ESCWA to strengthen cooperation between Lebanon and Syria on shared water resources
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) concluded today a training course on “Negotiations and Dispute Resolution of International Water Resources” specially organized for lawyers and policy makers in the Lebanese Ministry of Water and Energy, the Syrian Ministry of Irrigation as well as the ministries of foreign affairs in both countries.
Organized in cooperation with the Lebanese Ministry of Water and Energy and the Syrian Ministry of Irrigation, and supported by the Federal Institute for Geosciences and National Resources (BGR) of Germany and the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ), the five-day course was run by Switzerland’s Compass, a leading international consultancy for training facilitation of negotiations.
The course, which focused on a number of important issues such as the international water resources problems and conflicts and the legal principles in international water management, aimed at bringing understanding about the negotiation processes, including basic principles of international laws related to management and resolution of international water conflicts--specially in relation to the Middle East.
While cooperation among riparian states on the use of shared water resources is not always evident, shared water resources can be a source of conflict in the absence of dialogue and cooperation among stakeholders, and as long as there are no binding institutional and legal mechanisms to address issues of water allocation, control of water quality and monitoring of water utilization among riparians.
There are six major water basins in Western Asia, which are shared by more than one country. The dependency of ESCWA Member States on inflows from these basins has important implications for water security, food security and regional stability.
Lebanon and Syria have distinctive record of cooperation on shared water resources, which includes the agreements signed on the joint management of Nahr El-Kabir. On its part, ESCWA is hoping to strengthen cooperation between both member states on shared water resources with a view to promoting the concept and application of integrated water resources management. This includes ESCWA technical cooperation program on shared water resources, undertaken in cooperation with the BGR, which aims at supporting bilateral cooperation among ESCWA member states on shared aquifers. — (menareport.com)
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