Fourth Africa Water Week Focuses on Water for Growth
18 May 2012: The fourth Africa Water Week was organized around the theme “Water for Growth in Africa,” and aimed to identify ways to reinforce and build on progress made to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets on water and sanitation, as well as Africa Water Vision 2025. The conference also celebrated the 10th anniversary of the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW).
The fourth Africa Water Week, which took place from 14-18 May 2012, in Cairo, Egypt, stressed the importance of raising the priority given to water for food and for energy production. Participants considered four sub-themes. On water and sanitation for development, they called on: African governments and stakeholders to focus resources to accelerate safe sanitation and hygiene promotion activities leading up to 2015; and on AMCOW to play a constructive role in mobilizing ministerial support for national commitments to reduce non-revenue water.
On infrastructure for growth and climate resilience development, participants underscored that future impacts of climate change on Africa water resources remain uncertain. They outlined a series of actions to address these impacts, noting the need for communication among policy-makers and increased understanding of the potential impacts on water infrastructure to prevent locking-in climate-vulnerable water infrastructure.
On private sector investment in water and sanitation, participants stressed the need to widen the scope for private sector participation in Africa to include the whole range of private actors to support the various financing and management requirements in the sector.
On water governance and financing, participants underscored the need for investment in governance structures and regular, evidence-based reporting on integrated approaches to integrated water resources management (IWRM). Participants emphasized capacity building needs in all their sessions.
The eighth General Session of AMCOW took place during Africa Water Week. Hesham Kandil, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Egypt, was elected AMCOW President. In accepting the position, Kandil said the AMCOW Work Programme will enable “accelerated progress in achieving the MDG targets across Africa.” The Conference also included the launch of two reports, the first was a status report on integrated approaches on water management and development in Africa and the second a strategic framework for water security and climate resilient development.
In commemorating the 10th Anniversary of AMCOW, Michel Jarraud, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General and UN-Water Chair, noted WMO support for AMCOW initiatives on IWRM and climate change adaptation. He underlined that the fourth Africa Water Week represents an opportunity for African States to renew their commitment to integrated and sustainable management of water resources in advance of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).