GWP West Africa held a consultation on the “joint management of groundwaters in West Africa” on 26-27 October 2011 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, to start a regional dialogue. Groundwater is important for West Africa, and notably for the Sahel countries, because of insufficient knowledge of their quantity and quality. A regional dialogue can contribute to better management of the resource.
For two years GWP West Africa has engaged in a process that has led some of its partners, such as UNESCO, to convene meetings with, among others, GEF, OSS, and AfDB, to reach a consensus on the process towards a regional dialogue.
At the Ouagadougou meeting, the representative of the Minister of Agriculture and Hydraulics of Burkina, expressed at the opening ceremony his pleasure to see people gathered “to look for necessary synergies to initiate a regional dialogue on the joint management of groundwater in West Africa”. He added that “such a dialogue, if launched, should induce effective uptake of groundwater in national and regional water management policies (at the level of state, regional integration organizations, Basin Organizations), paying particular attention to transboundary aquifers. This great initiative of Global Water Partnership and its partners is to be welcomed and encouraged”.
A lot of presentations were made with experience sharing from other regions, including India, and fruitful debates followed. Three working groups came up with guidelines which will be incorporated as recommendations, and a roadmap for the regional dialogue. ECOWAS’s Water Resources Coordination Center is supporting the process including the Interstate Committee to fight drought in the Sahel (CILSS) and the West Africa Monetary and Economic Union (UEMOA). Financial support of the regional workshop came from the UN Economic Commission for Africa’s Climate Policy Center (ACPC), FAO, UEMOA and GWP West Africa.