TALLINN - Conflicts caused by a shortage of water can be avoided by states through cross-border cooperation, Estonian President Alar Karis said at a high-level discussion on availability of water and problems caused by the lack thereof, held as part of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.
"The UN Water Convention, in which Estonia is the lead state until 2024, provides a cooperation platform for resolving the issue of transboundary water supplies," Karis said.
"The livelihood and health of billions of people depends on their access to water. We know that climate change is further complicating matters -- if the present situation continues, there will be a 40-percent shortage in the total amount of water needed. This means that conflicts over access to water will be inevitable," the Estonian head of state said.
Karis noted tat 60 percent of the world's surface water is shared by two or more states, which makes the sharing of transboundary water supplies increasingly important.
"In this situation, it is important that we have a legal framework enabling states sharing transboundary water bodies to engage in cooperation, share their water supplies and adapt to climate change," he added.
The Estonian president pointed out that the UN Water Convention has recently facilitated an agreement between Senegal and Mauritania on groundwater, an agreement between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan on the Chu and Talas river basin and an accord between Moldova and Ukraine on the Dniester river basin.
Karis invited all UN member states that share border water bodies with their neighbors to join the Water Convention. The convention also includes a global network providing an opportunity to share experiences with coping with climate change. In the framework of the convention, member states are provided with support in developing joint or coordinated monitoring and exchange of data.