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14.10.2004 General News

Sweden, Netherlands fund Lower Volta Basin

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Accra, Oct 14, GNA - The Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) is to provide one million Euros to finance a project on "Improving Water Governance in the Volta Basin". The Government of Netherlands would provide the remaining 400,000 Euros to make up for the total cost of the project, which is 1.4 million Euros.

The goal of the project is to promote international co-operation between Ghana and Burkina Faso on water management of the Volta Basin. It will help the two countries to define shared principles and put in place a framework for co-operation for sustainable water management. An agreement was therefore, signed in Ouagadougou, last week by Mr Lennart Karisson, Director PF Development at the Swedish Embassy and Mr Ibrahim Thaiw, Director of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Regional Office for West Africa.

At the signing ceremony, Mr Thiaw said the project seeks to create a forum for dialogue and co-operation between the two major riparian countries of the Volta River, at a time when water resources in the basin is increasingly becoming scarce and contested.

"Peace is precondition for development. For that reason, the Swedish Development Co-operation seeks to prevent conflicts in its strategy for regional co-operation of the West Africa (IUCN-BRAO), in West African Water Partnership, Water Resources Commission of Ghana and la Direction Generale de I'neventaire des Resources Hydrauliques (DGIRH) of Burkina Faso.

"Water is the source of life, but it is also becoming more and more the source of tension between countries of a shared river course. The way forward for the countries of West Africa, with 25 shared river basins, is to put in place systems for trans-boundary management," he said.

This holds, especially true for the Volta Basin, where Ghana and Burkina Faso share about 85 per cent of the basin's area. Without consultation and co-ordination of investments in infrastructure and agricultural development, envisaged on both sides of the border of the two countries, and agreements on shared principles for sustainable management of the Volta River, the controversy on the causes of increased water scarcity and devastating floods in the lower Volta valley will only exacerbate, hence the project.

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