PNG urged to join UN watercourse convention

National, Normal


THE increase in mining activities and other environmental impact projects has resulted in large areas of natural habitats being destroyed.
These were the remarks from Natural Resource Planner of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Western Melanesia Philemon Nangu to participants attending the display session of the 3rd Pacific Water and Waste Association (PWWA) Conference recently.
He said this also highlighted the challenges countries sharing the same borders were faced with when dealing with waterways that cross each of their borders.
Nangu said the UN Convention on the non-navigational uses of International Watercourses (UN Watercourses Convention-1997)  was important for the PNG government and its Pacific neighbours to sign because this would give them the right and power to take legal action against other countries sharing the same border with them if these countries or their industries were suspected of polluting the shared waterways.
He said in many states and countries around the world, trans-boundary water cooperation is still a major political and economical issue.
“In most shared natural basins and water systems, either no management agreements are in place, existing agreements are inadequate or not all states within the basin are parties to existing agreements.
“With such issues, it is difficult for watercourses states to cope cooperatively with existing and future threats from human pressure and environmental change,” he said.
Nangu said at present 16 countries were signatories to the convention and needed another 19 more nations for the convention to become legitimate and effective.
According to Nangu, the UN Watercourse Convention was relevant because fresh water was a finite resource and the survival of mankind depended on it.  
Nangu said WWF Melanesia and its partners were asking the PNG government to join the movement by signing and adapting the UN Watercourses Convention.