Global survey shows improved government performance in water resource management in Africa
Cairo, Egypt (2012-05-14)– Over 75 percent of the member countries of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) polled in a United Nations survey are implementing national water laws and nearly half are executing national plans for integrated water resources management in line with the Africa Water Vision for 2025 according to a new report launched today during the 8th General Assembly of AMCOW.
The findings of the “2012 Status Report on the Application of Integrated Approaches to Water Resources Management in Africa” (version en français) are based on data collected from 40 member countries of AMCOW that responded to a detailed survey conducted by UN-Water to determine progress towards sustainable management of water resources using integrated approaches. It found that 18 of those countries have integrated water resource management (IWRM) plans under implementation. A similar study conducted in 2008 found that 5 countries, out of the 16 that responded to the survey, had IWRM plans or were in the process of developing them.
Several respondents reported that their improved performance in water resources management provided direct benefits towards their national social and economic objectives. The report asserts that detailed documentation of these benefits, including better and more consistent indicators, could increase government commitment and financing for water management and infrastructure. It recommends that a more rigorous reporting system on progress in water management in Africa is initiated by AMCOW to provide a better basis for informed decision making at the national level.
“I am encouraged by the progress that has so far been made with integrated approaches to water resources management, which establishes a solid foundation for development and peace,” said the AMCOW President, Hon. Edna Molewa, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs of South Africa “It is crucial that we increase our efforts to implement past declarations on water and sanitation to advance the well-being of Africa’s people, environment and economy. This is in the spirit of the Africa Water Vision 2025.”
Improved coordination, institutional capacity and financing needed
The progress reported is not without challenges. A great deal more, in terms of commitment and resources, is required to assure food and energy security, as well as access to safe drinking water and sanitation to a growing population. The report highlights flooding, droughts and pollution as the greatest physical threats to Africa’s water resources, which will most likely become more severe due to climate change and variability. It recommends targeted action to intensify efforts and opportunities for country-to-country knowledge sharing, particularly on disaster preparedness and water risk management as a means to increase resilience to climate change.
The survey responses also highlight financial constraints; institutional capacity gaps; and weaknesses in coordination mechanisms between sectors and government departments as key challenges to integrated water resources management in Africa. The report thus emphasises the need to carry out reforms aimed at strengthening the capacity of relevant institutions for managing transboundary water systems, as well as the capacity of local river basin organisations and national apex bodies.
“Water resources are an essential ingredient in the advent of a green economy in Africa,” says AMCOW Executive Secretary, Bai-Mass Taal. “All nations must create transparent and integrated approaches to prioritise wise and efficient allocation of water. The outcomes of the survey should be utilised as a first step towards the development of a permanent reporting mechanism on each country’s progress towards that goal.”
The full report produced jointly by the African Union Commission (AUC) and AMCOW, which is the AUC’s Specialised Technical Committee on Water and Sanitation, with support from the EU Water Initiative Africa Working Group. The report is available at www.amcow-online.org
For more information, contact:
Mr. Oseloka Zikora, AMCOW Secretariat, +234 805 600 05 63, email: email@example.com
About the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW)
The African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW) was established by the 2002 Abuja Ministerial Declaration on Water with the aim of promoting regional cooperation, socio-economic development and poverty eradication through coordination of policy interventions relating to the management of water resources and provision of water services. In 2008, at the 11th ordinary session of the Africa Union (AU) Assembly in Sharm el-Sheikh, the Heads of State and Government of the member countries of the AU agreed on commitments to accelerate the achievement of water and sanitation goals in Africa and mandated AMCOW to develop and follow up an implementation strategy for these commitments.
About the EU Water Initiative African Working Group
The EU Water Initiative Africa Working Group is a joint platform working on water-related development issues that seeks to make an effective joint (Africa – Europe) contribution to the achievement of water and sanitation related Millennium Development Goals. It consists of representatives from the Technical Advisory Committee of the African Ministers’ Council of Water, EU Member States, the European Commission, civil society and the private sector.
About the Africa Water Week
The 2012 Africa Water Week (AWW) is being held in Cairo, Egypt May 14-18. The annual event is organised by the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) and represents a political commitment at the highest level with 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, and in particular Africa, meeting to discuss and collectively seek solutions to Africa’s water and sanitation challenges.