Tuesday, March 31, 2009

World Water Forum summaries

The IISD Linkages site, from the International Institute for Sustainable Development, has provided useful summary information about the World Water Forum held in Istanbul on March 16th -22nd, 2009, including the following description of presentations and discussions related to Africa:

  • "On Wednesday, Mandla Gantsho, African Development Bank, presented the Africa Regional Paper, underscoring that it is the culmination of a comprehensive consultative process and complements the Africa Water Vision 2025. He said the report builds on existing political commitments and provides guidance in three implementation areas: building infrastructure for basic services; strengthening institutional capacity and operational mechanisms; and refining strategies and policies. He emphasized that it establishes concrete targets, including to deliver improved sanitation to 60% of Africa’s population. During an opening high-level panel, Bai-Mass Taal, Africa Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), said the meeting aimed to mobilize broad regional and international support to consolidate existing commitments. Asfow Dingamo, Minister of Water Resources, Ethiopia, noted that the World Water Forum offers an opportunity to announce Africa’s successes, “not just doom and gloom.” Prince of Orange Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, UNSGAB Chair, noted that there is a growing consensus on key water issues and offered UNSGAB’s support in leveraging ODA funds.

  • Sfara Giorgio, Chair of the G8 Expert Group for Water and Sanitation, announced the G8-Africa Alliance on Water, saying it would build on the lessons learned from the Evian and Toyako G8 Summits. Lo—óc Fauchon, WWC President, encouraged reinventing Africa’s water institutions based on African experiences and priorities, which should include finding an African “expression” of the right to water. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chair, African Union Commission, welcomed the inclusion of the outcomes of the Sharm el Sheikh African Union Summit in 2008, which endorsed 25 commitments to tackle water security and sanitation goals. Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General, WMO, highlighted the WMO’s hydrological framework to strengthen water management systems in Africa.

  • During the technical panel, speakers underscored the scale of the water and sanitation problem in Africa, noting that US$50 billion annually will be required to meet targets in three key areas: access to drinking water and safe sanitation; water for agriculture; and hydroelectric power and multi-purpose storage. They called for investments in knowledge and learning, diversity, proper institutional arrangements and adequate infrastructure.

  • In the closing session, South Africa announced that it would host the 7th session of AMCOW and the 2nd Africa Water Week in November 2009."
You can find more reporting of the conference on the IISD site and background information on the conference site.

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