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Ensure sustainable use of Volta Basin resources - Prez Akufo-Addo tells ministers of 6 African countries

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has asked the ministers responsible for sanitation and water resources in the six countries within the Volta Basin to strengthen collaboration to ensure sustainable use of its resources.

He said the challenges in the water sector required that the governments of Ghana, Togo, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Benin supported the Volta Basin Authority (VBA) to secure resources in the basin.

The call by the President was contained in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, at the opening session of the 7th Council Meeting of Ministers in charge of the water sector in the six countries, in Accra yesterday.

The meeting was part of a five-day meeting of the Experts Committee of the VBA which started in Accra last Monday.

Ministers’ meeting

The meeting was attended by the ministers responsible for water resources in all the six countries that fall within the Volta Basin.

On the part of Ghana, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah; the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Naana Eyiah, and other government officials were present.  

The VBA was set up by the six West African countries that fall within the Volta Basin in 2007, as a body clothed with the mandate to develop and manage water and energy resources in the basin.

Since its establishment, a committee of experts meets periodically to discuss the state of development activities being implemented by the authority to improve on the resources in the basin and impact the livelihoods of residents along the basin.

The meetings usually climaxed with a meeting of the ministers in charge of the water sector in the six countries, who take policy decisions on the VBA.

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The meeting of the ministers was to discuss the report of the committee of experts and other policy decisions by the VBA.

Action

President Akufo-Addo said it was important to support the VBA to make it robust enough to deal with challenges such as trans-boundary pollution, accidental flooding and spills from upstream reservoirs.

He urged the stakeholder ministries and agencies to be guided by the fact that cooperation and partnerships were key to addressing the water management and development challenges.

“You need to give due consideration to plans and programmes that encourage exchange of quality data and information and their use with respect to trans-boundary issues,” he urged.

He also told the ministers to seriously consider the development and implementation of pragmatic interventions that targeted climate change.

“We are in the era of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development goals (SDGs) and, therefore, you need to consider collective actions that deal with SDG 6 on implementing integrated water resource management at all levels,” the President stressed.

Partnership

Ms Dapaah, for her part, said the depletion and degradation of fresh water resources through increased human settlements, rapid urbanisation and other human activities required stronger partnerships from the countries in the Volta Basin.

He reiterated that if the VBA was developed with the right infrastructure, the countries within it would be on a good path to improving the livelihood of their citizens and achieve many of the SDGs.

The Executive Director of the VBA, Mr Robert Dessouassi Yaovi, called for support from the governments of the beneficiary countries for the authority to build its capacity to deliver on its mandate.

He called on the countries to fulfil their financial obligations to the Volta Basin authority and also help foster partnerships that would benefit all stakeholders.