Ministers on Water Resources in January 2015.

The provisions of the draft IGAD Regional Water Resources Protocol are mainly derived from the UN Watercourses Convention of 1997 and the 2008 draft Law on Transboundary Aquifers. To improve the understanding of the participants and enhance their participation in the review of the draft Protocol, the BRIDGE team conducted a training on hydrodiplomacy. The training entailed the participants’ analysis of conflict scenarios in fictitious basins shared by fictitious States. The participants also analyzed the UN Watercourses Convention using the Legal Analytical Framework of International Water Law that uses the parameters of scope, substantive rules, procedural rules, institutional mechanisms and dispute settlement mechanisms in assessing the effectiveness of transboundary water governance regimes. The training deepened the participants’ understanding of important concepts, processes and institutional frameworks provided for in the International Water Law.

See the story on the IGAD website here.

Work area: 
Environmental Law
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