The Second Pan-African Implementation and Partnership Conference on Water took place on Wednesday afternoon 11 November 2009, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Conference provided an opportunity for Africa’s development partners to express commitment to the activities of the African Ministers’ Council on Water and Africa’s water development agenda.
A BRIEF HISTORY of THE PAN-AFRICAN IMPLEMENTATION AND PARTNERSHIP CONFERENCE ON WATER
The First Pan-African Implementation and Partnership Conference on Water (PANAFCON-1) took place from 8-12 December 2003, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Conference brought together approximately 1,000 delegates and 45 water and environment ministers representing countries throughout the African continent, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and other key stakeholders to address the implication of the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) on regional water initiatives and the continent’s role in implementing the Summit’s outcomes. The Conference also provided a platform for African countries, the international community and UN agencies to reaffirm their commitment to solving Africa’s water crisis and to collectively implement the actions envisaged in the African Water Vision 2025, the Water Agenda of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the WSSD’s sanitation targets and the water-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
PANAFCON-1 made proposals for concrete actions in nine key areas: meeting basic water and sanitation needs; water, sanitation and human settlements; water for food security; protecting ecosystems and livelihoods; managing water and climate risks; financing water infrastructure; integrated water resources management (IWRM) and shared water resources; valuing and allocating water; ensuring water wisdom; and governing water wisely. Ministers agreed to establish National Task Forces on Water and Sanitation in individual countries, which would prepare national plans with service delivery targets for achieving water and sanitation goals by 2015. They also signed a joint declaration with the European Commission on the implementation of the African-European Union Strategic Partnership on Water Affairs and Sanitation. During the conference, ministers also launched a number of initiatives including: the African Water Facility, with targeted funding of over US$600 million for medium-term projects on water and sanitation; the African Water Journal, providing a forum to disseminate knowledge on water-related issues; Phase II of the Water for African Cities Programme; the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative; and the G8 Action Plan on Water for Africa.
REPORT OF PANAFCON-2
African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) President Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua opened the second Pan-African Implementation and Partnership Conference on Water (PANAFCON-2).
Bai-Mass Taal, AMCOW Executive Secretary, provided an overview of the African water development agenda. He noted key messages from the second African Water Week (AWW-2) and called on partners to join and support AMCOW in implementing the water development agenda.
The representative of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) expressed appreciation for AMCOW’s work, and called on partners to strengthen AMCOW so that Africa’s water development challenges can be overcome. She called on Africa’s development partners, not yet cooperating with AMCOW, to partner with AMCOW.
The representative from Germany said the eleventh African Union (AU) Summit, held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, from 24 June to 1 July 2008, was an important milestone in achieving water security in Africa and expressed Germany’s commitment to support the implementation of Africa’s water development agenda. He said Germany has closely aligned its development cooperation and bilateral arrangements with Africa’s development priorities. He highlighted Germany’s promotion of access to drinking water and sanitation as a basic human right in multilateral fora. Noting that Germany is the largest bilateral donor in the African water sector, he said German aid aims to provide 30 million people in sub-Saharan Africa access to water by 2015, as well as providing 5 million people with access to sanitation in urban and peri-urban areas, and small- and medium-sized towns. He announced two new contributions from Africa’s Group of Eight (G8) Partners, namely that the European Commission (EC) will provide EUR 5.5 million over three year to support the AU Commission (AUC) to translate commitments into implementation strategies and that the partners would take up a role as ‘champion for water’ in the Infrastructure Consortium in Africa.
The representative from Australia underscored the importance of focusing on sanitation, which he said was the neglected area of the development agenda. He noted that Australia’s development cooperation provides AUS$ 300 million to global water and sanitation programmes and stressed that Africa is a key focus of this initiative. He said Australia, AMCOW and the AU share common priorities, including infrastructure development, hygiene, supporting regional institutions, capacity building and support for national implementation. He stressed the importance of working with civil society organizations and supported a stronger partnership with both the African Development Bank (AfDB) and World Bank. He further stressed the need to integrate gender and disability issues into the water and sanitation agenda.
The representative of the AfDB said that governments should include and prioritize water and sanitation in poverty reduction strategy plans and country strategy papers to facilitate enhanced in-country support by the Bank. He said the Bank was supporting 30 countries in the water and sanitation sectors and a larger number of countries in the agricultural water development sector, as well as supporting member States in the area of hydropower development. Stressing that traditional aid resources will not be enough, he urged AMCOW members to look at other sources of finance including internal sources such as tariffs or budgets. He challenged AMCOW to work with partners on how to support water utilities access to funds from local markets.
The representative of the EC underscored the importance of the Africa-EC partnership on water and sanitation and their shared political commitment to long-term water security in Africa. He said AWW-2 comes at an important moment in the process of developing strategies for implementation, noted the formal cooperation between the EC, AMCOW and AUC, and underscored the need to continue working together to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and ensure the benefits from integrated water resources management (IWRM). He announced that the EC has committed an additional EUR 200 million to the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Water Facility, which will continue to focus on water governance and management for sustainable development and the maintenance of water infrastructure. He said a call for project proposals would be circulated early in 2010. He outlined a number of challenges affecting Africa’s development partners, namely: continuing to focus on aid effectiveness and better donor coordination; aligning aid strategies with national policies; ensuring stronger local ownership; increasing transparency and accountability; and improving reporting on disbursements. He also read out a statement from six G8 water experts present at AWW-2 welcoming the AMCOW implementation roadmap and supporting its implementation.
