2030 SDGs

Cross-border water management for peace and resilience in the Horn of Africa


Photo:  UNEP-DHI/Canva

The physical, socioeconomic, and political challenges in the Horn of Africa with regards to water resources are acute. Three quarters of the people in the region live within river basins and over aquifers that are shared by two or more countries, known as ‘transboundary’ or ‘cross-border’ basins and aquifers. Shared understanding of these cross-border resources is vital for sustainable development in the eight countries in the region. 

Based on consultations with key regional stakeholders, UNEP-DHI supported the UNEP Environmental Security Unit by undertaking two key activities in 2020 

  • Mapping of actors, policies, and initiatives in relation to cross-border water resources management in the region (report).  
  • Drawing on the above, development of a series of three knowledge briefs on “Cross-border water resources management in the Horn of Africa”, covering: 

         1. Status and trends in transboundary basins and aquifers

         2. Regional and transboundary initiatives and frameworks for cooperation 

         3. Digital platforms for collaboration and decision-making 

The knowledge briefs are intended as a dialogue starter, for example in discussions with country governments and and other national stakeholders in the region, UN Country Offices, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), donors, and development partners. 

Map of the shared basins and aquifers in the project area / UNEP-DHI

The work supports the UN’s five-year Comprehensive Regional Prevention Strategy for the Horn of Africa (2019-2023), in particular Pillar 4 on sustainable natural resources development and climate resilience. 

For more information about the project please contact Paul Glennie, Senior Technical Advisor at UNEP-DHI via paulglennie81@gmail.com

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UNEP-DHI Centre on Water and Environment

Agern Allé 5, 2970 Denmark

Tel: +45 45169200