Nobel Peace Prize For A West Africa River Basin Organisation...It Is Time!

30 Oct 2019 by Staff - Water Diplomat
GENEVA, Switzerland

In this Water Diplomat / OOSKAnews Voices Q and A, we talk to Johan Gely, Head of Global Program, Water, for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). presents the case for a Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to a River Basin Organisation.

Gely has dedicated his career overseas (advising multi-stakeholder platforms, governments, civil society organisations and the private sector in transitional economies, fragile states and emerging market economies in Asia, Africa and Latin America), and in Switzerland (Federal Department of Economic Affairs and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs) to support a common goal: positioning water prominently in the governments and the global debate to contribute to a water-secure world for All.

The Water Diplomat / OOSKAnews:

We have noticed a fascinating call from you on a social network for nomination of a water organisation – an International River Basin Organisation – for the Nobel peace prize. For those less familiar with the nature and function of River Basin Organisations, can you take a moment to describe what they do, and what is the link with peace?

Johan Gely:

The quest for universal and sustainable access to water made the modern world. This is not recognised. Let us recall John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s quote on water: “Anybody who can solve the problems of water will be worthy of two Nobel Prizes, one for peace and one for science.” And, when listening to Alfred Nobel, the Peace Nobel Prize should go to a person (and / or organisation) who accomplished "the most or the best work for fraternity among nations…those who shall have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind...”

  • Imagine a group of countries, low incomes, living in extreme water scarcity conditions, that have decided, in the 1970s, in the middle of one of the worst droughts of humankind, to delegate their sovereignty over water management to independent transboundary organisations.
  • Imagine the same countries, since then, working together, to harness and manage negotiated collaborative solutions (such as agreed sustainable investment plans), that are trans-borders, trans-sectors and trans-generational by nature; gearing towards environmentally circular and socially inclusive economies using the nexus of water and peace as an entry point.
  • Imagine, when dramatic tensions occur in the region among countries, that an organisation remains a reference to sustain dialog among the said countries – and, therefore, as such, acts as enduring and resilient soft infrastructure of dialogue for peace and sustainability.
  • Imagine member countries forgoing a great share of their future revenues from a hydropower dam, hence waiving part of their own economic sovereignty(!) to the benefit of a less economically endowed neighbor country.
  • Imagine organisations that have an ideal for their region, an ideal where peace, economic growth, social inclusion and environment play a key role.

These organisations are not imaginary or fantasy… these organisations exist... they never make the headlines…their names appear nowhere… but they are real! Their names? The Senegal River Basin Development Organisation, the Gambian River Basin Development Organisation, with its six full member countries: Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal.

These two successful organisations offer something new, innovative, challenging and yet politically realistic to change their region and the world. This is not yet recognized. They have surmounted crises and tensions and always remained, over the past 5 decades, undisputedly, organisations where discussions, exchanges and dialogs sustained for the benefit of all. Transforming themselves in a sort of unbreakable fabrics binding all together by the habit of common work for common ends… a powerful force made for social transformation…This is not yet recognized!

It Is Time!

If you think of it, it is a miracle…It is time to recognize the “water peace dividend” granted by these organisations.

It is time for the Nobel Committee and the world to understand that these two river organisations have an “agenda for people, planet, prosperity and peace” underpinned by a compelling political narrative and intelligent actions around the goal of building cohesive societies with norms and standards built on notions of solidarity, trust and shared responsibilities.

It is time to recognize their five decades of extraordinary contribution to the advancement of peace, cooperation and solidarity between peoples.

It is time to recognize it, on behalf of all men and women who love peace, goodwill and brotherhood.

The Water Diplomat / OOSKAnews:

Such a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize would certainly raise the profile of “Blue Peace”, and its importance in global discourse and our planet’s future. Do you think this is realistically likely to happen? Where will support come from?

Johan Gely:

The response is yes, of course. The competition is and will be intense, long, and will require tenacity and determination. The narrative and support will be global.

Realistic? Some ideas have faded away into obscurity because they failed to reach the right people. We need to find champions. The champions are the six head of states of these two organisations; staffs and partners from these Basins Organisations; the media; the populations from the two watersheds, the continent of Africa, and all convinced by the idea.

With their help, we shall capture the attention and imagination of the Peace Nobel Prize Committee, the Norwegian Nobel Committee (responsible for selecting the Nobel Prize Laureates).

The Water Diplomat / OOSKAnews:

What are the hypothetical next steps in promoting such a nomination?

Johan Gely:

The nomination will be submitted by any persons who are qualified to nominate ( Therefore, members of national assemblies and national governors (cabinet members/ministers) of the said countries (with the support of all interest countries) as well as current heads of states, university professors, university professors, professors emeriti and associate professors of history, social sciences, law, philosophy, theology, and religion; university rectors and university directors (or their equivalents); directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes ect…are all well qualified to support this process.

The Nobel Committee receive nominations by 31st January of each year. October is when Nobel laureates are chosen. December is the time to receive their prize.

The Water Diplomat / OOSKAnews:

Thank you, Johan Gely, we and our readers will continue to follow this initiative with interest!