FG ratifies the United Nations Convention on Transboundary Watercourses

The federal government has ratified the United Nations Water Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes. Water Resources Minister Suleiman Adamu briefed reporters after an FEC meeting.

Vice President Yemi Osinabjo chaired the meeting on Wednesday at the presidential villa in Abuja.

“It is a United Nations Convention, and it is called the Water Convention.

“Countries are required to join this convention and also have it ratified by (the) government. So (the) council ratified this agreement today. The convention has many benefits for Nigeria due to our many transboundary waters. We must strengthen cooperation with the members with whom we share the same basin,” the minister said.

Mr. Adamu added: “In addition to the fact that we are members of the Niger Basin Authority and the Benue River Commission, joining the international convention will give us better recognition and we will have better power to negotiation on many issues that have to do with transboundary waters.”

He added that the ratification also rhymed with Nigeria’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 6.5 with the need to consolidate existing cooperation with neighboring countries and groundwater and transboundary water issues.

The minister also explained that transboundary waters could be groundwater and surface water.

“We are the third country within the Niger Basin Authority to join after Chad and Cameroon. We hope that later on, other countries will also join this convention. It’s an international convention, and we put our stamp on it,” he noted. “The process took about a year; we have participated in many zonal workshops, national workshops and roadshows, and this has gained buy-in from all stakeholders. »

The attorney general of the federation is supposed to prepare the instrument of ratification.

The United Nations General Assembly in 1997 voted to adopt the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses – a comprehensive framework governing the rights and duties of States sharing freshwater systems.

There are 263 internationally shared watersheds, which drain the territories of 145 countries and represent more than 40% of the land surface of the planet.

Therefore, interstate cooperation for the sustainable management of transboundary water supplies, in accordance with applicable international legal instruments, is a matter of crucial importance, especially in the context of the current global water crisis.


Denise W. Whigham