July 30, 2014: From 22-24 July, a Regional Workshop for Western and Central Africa was organised in Dakar, Senegal. This was the fourth regional meeting for the Groundwater component of the Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme (TWAP). Previous workshops were held in Berlin (Germany) for Europe, Montevideo (Uruguay) with representatives from most American countries and Nairobi (Kenya) with representatives of Eastern and Southern Africa.
The TWAP Groundwater assessment is largely based on contributions by national experts on groundwater from all over the world. To bring partners together, TWAP Groundwater organises Regional Workshops.
The TWAP Groundwater component, is part of the GEF-funded TWAP programme, and it is also a follow-up of the UNESCO Internationally Shared Aquifer Resources Management (ISARM) Initiative.
The objectives of the Regional meeting in Dakar were:
- Introduce TWAP groundwater component as a follow up of UNESCO's IHP ISARM initiative, the role and functions of the main actors in the project, the project methodology and the time frame
- Share currently available knowledge, based on previous regional initiatives (ISARM-Africa)
- Ensure that all parties are familiar with the methodological approach of the project, including data collection protocols, input variables and parameters, indicators and main project outputs
- Resolve any remaining questions about the questionnaire
- Finalize delineation of TBAs
- Present preliminary results of the data collection
- Work towards harmonizing the data
- Identify inter linkages with other water systems,
- Identify common issues and emerging issues, hotspots and opportunities within the TBAs selected to be assessed.
- Discuss how to further build the coalition of experts in the region
The assessment will help to advance the knowledge about transboundary aquifers in West and Central Africa, and as such will add value to the work of ISARM. It is expected that the assessment will prove to be a useful tool to assist countries in characterizing the current state of their transboundary aquifers and to identify issues of concern in transboundary water systems, which will require attention. At the same time, TWAP will help to raise the awareness about transboundary aquifers at the international level and provide platform for multilateral and bilateral donors for future consideration of their targets.
The workshop was attended by national experts from 18 countries in West and Central Africa, together with representatives from Regional Economic Commissions ECCAS and ECOWAS, UNESCO and of IGRAC. The workshop provided an excellent platform to exchange ideas and information on the transboundary groundwater resources in the region.