Addis Ababa University Scholars Hold Workshop on “Leveraging Water for Peace”

Addis Ababa University Scholars Hold Workshop on
Addis Ababa University Scholars Hold Workshop on "Leveraging Water for Peace"

Africa-Press – Ethiopia. The Africa Center for Excellence for Water Management and the College of Natural and Computational Science at Addis Ababa University held a workshop today in connection with the World Water Day 2024 observed under the theme “Leveraging Water for Peace”.

Speaking at the opening of the workshop, Addis Ababa University Research Office Director Professor Tadesse Fetahi said that more than 3 billion people worldwide depend on water that crosses national borders.

Yet out of the 153 countries sharing trans-boundary rivers, lakes, and groundwater reserves with their neighboring countries, only 24 have operational cooperation arrangements, he added.

“Cross border cooperation on water is essential, particularly in Africa where 90 percent of water falls with catchment areas which cross national borders and could become sources of conflict if not settled,” the director elaborated.

There is immense value to manage water effectively across borders, the professor said, adding that this requires measurement, information sharing, and trust in using shared resources.

According to him, peaceful cooperation around water can flow to all sectors by working together to balance everyone’s human rights needs and water can be a stabilizing force and catalyst for sustainable development.

Professor Tadesse further stated that tackling the specific water challenges faced by African countries requires not only increased investment in infrastructure facilities but also strong capacity in proper water development and management.

For his part, Associate Professor of political science and international relations Yacob Arsano underlined the need to properly handle water not only at personal and local levels but at political level and pay attention to cooperation.

In that sense, we can have national water governance, regional water governance, transboundary water governance as well as global water governance regimes, he added.

“Because of this water is mismanaged in countries, while water is protected in other countries. That does not work. It has to be protected and managed in a system of arrangement throughout the basins.”

As an instance, he cited the current challenges faced in the Nile Basin.

“If we want to keep peace, we have to have really proper and fair, well managed and governed water. If we want prosperity, then we have to deal with water and engage ourselves to mitigate scarcity,” the associate professor underlined.

Natural and Computational Science College Dean Professor Tileye Feyissa said on his part that it is imperative to solve problems with water aspects in a way that benefits all parties and enables access to it.

Globally, more than 2 billion people do not have access to safe water, which is the worst in Africa.

Therefore, “we have to work in collaboration to overcome such challenges to ensure access to water and sanitation to benefit communities. In addition, we have to work together to devise a system to use shared resources in win-win approach.”

Resources are limited, but the human population, particularly in Africa, is growing at a fast rate, the professor noted, adding that it is important to manage resources that meet the demands of ever growing populations.

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