African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW)
Ministers responsible for water in 41 African countries met in Abuja, Nigeria (29-30 April 2002) and decided to form the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW) to promote cooperation, security, socio-economic development and poverty eradication through the management of water resources and provision of water supply services.
MANDATE: AMCOW's mission is to provide political leadership, policy direction and advocacy in the provision, use and management of water resources for sustainable social and economic development and maintenance of African ecosystems. AMCOW's major functions are to facilitate regional and international co-operation through the co-ordination of policies and actions amongst African countries regarding water resources issues, review and mobilize additional financing for the water sector in Africa, and provide a mechanism for monitoring the progress of implementation of major regional and global water resources and water supply and sanitation initiatives. AMCOW also provides a forum for dialogue with UN agencies and other partners on water issues, and promotes participation in regional studies regarding climate changes, development of observation networks, facilitates information exchange and aims to develop policies and strategies for addressing the water issues in Africa. In addition, AMCOW's functions are to:
- keep the state of Africa's water under review and promote desirable actions of common interest to Africa;
- facilitate regional and international co-operation through the co-ordination of policies and actions amongst African countries regarding water resources issues';
- support trans-national co-operation on water related issues through development of common positions on matters of global concern as well as co-operation in implementation of relevant conventions and international agreements;
- encourage mechanisms that will promote best practices in water policy reforms, integrated water resources management, food security, water supply and sanitation and also assist in delivery in National regional and sub-regional programmes;
- promote participation in regional studies regarding climate changes, develop observation networks, encourage information exchange and setup strategies for the management of water resources in time of drought and floods and develop policies and strategies of arresting the water crisis in Africa; and
- keep under review and constantly seek to strengthen the financing of water sector in Africa.
STRUCTURE: The AMCOW institutional set-up consists of a Full Council of Ministers (the minister responsible for water from each member country), an Executive Committee with a President/Chair (presently Uganda). The Executive Committee is composed of three representatives/water ministers from each of the 5 sub-regions (AMCOW member states are divided into five sub-regions: West Africa, Eastern Africa, Central Africa, North Africa and Southern Africa). Each sub-region has a sub-regional Secretariat (usually housed in the respective Regional Economic Community) for co-ordination of sub-regional activities. Each sub-region is headed by a Vice President. The main AMCOW Secretariat is in Abuja, Nigeria and is headed by an Interim Executive Secretary and support staff. The Executive Committee is advised by a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). The Executive Committee ensures that decisions of the council are implemented and is responsible for the development of work programs/budgets for approval by the council, mobilizes the necessary financing and supervises the work of the secretariat.