Mekrou Project: validation of studies carried out in 2014 and 2015

The regional workshop of the Consultative Committee of the Global Cooperation Mechanism for the Mékrou Project for the validation of the reports of various baseline studies conducted in 2014 and 2015 and to agree on the broad guidelines for the implementation of activities for the next year was held on 14, 15 and 16 July 2015 in Cotonou, Benin.

The meeting validated the capacity building program for the institutional actors involved in the management of the project; the Framework Agreement for the promotion of political dialogue in the project area and the diagnosis of the baseline situation of the current use of water in the project area.
Three ideas of demonstration pilot projects by country including one to be implemented by the end of the project for the benefit of the people were identified, consensual approaches to transboundary water management in the basin while taking into account specificities and sovereignty of each country were also identified. The point was also made on the progress on the development of the Manual for the Monitoring & Evaluation / Operational Planning of activities and the outlook for the second half of 2015 and the years 2016 and 2017.

Concerns about working relationships with the Joint Research Centre (JRC) were raised in the debates. The Country Water Partnerships (CWP) and the scientific structures have expressed frustration with the lack of communication with the JRC in the normal collaboration that should be with the research institutes in the countries.

The regional workshop brought together representatives of the Ministries in charge of water, environment, agriculture, livestock, weather in addition to directorates and appropriate technical structures of the ministries, national research institutes and universities of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger, representatives of regional institutions such as AGRHYMET, UEMOA, ACMAD, NBA, the Regional Coordination of Users the natural resources of the Niger River Basin, financial and technical partners such as EU, JRC GWPO, GWP-WA, GIZ, the Country Water Partnerships of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger and the various consulting firms committed for the studies.

The opening ceremony was chaired by the Beninese Minister of Water, Mrs Christine GBEDJI VYAHO in the presence of representatives of the Commission of the European Union-Brussels, Mr Luca BUSETTO, the Delegation of the European Union in Benin, Mr. Nestor NOUTAI, the GWPO, Manuel FULCHIRON, JRC, Mr. Alberto PISTOCCHI, NBA, Mr. Didier ZINSOU, the Chair of GWP-WA, Prof. Abel AFOUDA and key regional and national partners of the project.