DAR ES ALAAM , Tanzania (PAMACC News) – Africa is experiencing water crisis, with scientists saying there is strong evidence of decreased water flow and water quality in many countries.
Scientists, researchers and drivers of water policy have also warned that continued population and economic growth, combined with climate change, could result in serious water shortages in some parts of the continent by 2025.
These challenges are coming at a time many African countries are mapping pathways towards the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.
It is against this backdrop that the African Ministers attending the sixth edition of the Africa’s Minister’s Council on Water,AMCOW, have called for increase self-driven innovative approach to address the water challenges.
The AMCOW flagship water event, “the Africa Water Week “from the 18th to 22nd of July 2016 in Dar es Salam, Tanzania; the ministers agree provides the unique opportunity to pathways to address water challenges.
“We need new ideas and self driven approaches to addressing the issues of water in Africa,” noted Gerson H Lwenge, Tazanian minister of water and irrigation, at the opening of the conference on Monday July 18,2016.
In a pre-conference statement AMCOW officials said there was a range of actions – besides investments into large inter-basin transfer schemes – that could be taken to improve the prospects for quality water supply and quality.
“The Africa Water Week accordingly, represents a political commitment at the highest level for creating platform to discuss and collectively seek solutions to Africa's water and sanitation challenges. It is organised by the African Minister's Council on Water (AMCOW) in collaboration with the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission alongside regional and international partners, “ the statement noted.
Speakers at the opening of the conference emphasized on the need to better address issues related to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals with emphases on using local approach adapted to the African reality.
“ The SDGs is all about using local initiatives by both the private sector and the government working hand in glove. Wter resources is vital in realizing these goals,” says H.E Mwai Kibaki former President of Kenya at the opening of the conference.
The biennial water conference hosted at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC), Dar Es Salam by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, represented by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation brought over 1000 participants from governments, regional institutions, international partners, the private sector, the scientific community, civil society and the media from all over the world.
The conference accordingly is in keeping with the decision of the AMCOW Governing Council
“to institutionalize the water management body as a way of building momentum on achieving the Africa Water Vision 2025”.
It equally represents AMCOW’s belief that effective and efficient management of water resources leads to the provision of adequate and equitable access to safe water and sanitation as well as makes a critical contribution to Africa’s progress towards sustainable growth and development, the officials said.
The Africa Water Week series accordingly began in Tunis, Tunisia in 2008. Since then, the conference has been held in Midrand, South Africa in 2009, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2010, Cairo, Egypt in 2012 and Dakar, Senegal in 2014 featuring an assemblage of international and regional organizations and the scientific community, as well as exhibitors from various sectors engaged in the sustainable management of Africa’s water resources and delivery of safe water and improved sanitation.
Achieving the SDGs on Water Security and Sanitation
With the theme "achieving the SDGs on Water Security and Sanitation," the 6th Africa Water Week aspires to lay the building blocks for Africa to achieve the SDG six as well as other inter-linking SDGs connected with water resources management and improved sanitation service delivery.
It also represents the quest in the continent to place emphasis on matching commitments and plans with concrete actions with impact on the ground. It highlights Africa’s undaunted focus to achieving the Agenda 2063, the continent’s global strategy to optimize use of Africa’s resources for the overall benefit of all.
The four sub themes of the AWW-6 revolve round achieving universal and equitable access to water and sanitation for all, and ensuring sustainable water resources management and climate resilience. Others are strengthening productivewastewatermanagement and improved water quality improving policy, financing and monitoring.
Part of the desired outcome for the conference is the adoption of a roadmap for developing a comprehensive action plan for Africa aimed at translating high-level commitments including N'gor Declaration on Water Security and Sanitation into implementation at country, sub-regional and continental levels.
Established since 2002, the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW) seeks to promote cooperation, security, social and economic development and poverty eradication among member states through the effective management of the continent’s water resources and provision of water.
As the Technical Committee for Water and Sanitation of the African Union, AMCOW contributes to Africa’s progress towards sustainable growth and development by providing political leadership in the continent's efforts at achieving effective and efficient management of water resources through the provision of adequate and equitable access to safe water and sanitation.