The representative from France said that the international community cannot effectively ensure water security without providing access to water and sanitation. He noted that almost 60% of French development aid is allocated to Africa. He said the French development aid contribution targets provision of water and sanitation services to 4.5 million people, as well as focusing on building the capacity of professionals in the water sector, addressing governance and strengthening regional organizations. He noted that France was prepared to support African governments in ratifying the UN Convention on the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses and was willing to help facilitate dialogue on its entry into force.
Speaking as the current Chair of the G8, the representative of Italy said that a continuing dialogue on water and sanitation at the highest level was crucial. He welcomed the L’Aquila G8 Statement on Water agreed between Africa and the EC, which said that the AWW-2 provided an opportunity to make tangible progress towards the common goal of meeting the water and sanitation challenges. He read a statement from the G8 to AWW-2, which underscored, inter alia: the importance of building on existing programmes; improving coordination; strengthening the G8-Africa partnership; and increasing G8 participation in planning processes on existing African water and sanitation agreements. The statement further underscored the importance of strengthening capacity to develop and implement national and regional water strategies, enhancing G8 accountability in meeting their commitments to Africa, as well as continuing support for capacity development. Speaking in his national capacity, he said that Italy was considering making a contribution to the AMCOW Secretariat.
A representative of the United Kingdom said it will provide GBP 200 million over the next five years to support the water and sanitation sector in Africa, with the aim of providing 25 million people access to services. He said this contribution would also focus on supporting regional institutions and transboundary initiatives. He underscored support for the Global Framework for Action (GF4A) and stressed the need to change the way in which global resources are prioritized.
The representative of the Netherlands outlined their commitment to provide 50 million people with access to water service by 2025, noting that their efforts have already provided water services to over 20 million people. He highlighted that in the sanitation sector over USD 500 million has been used to bring basic sanitation services for over 16 million people. He emphasized the need to increase access in rural and urban areas, support integrated management of transboundary water resources, provide assistance in relation to climate change adaption and increase efforts to bridge the gap between resources and demands. In order to make faster progress, he outlined several steps, including: drawing up national water and sanitation plans, including targets and needed investments; strengthening capacity building for local and national bodies, civil society organizations and other water-sector actors; and expanding accountability of donors and partners.
The representative of the Global Water Partnership (GWP) noted that the GWP is committed to supporting AMCOW through its five regional partnerships. She noted that these partnerships have facilitated the development of IWRM plans in 11 countries and reviewed progress in implementation of IWRM in a further 26 countries. She stressed that multi-stakeholder collaboration is necessary to ensure water security. She noted the need to work at local, national and regional levels to ensure adequate water supply for all sectors, including in agriculture, food security, economic development and industrialization.
The representative of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), on behalf of the UN system, noted Africa’s liquidity crisis as the continent has “no water and no financial resources.” He noted UNEP’s support for AMCOW, including financial, administrative and technical support, stressing that this support is crucial in order to achieve the commitments made in the Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration. He emphasized that, while resources are available, institutions should continue to provide technical and financial assistance in order to ensure the continued success of AMCOW.
The representative of the US noted that US financial aid for water and sanitation on the African Continent is 60% of all its water and sanitation disbursements. Expressing support for the joint African-G8 statement, he noted that it aims to support national plans, strengthen existing plans and unlock financial resources. He stressed that government policies across Africa are important to increase and accelerate donor programmes. He emphasized that multi-donor collaboration enhances the principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and facilitates the scaling up of future aid to the sector.
A representative for the GF4A noted that only a quarter of water and sanitation development assistance is target at activities in least developed countries (LDCs). He said the G4FA was an alliance of existing organizations, governments, donors and multilateral and civil society organizations that have come together with the aim of achieving access to water and sanitation services for all. He said AMCOW’s plan must become “everyone’s plan.” He stressed that the alliance aims to raise the profile of the water and sanitation agenda, support national planning and improve aid effectiveness.
The representative of Japan said their priorities focus on access to safe water, flood control, capacity building and IWRM. He noted the outcome of the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, where Japan announced the doubling of official development assistance to Africa by 2012, which contains a clear commitment to support water and sanitation projects, including ensuring access to safe drinking water and capacity building. He said Japan’s development cooperation aims to provide 6.4 million people with access to water and sanitation, the training of 5000 water managers and users and noted its USD 300 million grant for financial and technical assistance in Africa.
AMCOW President Itoua, supported by Ministers from Togo and Liberia, the Permanent Secretary of The Gambia’s Ministry of Fisheries, as well as the representative of the AUC thanked the development partners for their statements and pledges.
The representative of The Gambia suggested a comprehensive work programme for AMCOW on water and sanitation, with clear national benchmarks.
A representative of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) expressed the ECA’s continued support and engagement with AMCOW and said the ECA regional advisory support services was able, if requested by member States, to provide technical support on water resource management issues.
AMCOW President Itoua noted the importance of working with LDCs and post-conflict States, and underscored AMCOW’s pivotal coordination role between governments and donors, which he said provides all countries the opportunity to be “present at the rendezvous.” He also encouraged development partners to work with the AMCOW sub-regions and the Regional Economic Communities.
AMCOW Executive Secretary Bai-Mass Taal thanked the donor partners for their participation and closed PANAFCON-2 at 18:17pm.