Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 05 No. 196
Tuesday, 9 December 2003
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PAN-AFRICAN IMPLEMENTATION AND
PARTNERSHIP CONFERENCE ON WATER:
MONDAY, 8 DECEMBER 2003
The Pan-African Implementation and Partnership
Conference on Water (PANAFCON) opened at the United Nations Economic
Commission for Africa (ECA) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Delegates met in a morning Plenary session to hear opening
statements. In the afternoon, delegates convened in thematic
sessions to discuss: water, sanitation and human settlements; water
for food security; protecting ecosystems and livelihoods; water and
climate; financing water infrastructure; integrated water resources
management; water allocation; water wisdom; and water governance.
Halifa Omar Drammen, PANAFCON Steering Committee
Chair, welcomed delegates to the Conference and introduced the
speakers. Kewai Amoako, ECA Executive Secretary, stressed the need
to move from planning to implementing water-related goals and called
for new partnerships. Alhaji Muktari Shagari, Nigerian Water
Resources Minister and Chair of the African Ministers’ Council on
Water (AMCOW), stressed the need to review integrated water resource
management strategies addressing the continent’s water and
sanitation problems, and to effectively implement the goals set by
the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Water Agenda,
the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the World Summit on
Sustainable Development (WSSD). Shiferaw Jarso, Ethiopian Water
Resources Minister, noted that WSSD goals can only be achieved with
the support of multilateral, bilateral and government agencies. Anna
Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT Executive Director, announced the launch of
the second phase of UN-HABITAT’s Water for African Cities Programme.
Mahmoud Abu-Zeid, Egyptian Water Resources
Minister, underlined the low proportion of irrigated lands and the
lack of joint river management in Africa, and suggested that action
should be taken in a number of areas, including: experience
exchange, financial and technical support, joint river basin
management and capacity building. Wiseman Nkuhlu, NEPAD Steering
Committee Chair, called for the creation of a common African agenda
and increased contributions to the African Water Facility (AWF).
Philibert Afrika, African Development Bank
Director (ADB), stressed the importance of private sector
investments and cooperation between all stakeholders, noting a
strategic study on agricultural water use done in collaboration with
the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World
Bank. Michel Jarraud, World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
Secretary-General, noted the lack of infrastructure and capacity to
assess water needs and resources in Africa, and WMO’s efforts
regarding surveillance and planning, and encouraging regional
cooperation. Per Engebak, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF),
called for renewed commitment to water resources and sanitation.
Werner Burkhart, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Deputy
Director-General, noted the agency’s contribution to water resource
management through technical projects, and stressed the importance
of institutional capacity and local ownership of IAEA activities.
Marie-Elise Gbedo, Network of African Women for Development,
outlined the Network’s recent activities.
Through a video message, Børge Brende, Norwegian
Minister of Environment and Chair of the Commission on Sustainable
Development (CSD), stressed the role of regional conferences to
reach WSSD targets and the importance of addressing the three areas
of the current CSD cycle – water, sanitation and human settlement.
Albert Diphoorn, on behalf of Prince Willem-Alexander of the
Netherlands, underlined the Dutch commitment to global water issues
through, inter alia, the Netherlands Water Partnership.
Dawit Johannes, Speaker of the Ethiopian House of
Parliament, expressed the belief that reaching the MDGs and WSSD
targets on water will help eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable
development in Africa. He then declared the conference officially
WATER, SANITATION AND SETTLEMENT: Albert
Wright, Millennium Project Task Force on Water and Sanitation
Coordinator, chaired the session on meeting basic needs such as
water, sanitation and human settlements. He noted the MDG time-bound
targets, particularly the target on reducing by half the proportion
of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
Ronnie Kasrils, South African Minister for Water
Affairs and Forestry, stressed the need to strengthen partnerships
and leaderships in meeting the MDGs, particularly at the local
government level. He also stressed the need to invest in capacity
building, human resources and infrastructure.
Philibert Afrika, ADB, noted that the Bank
has invested US$3 billion in water and sanitation projects, but that
partnerships among donors, stakeholders and governments are
essential in meeting the MDGs on water and sanitation.
Piers Cross, World Bank Water and Sanitation
Programme, stressed the importance of working with African
governments to improve leadership in the water and sanitation
sector, and the need to promote small-scale entrepreneurship. He
added that governance, capacity building and investment are
essential to meeting the MDGs.
Kalyan Ray, UN-HABITAT, said that global goals
can only be reached through local action, and that governments need
to shift from a needs-based approach to a rights-based approach in
improving water security for the poor. He added that more investment
will be necessary to meet the MDGs.
Per Engebak, UNICEF, noted the agency’s long
commitment to water and sanitation, with special attention given to
improving children’s health. He stressed the need for cost-effective
technology at the community level and support to maintain local
In an ensuing discussion, several delegates
called for African countries to develop water policies and
institutions based on self-reliance, with high priority given to
drinking water supplies. One delegate noted that human settlement is
a key part of the integrated approach to water and sanitation, while
another recommended the need to push the water agenda in other fora,
such as in the health, education, and industrial sectors. On
capacity building at the community level, one delegate stressed the
need to include youth and women.
PROTECTING ECOSYSTEMS AND LIVELIHOODS: Maria
Mutagamba, Ugandan Minister of Water Resources, chaired the session.
Richard Robarts, United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP), presented on improving water quality monitoring.
