Six West African countries met in Lome, the capital of Togo, on Monday to ratify a charter to share and develop the Volta river basin without conflicts.
Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Benin, Ghana, Mali and Togo sent their representatives to the gathering for the common development charter after an workshop held weeks ago.
A committee of the six countries had worked out a draft on integrated management of the resources in the basin for ratification.
The draft proposal recommends that the countries sharing the basin come up with laws on water management while reducing environmental problems that can have cross-border implications like soil erosion, flooding, water borne diseases and coastal erosion.
"This means that we come up with measures that will ensure that utilization of resources from the basin does not cause conflict between states," said Yao Attikpo, the interim deputy director general for the management authority of the basin.
"The creation of a dam in one state may create floods or shortage of water in other states," he noted.
Attikpo said it is important to examine how to avoid any potential conflict that may loom due to the utilization of the resources from the river.
"The charter will give more details and will provide for practical legal measures that will ensure concrete management," he announced.
The Volta basin covers an area of 412,000 square km with the river running 1,160 km along the six countries. Mali and Burkina Faso are top basin countries boasting 47 percent and 42.65 percent of the total area.
In early December, Lome hosted a regional workshop of the countries sharing the Volta river basin for cross-border diagnostic analysis of the basin.
Participants, among others, discussed the methodology to finalize Volta basin project, governance, as well as the socio- economic, environmental and institutional development.
The workshop recommended the setting up of a multi-disciplinary team, which will help the national consultants carry out the cross- border diagnostic analysis on an FE M-Volta project and mobilize the necessary national contributions.