Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 05 No. 199
Friday, 12 December 2003
THURSDAY, 11 DECEMBER 2003
Delegates met in a morning Plenary session for
the opening of the Conference’s Ministerial segment, which was
attended by some 40 African ministers. In an afternoon Plenary
session, several major implementation initiatives were launched,
including the African Water Facility (AWF), the EU Water Initiative
for Africa, the G-8 Action Plan for Africa, UN-HABITAT Water for
African Cities, and the African Water Journal.
MINISTERIAL SEGMENT OPENING
Meles Zenawi, Ethiopian Prime Minister,
officially opened the ministerial segment, noting that: Africa has
to increase its irrigated land area; most diseases are water and
sanitation related; and Africa critically depends on the efficient
use of its water resources. He called for more political will to
address the challenges of unbalanced spacial water distribution and
transboundary water resources, but also stressed that Africa
requires technical and financial support from the international
Jose Dione, ECA, acknowledged the high conference
participation, which he said reflected a clear political support and
commitment of all stakeholders for action on water issues in Africa.
He called for enhanced focus on implementation programmes and
projects and increased funding for such actions.
Shiteraw Jarso, Ethiopian Minister of Water
Resources, underscored that many African countries will be unable to
fulfill their global commitments on water without further donor
support and called on ministers to take immediate action at the
national, sub-regional and regional levels.
Alhaji Muktari Shagari, African Minister’s
Council on Water (AMCOW) Chair, stressed that the Conference
illustrates Africa’s commitment to water issues and to achieving
global targets. Noting that water is a scarce resource in Africa,
unequally distributed, and inadequately managed, he stated that
Africa must develop effective integrated water resource management
(IWRM) procedures at all levels and strengthen international
cooperation to ensure peace and security.
Patrick Mazimhaka, African Union Commission
Deputy Chair, noted current regional initiatives, urged for greater
political commitment needed for achieving the targets, and stressed
the role of NEPAD and the African Water Vision. He added that the
Conference’s focus on implementation and partnership arrangments is
important for future initiatives and programmes.
Reiterating UNEP’s commitment to Africa, Shafqat
Kakakhel, on behalf of UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer,
identified key issues for meeting water-related MDGs and WSSD
targets, including: combating water-related diseases; addressing
water pollution and natural disasters; improving irrigation and
hydropower generation; and ensuring equitable water sharing.
Stressing that the current challenges result from policy failure, he
called for concerted efforts from African governments, stakeholders
and the international community.
Koos Richelle, EC Development Director-General,
highlighted the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership’s goals, including:
raising political commitment to address water issues; creating a
platform for reinforced coordination; contributing to achieving the
MDGs; and supporting the management of transboundary river basins.
Stressing that sustained action requires local ownership and
multi-stakeholder participation, he urged African governments to
prioritize water and sanitation in their national strategies and
called for a comprehensive and transparent monitoring system as a
guide to best practices.
Philibert Afrika, African Development Bank (ADB),
stressed the importance of cooperation, collaboration, and
commitments in order to achieve global targets on water, and called
for the adoption of an integrated approach, donor support and a
stronger focus on water issues in rural areas.
David Grey, World Bank, highlighted the link
between water and poverty and called for greater focus on
agriculture and shared river basins. On funding of water projects,
he noted the need for increased donor support, emphasized the
importance of political will and the development of national water
management plans, and warned against the lack of clarity created by
the multiplicity of investment in the water sector.
Marie-Elise Gbedo, African Women’s Network for
Development, presented the declaration of the Network’s recent
meeting in Niamey, Niger. She appealed to: governments to focus on
African women’s concerns in achieving water and sanitation targets;
AMCOW to include women in its policy making process; the ADB and the
EU to fund projects that empower women; UN-HABITAT to focus on women
in slums; and development partners to involve and train women in
Douglas Merrey, International Water Management
Institute, announced the availability of the WaterDome final report
on water-related WSSD outcomes and presented a copy to the Ehtiopiam
Efua Dzameshie, Young Volunteers for the
Environment, said that sustainable water management needs to be
community-driven and focused on the poor, and stressed the need to:
involve women and youth; improve knowledge management, including
traditional knowledge; and build capacity for IWRM.
REGIONAL PROJECT PORTFOLIOS
William Cosgrove, World Water Council, chaired
the session on regional water and sanitation project portfolios.
