Namibia must search for opportunities to effectively manage rivers that stretch over international boundaries because it could be a very sensitive political issue.
The country currently is a party to six shared watercourse agreements and a signatory to two international legal instruments aimed at fostering transboundary water resources management and promoting cooperation.
To further strengthen transboundary water management, in 2021, Namibia expressed interest in acceding to the 1992 UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes.
In order to achieve the goals, set out to strengthen transboundary water management the country through the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform commenced with a collaborative workshop for a project known as the Finland – Namibia Twinning Project on the Water Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes.
While officially opening the workshop the Executive Director of the agriculture ministry, Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata, highlighted the importance of global transboundary river basins and said that there are over 263 transboundary river basins all over the world.
Nghituwamata indicated that two or more countries share a third of these transboundary systems, and 15 of the basins are located within the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)
“The SADC offers excellent examples of how transboundary water cooperation of shared rivers should be managed,” Nghituwamata said.
According to Nghituwamata, these conventions and protocols provide platforms to establish transboundary river basin commissions, and consequently the basis for regional cooperation.
“All over the world, management of international rivers and lakes is a very politically sensitive issue.
But we should always view it not as a source of conflict, but as an opportunity, a catalyst for cooperation,” she said.
According to Nghituwamata, Namibia and Finland, although separated geographically by seas and shared watercourses, enjoy a long history of good relations dating back to the beginning of the 19th century.
“Our two beautiful countries wish to strengthen this cooperation under the framework of transboundary water management and; water cooperation and water diplomacy through engaging in the Twinning Initiative between an experienced party to the Water Convention and an incoming or new party to the convention,” she said.
The workshop will end today.