Noting that the worldwide decrease of freshwater quality is
insufficiently recognized, he highlighted transboundary pollution
from human and industrial wastes and agricultural activities, and
identified the need to: assess the current status and trends in
freshwater quality; develop legislation and international agreements
and assess their effectiveness; apply the "polluter pays" principle;
build technical, institutional and intellectual capacity; and
develop low-cost approaches for data collection.
Holger Hoff, Global Water System (GWS) Project,
provided a scientific background on the vulnerability of African
water resources. He noted that: the vulnerability results from
global change and human-related pressures; water and land management
in Africa affect the GWS; and food and water security are closely
linked. He elaborated on human modifications of the GWS, including
water transfers and withdrawals, and dams and other engineering
works. Highlighting the goods and services provided by natural
ecosystems and the virtual international trade of the water
resources used for food production, he advocated water management
through bottom-up and top-down approaches.
Margarita Pacheco-Montes, International Rainwater
Harvesting Alliance, stressed that RH can contribute to sustainable
livelihoods and ecosystem conservation. Mesfin Shenkut, Ethiopian
Rainwater Harvesting Association, elaborated on RH methods,
including: contour ridges on mountain slopes; harvesting in ponds;
roof water catchments; fog harvesting; and groundwater tapping
through underground dams. He stressed the need to include RH
technologies in learning institutions’ curricula and raise awareness
among decision makers, development partners and local communities.
Presenting on the vulnerability of water
resources to environmental change, Hans Beekman, UNEP, said that
vulnerability assessments should include water quality, climate
variability, pollution, urbanization, competition for water, data
availability and knowledge gaps. He stressed the importance of
considering the river/lake basin perspective, the complete
hydrological cycle, and all integrated components of water
management, including equity, efficiency and sustainability. He
added that adaptation and mitigation require: an institutional and
legislative framework; capacity building; data collection and
monitoring; and technology development.
Bruce Banoeng and Daniel Nkhuwa, UNEP, presented
an early warning network for urban groundwater pollution. Noting
that many African cities rely on groundwater for their drinking
water supply, they said that population growth poses threats due to
increasing on-site sanitation, industrial pollution and lack of
organized domestic waste disposal. Highlighting cooperation between
UNEP, UNESCO, UN-HABITAT and the ECA in establishing an early
warning network, they stressed the need to assess groundwater
vulnerability, identify pollution hotspots and major threats for
each city, and disseminate results through an Early Warning
FINANCING WATER INFRASTRUCTURE: Salif Diallo,
Burkina Faso Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, chaired
the session. Shebu Yahaya, ADB, presented on the AWF, which he said
increases access to funding for water projects, and improves
efficiency in the use of financing through capacity building and
technical assistance. He outlined the AWF’s medium-term Action Plan
until 2008, which requires US$615.5 million to implement, and
focuses on providing grants to support strategic water
infrastructure programmes. Delegates discussed future funding and
key areas for the Facility’s projects and programmes.
David Grey, World Bank, presented on water
resources in relation to Africa’s economic performance. He stressed
that the key challenges are Africa’s severe climate variability and
the management of transboundary rivers. He emphasized the link
between rainfall and gross domestic product (GDP) and noted that
extreme climate events lead to rational risk-adverse behavior that
reduces investment. Highlighting the high number of shared rivers,
Grey stressed the benefits of international cooperation. He noted
that investment in infrastructure should ensure a minimum platform
for water security. Following his presentation, delegates discussed
alternative livelihoods, the relationship between rainfall and GDP,
and long-term river basin planning, including dams.
Bill Cosgrove, World Water Council, presented on
follow-up actions to recommendations of the Camdessus Panel Report
on Financing for the Water Sector, particularly for Africa. He
stated that the international financial institutions were requested
to put water higher on their agenda, and that consequently the Group
of Eight Industrialized Countries (G-8) requested the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to examine how to provide
improved water funding. He also stressed the importance of financial
sustainability of water sector funding and noted that Africans must
be involved at all levels to ensure the AWFï¿½s success. Following the
presentation, delegates discussed access to ADB funds, the
importance of local involvement in financial decisions, and
countriesï¿½ financial self-sufficiency.
John Wasielewski, United States Agency for
International Aid (USAID), presented on USAIDï¿½s Development Credit
Authority (DCA), which aims to mobilize private capital to finance
development initiatives, and to demonstrate the economic viability
of investments in the local banking sector and other private capital
sources. He noted that the guarantee programme provides financial
institutions with up to 50% coverage on the loan amount extended.
Delegates discussed lack of access to funds, the importance of
involving national and local governments in decisions regarding loan
provisions, and accessing locally available money.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
THEMATIC SESSIONS: The thematic sessions will
continue their deliberations from 9:00 am to 10:30 am.
PLENARY: Plenary will meet from 11:00 am to
12:20 pm to consider draft thematic recommendations.
PARALLEL SESSION A: This session on
sub-regional water management challenges will convene at 2:00 pm.
The North African region will meet in Caucus Room 7; West African in
Caucus Room 8; Central African in Caucus Room 10; East African in
Caucus Room 9; and Southern African in Caucus Room 6.
PARALLEL SESSION B: This session on river and
lake basin organizations will convene at 2:00 pm in Conference Room
AMCOW: The fourth ordinary session of AMCOW
will convene in Conference Room 4 from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.