Jean Rechel Ossete, Republic of Congo Ministry of Water Resources,
presented Central Africa’s action plan for achieving WSSD targets,
focusing on poverty reduction and the improvement of the
sub-region’s socio-economic development. Henry Kayondo Ntale, Uganda
Ministry of Water, Lands and Environment, presented the project
portfolio for East Africa, which covers rural and urban water
supply, sanitation, water for agricultural production, IWRM, and
Mahmoud Abu-Zeid, Egyptian Minister of Water
Resources and Irrigation, presented North Africa’s portfolio,
stressing the region’s shortfall in agricultural production and
highlighting, inter alia, the possibility of utilizing
non-conventional methods of water distribution. Omar N’diaye,
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), presented on
ECOWAS’s portfolio of programmes, which aims at adopting regional
integrated management plans and developing national portfolios of
water projects. Thomas Chiramba, South Africa Development Community
(SADC), presented on the Southern Africa’s portfolio. He noted
SADC’s programme of action, highlighting challenges including
implementation capacity, effective resource mobilization, and
disbursement of funds.
Sylvia Masebo, Zambian Ministry of Local
Government and Housing, chaired the session. Nicolas Drouin,
Canadian International Development Agency, announced support for the
NEPAD Water Agenda, the AWF, the UN-HABITAT Water for African Cities
programme, and five IWRM plans throughout Africa. Cautioning against
duplication of funding and implementation mechanisms, he urged donor
governments to support African-led processes and seek guidance for
preferred implementation modalities.
AMCOW Chair Alhaji Muktari Shagari presented on
the AWF, which will be hosted by the ADB, and announced that US$620
million will be available between 2004 and 2008 to finance, inter
alia: project preparation and implementation; sector reform;
capacity building; information and knowledge management; and gender
integration. He stressed that the AWF’s success depends on
collaboration and partnerships with other initiatives.
Koos Richelle outlined a joint declaration on the
implementation of the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership on Water
Affairs and Sanitation. He noted that three working groups had been
formed on: water supply and sanitation; IWRM, including
transboundary water basin management; and cross-cutting issues,
including finance, research and monitoring. Richelle added that the
process will develop a more detailed Work Programme, and decisions
will be taken by an EU ministerial meeting in May 2004. The
declaration was signed in Plenary by AMCOW and the EU.
Habte Selassie, ADB, presented on the Bank’s
Water and Sanitation Initiative and its concept paper endorsed by
AMCOW. He explained that the initiative aims at mobilizing and
facilitating the flow of financial resources for water and
sanitation projects in Africa. He stressed the link between poor
access to water and health, education and poverty issues, and
welcomed the support of AMCOW and the international donor community.
Sylvia Masebo launched the second phase of the
Water for African Cities programme. She described the dire water
situation in Africa, emphasizing the challenge presented by the
rapid urbanization in Africa, and said poor sanitation leads to poor
health and loss of dignity. She welcomed the UN General Assembly’s
resolution calling on UN-HABITAT to support the programme and noted
the creation of the Water for Africa Trust Fund.
Ronnie Kasrils, South African Minister for Water
Affairs and Forestry, endorsed the second phase of the Water for
African Cities programme. He noted the importance of information
exchange, pro-poor strategies, capacity building, and synergies
between actions in rural and urban areas, and emphasized the
essential role of local authorities and municipalities.
Jean Marc Chataigner, French Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, presented the French government’s view on the G-8 Action
Plan for Africa. He underlined three key issues in water resources
management: partnerships, coordination and information gathering,
and stressed the importance of local institutions, river basin
organizations and capacity building. On mobilizing financial
resources, he said the G-8 had called on the World Bank to take the
lead of the donor community and informed delegates that the Bank was
to present a progress report at the next G-8 meeting. He added that
France fully supported the creation of a European fund for water and
welcomed the creation by the ADB of an AWF.
Stressing Africa’s growing need for trained
professionals, Mike Muller, South African Ministry of Water Affairs
and Forestry, launched the African Water Journal, noting its
important role in facilitating the much-needed exchange of knowledge
and expertise. He encouraged Africa’s water professionals to publish
their scientific research.
Rosebud Kurwijila, African Union (AU), presented
on the AU Extraordinary Summit on Agriculture and Water, to be held
in Libya in February 2004. She that the Summit aims to: take
practical implementation steps using Africa’s own resources to
ascertain political and economic independence; improve water and
sanitation at the rural level; and establish a viable framework for
regional cooperation. She said the summitï¿½s expected outcomes
include: the establishment of mechanisms for financing agriculture
and water development and for managing and conserving water
resources for agriculture; a framework for public-private
partnerships; and a decision on the adoption of the African Water
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
MINISTERIAL SESSION: Ministers and
development cooperation partners will meet at 9:00 am in Conference
Room 4 in a closed session to discuss, inter alia: the
Africa-EU Strategic Partnership on Water Affairs and Sanitation; the
EU-African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Contonu Agreement; and key
PARALLEL SESSIONS: A session to finalize the
thematic recommendations will meet from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm in
Conference Room 1. A session to finalize the draft document on
Africaï¿½s contribution to CSD-12 will meet from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
in Caucus Room 11.
CLOSING PLENARY: The closing Plenary will
convene from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm in Conference Room 1 to consider the
final outcomes of the Conference and hear closing remarks.