The Second Meeting of the Global High Level Panel on Water and Peace was held in Dakar, Senegal from 5-7 April 2016. It was hosted by the Government of Senegal, the Ministry of Water and Sanitation as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with support from Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur du fleuve Senegal (OMVS) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation of the Government of Switzerland (SDC).
The session was inaugurated by His Excellency Mr Mohamed Boune Abdalah Dione, Prime Minister of Senegal. He said that it is important to explore the role of water for peace building. Hence, Senegal will be putting the issue of water, peace and security on United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) agenda. The OMVS, which comprises of Mali, Mauritania, Guinea and Senegal, was able to successfully transform Senegal River into a common resource. They developed a unique formula to share Senegal River, which serves as an example of best practice.
The sessions saw the participation and presence of eminent political leaders from Africa including Mr. Mankeur Ndiaye, Foreign Minister of Senegal, Mr. Kabine Komara, High Commissioner of OMVS and former Prime Minister of Republic of Guinea, Mr. Madine Ba, Secretary General of OMVS, Mr. Cheick Taliby Sylla, Minister of Water and Energy of Guinea and Mr. Ababacar Ndao, Secretary General (Designate) of Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur du fleuve Gambie (OMVG).
The Panel in its sessions discussed substantive recommendations as well as its future course of action. The Panel members also had the opportunity to interact and learn from the best practices of other regional and African organizations including UNDP for West and Central Africa, OMVG, African Network of Basin Organizations (ANBO), African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW).
The Panel members were invited by His Excellency Macky Sall, the President of Senegal, for a discussion at the Presidential Palace in Dakar. The Panel members gave a brief overview of their deliberations. Issues like the creation of financial incentives to promote transboundary water cooperation as well as the protection of water resources and infrastructure in armed conflict were discussed. The President expressed his support for the Panel as well as the issue of water and peace.
OMVS also organised a field visit for the Panel to the Diama dam on the border of Senegal and Mauretania. A short presentation about the dam which was built in 1986 to prevent the saltwater intrusion upstream and to supply water for irrigation was given and the Panellists had time for interaction and learning from the experience of OMVS. The Diama dam, like all other OMVS structures, is jointly owned by the four OMVS countries