Transboundary Water Governance

Transboundary Water Governance for Sustainable Development and Blue Peace

The impacts of COVID-19 are being felt around the world and worsening existing challenges, including poverty, economic downturn, food and energy insecurity and political instability. Resilience at all scales requires everyone to have safe water, adequate sanitation and hygiene. This in turn depends on water resources that are dependable, accessible and good quality.

60% of global freshwater flow comes from transboundary basins. To improve the management of these, several activities and tools have been developed under the United Nations Transboundary Water Convention, supported by SDC's Global Programme Water. These support resource recovery and pollution prevention efforts in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Activities include:

  1. Capacity building on monitoring and effective information exchange
  2. Assessing options to enhance access to financing for transboundary water cooperation

One example of how the project addresses the second aspect is by creating publicly available information and by increasing awareness and capacity on why financing access to water and sanitation and transboundary water cooperation are increasingly important to prevent future crises. However, crises are likely to affect the availability of financial resources to support transboundary water cooperation processes.

Currently, the Water Convention is preparing a background study on financing transboundary water cooperation. When complete, they will organize a global workshop on this topic, jointly with international financial institutions like UNCDF and GEF. Switzerland (through the GPW) is actively involved in this working group, together with Senegal and The Netherlands.

The Water Convention is open for new signatories. Senegal and Chad became new state parties in 2018/2019 and other African countries are in the process of joining, including Ghana.

60% of global freshwater flow comes from transboundary basins © SDCs GPW

“Working together for better and more sustainable water management is as important in times of pandemic as it is in times of drought. In fact, cooperation around water is an excellent tool for resilience!"

Quote from a representative of the Ministry of Water in Senegal at a recent virtual online conference, Geneva, 26 May 2020

Duration: 2019 – 2021

Budget: USD 1.65 million (3 years)

Contact: Isabella Pagotto, Global Programme Water