Bangladesh / Water Crisis / Session of the Executive Board of the I.P.O.

Dhaka, 18 April 1995/K/JC/14764c-is

At its regular session earlier last week in Dhaka (Bangladesh), the Executive Board of the International Progress Organization dealt with the serious water crisis in Bangladesh which has led to an overall desertification process in the north-western part of the country. Due to the dehydrational impact of the Farraka barrage at the Ganges river in India, the water supply in the rivers in Bangladesh bas been reduced and the subsoil water level has subsided drastically. This has seriously affected the agricultural production in Bangladesh and may lead to a major food crisis in this overpopulated country. It also leads to an ecological imbalance with long-term consequences.

The Executive Board of the I.P.O. called for the adoption of an international convention on the use of water of rivers flowing through the territories of two or more countries. The questions of the use of rivers and the diversion of rivers have a direct impact on peace and security in regions with limited water supply. This particularly applies to the Middle East where Israel diverts water of Arab rivers. The diversion of water of a river without the consent of the neighbouring state(s) through which this river flows constitutes a hostile act against those states and is inadmissible under general principles of international law. The United Nations should address this question more vigorously.

At a reception at the conclusion of the Executive Board meeting in Dhaka, the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, called for closer co-operation of the countries of the South in order to face the challenges of a unipolar world order. The reception was attended, among others, by the Bangladesh Minister of Justice, the Minister of Education, the Minister of Public Works, by the State Minister for Disaster Relief, by the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, by the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, and by the Vice-Chancellor of Dhaka University.

Bangladesh's Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, H.E. Mirza Gholam Hafiz, is a member of the Executive Board of the I.P.O.

END/BANGLADESH/WATER CRISIS/1995-04-18/14764c-is