Centre of Excellence in Public Utility Regulation (CEPUR)
Centre of Excellence in Public Utility Regulation (CEPUR)Centre of Excellence in Public Utility Regulation (CEPUR)Centre of Excellence in Public Utility Regulation (CEPUR)
+233 (0) 203327252
info@cepur.edu.gh
GIMPA Greenhill, Accra Ghana
Centre of Excellence in Public Utility Regulation (CEPUR)Centre of Excellence in Public Utility Regulation (CEPUR)Centre of Excellence in Public Utility Regulation (CEPUR)

Policy Dialogue on World Water Day

Introduction

World Water Day is an important event for the entire water stakeholders, for those working in the field, and for those whose lives are affected by the state of the world’s water resources. This is a large proportion of the world’s population, and a day dedicated to water concerns and issues is an excellent opportunity to engage the world’s attention on these issues.

In commemoration of the 2024 World Water Day, the Centre of Excellence in Public Utility Regulations (CEPUR) organized a policy dialogue under the theme “Leveraging Water for Peace.” The dialogue aimed at exploring the critical role of water in promoting peace and stability. It was also to identify strategies for leveraging water resources to foster cooperation and mitigate conflicts.

The programme brought together key stakeholders from government, industry, academia, and civil society to discuss the critical role of water in fostering peace and sustainable development. Among the distinguished attendees were representatives from the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, Ghana Water Company Limited, Water Resources Commission, Community Water and Sanitation Agency, Gold Fields, SNV, Accra School of Hygiene, Political Parties, and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre.

Background

Water scarcity, pollution, and inequitable access to water resources pose significant challenges to global peace and security. As competition for water resources intensifies, conflicts over water rights and access are increasingly prevalent. However, water also presents an opportunity for cooperation and collaboration among nations, communities, and stakeholders, fostering peace and sustainable development. Recognizing the importance of addressing water-related challenges, World Water Day serves as an opportunity to raise awareness and promote dialogue on sustainable water management practices.

Objectives

  1. To raise awareness about the interconnectedness of water, peace, and security.
  2. To facilitate discussions on the potential of water as a catalyst for cooperation and peacebuilding.
  3. To identify challenges and opportunities in leveraging water resources for peace.
  4. To explore the role of mining activities in water-related conflicts and the regulatory framework needed.
  5. To identify strategies for harnessing water resources for rural peacebuilding and development.
  6. To develop actionable policy recommendations to promote water diplomacy and conflict resolution.

Methodology

Presentations by experts, panel discussions, and interaction among participants made up the policy dialogue. The presentations were made by the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, Ghana Water Company Limited and Gold Fields Ghana, bringing to light water-related issues in the country which paved the way for the panel discussion on the thematic areas. The panellists for the discussion were selected based on their expertise in water management, peacebuilding and diplomacy.

Mr. Minta Aboagye, the Board Chair of the Water Resources Commission, served as the programme’s Chairman. The panellists included Ing. Dr. Clifford Braimah (Managing Director, Ghana Water Company Ltd), Dr. Bob Alfa (Acting Executive Director, Water Resources Commission), Ing. Kwabena Asare Gyasi-Duku (Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources), Mr. Emmanuel Morrison (Head, Corporate Affairs, Gold Fields Ghana), and Madam Theresa Swanzy Baffoe (Project Manager, SNV). The discussions focused on various dimensions of leveraging water for peace, including transboundary water governance, water diplomacy, and community-based water management approaches.

Key Themes and Discussions:

Transboundary Water Governance and Water Diplomacy

Participants discussed the importance of cooperative frameworks for managing shared water resources across borders. Examples of successful transboundary water agreements were highlighted, emphasizing the need for inclusive and participatory approaches to water governance. The role of water diplomacy in preventing conflicts and promoting cooperation was also explored. Participants discussed the significance of dialogue, negotiation, and mediation in resolving water-related disputes and fostering trust among riparian states.

Community-Based Water Management

Community-led approaches to water management were showcased as effective means of promoting peace and resilience at the local level. Examples of community-driven initiatives for water conservation, equitable access, and conflict resolution were shared, emphasizing the importance of empowering local stakeholders.

Climate Change and Water Security

The impact of climate change on water resources and its implications for peace and security were discussed. Participants emphasized the need for adaptive strategies and resilience-building measures to address water-related challenges in the face of climate variability and change.

Equitable Access to Water Resources

The dialogue highlighted the importance of ensuring equitable access to water resources for all citizens. Participants discussed the need for inclusive policies and infrastructure development to address disparities in water access, particularly in marginalized communities.

Mining and Water-Related Conflicts

The dialogue addressed the relationship between mining activities and water-related conflicts. Participants examined the role of the Water Resources Commission in regulating mining practices to minimize environmental degradation and prevent conflicts over water resources.

Integrated Water Resource Management

Participants discussed the concept of integrated water resource management (IWRM) as a holistic approach to water governance. They emphasized the need for coordinated efforts among government agencies, stakeholders, and communities to achieve sustainable water management goals.

Community-Based Approaches to Water Governance

The dialogue highlighted the importance of involving local communities in water governance and peacebuilding efforts. Participants shared examples of successful community-based initiatives aimed at improving water access, promoting conflict resolution, and building resilience.

Harnessing Water Resources for Peacebuilding and Development

Discussions focused on harnessing water resources to promote rural peacebuilding and development. Participants explored strategies for enhancing agricultural productivity, supporting livelihoods, and improving access to basic services in rural areas.

Policy Implications

The dialogue generated several policy implications for addressing water-related challenges in Ghana. These included the need for inclusive water governance frameworks, stronger regulations for sustainable resource management, and increased investment in infrastructure and capacity-building initiatives.

Challenges and Opportunities

Participants identified challenges such as competition over water resources, regulatory gaps and enforcement in mining activities, the impact of climate change on water availability, political tensions, competing interests, and resource scarcity as barriers to effective water cooperation and peacebuilding. However, they also recognized opportunities for leveraging water resources as a tool for conflict prevention, peacebuilding, and sustainable development.

Recommendations

  1. Develop inclusive policies to ensure equitable access to water resources.
  2. Implement adaptation strategies to mitigate the impacts of climate change on water resources.
  3. Enhance regulatory frameworks to address mining-related conflicts.
  4. Promote integrated water resource management approaches.
  5. Support community-based water management initiatives and empower local communities to participate in decision-making processes.
  6. Invest in rural water infrastructure to promote peacebuilding and development.
  7. Those who violate established regulations should be subject to sanctions without sight.

Conclusion

The policy dialogue provided valuable insights and recommendations for leveraging water for peace and development. By implementing the recommendations and fostering collaboration among stakeholders, Ghana can achieve sustainable water management and contribute to regional peace and stability.

It is the hope of the Centre of Excellence in Public Utility Regulation that, by the next celebration of World Water Day in 2025, most of the recommendations, if not all, should be implemented.

GALLERY

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