Isha khan’s Weblog


Call in Bangladesh to ratify Water Courses Convention
July 10, 2008, 5:05 am
Filed under: Bangladesh
Call to ratify Water Courses Convention

Leading water, environment and law experts yesterday at a consultation workshop in the city observed that Bangladesh should ratify the Convention of the Law for Non-Navigational Uses of International Water Courses-1997.

 
 
Posted by Isha Khan, who can be reached at bdmailer@gmail.com

 

Addressing the meeting jointly organised by Global Water Partnership-South Asia and Bangladesh Water Partnership (BWP) at LGED-RDEC Building Conference room in the city, the speakers, came into consensus that Bangladesh should go for ratifying the convention saying that it would help protect the interests of the downstream countries, like Bagngladesh.

Presided over by President of Bangladesh Water Partnership Quamrul Islam Siddique, the consultation workshop was addressed by Adviser for Water Recourses Dr CS Karim as chief addressed the workshop as chief guest while Dr Ashif Nazrul, a Dhaka University teacher, was the keynote paper presenter.

The consultation was addressed, among others, by climate change researcher and Executive Director of Bangladesh Centre for Advance Studies Dr Atik Rahman, former Ambassador Waliur Rahman, former member of Joint River Commission Tauhidul Anwar Khan, Director of Bangladesh Environment Lawyers Association (BELA) Syeda Rizwana Hassan, and Joint Secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon Sharif Jamil.

Leading water and environment expert and Country Representative of ICUN Dr Ainun Nishat moderated the function and summing up the recommendations.

The consultation meeting was informed that the initiative of the Convention on uses and management of international water courses was taken in 1970 but adopted by the UN after 27 years following proper scrutiny. Of the UN members, a total of 103 countries, including Bangladesh, voted in favour of the convention while 27 countries refrained from casting votes. Only 18 countries out of required 35 to bring the convention into force, has signed the convention and only 7 have ratified.

Dr CS Karim said Bangladesh, on the basis of consensus of all stakeholders, to take a positive decision to ratify the Convention.He observed that not only ratification Bangladesh should also mobilise support for the Convention.The Adviser, however, said, “We have to assess the benefit and loss of the country from ratifying and non-ratifying the Convention. We have to come to a consensus whether it is good or bad.”He said the matter would be placed before the Cabinet if there was a consensus in favour of ratifying the Convention.

Dr Ainun Nishat said Bangladesh should ratify the Convention to uphold the moral ground to protect the country’s interests.He said there would be scope for negotiating water problems with other countries if the country ratifies the Convention.Dr Nishat, however, said that we could ratify the Convention collectively rather than isolatedly.

Dr Atik Rahman emphasised the need for negotiation saying that it would help negotiate with friends countries, if Bangladesh ratifies the Convention.He, however, said that greater discussion should take place on the issue before taking the decision.

Dr Asif Nazrul in his analysis showed that of the 33 articles, about 13 are in favour of Bangladesh while 14 are neutral and rest are neutral but potentially unfavourable to the country.

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