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Volume 13 Number 4 - Monday, 16 November 2009
12-13 NOVEMBER 2009

The Seventh Ordinary Session of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW-7) took place from 12-13 November 2009 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The session was preceded by the second African Water Week and the second Pan-African Implementation and Partnership Conference on Water.

The session consisted of a meeting of the AMCOW Technical Advisory Committee on Thursday, 12 November. The AMCOW Executive Committee and General Assembly took place on Friday, 13 November, and concluded with the adoption of reports from the EXCO, as well as the Johannesburg Ministerial Statement.

This report provides a brief history of the Council, a summary of the Seventh Session and an overview of the key outcomes.

A Brief History of the African Ministers’ Council on Water

Ministers responsible for water in 41 African countries met in Abuja, Nigeria, from 29-30 April 2002, and decided to form AMCOW to promote cooperation, security, socioeconomic development and poverty eradication through the better management of water resources and the provision of water supply services.

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 for the maintenance of African ecosystems. AMCOW is actively engaged in keeping the state of Africa’s water under review and in promoting actions of common interest to African stakeholders.

The African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government, at their second Extraordinary Session in 2004, declared their support for AMCOW and its role in developing plans and policies related to the management of all water resources in Africa. The Sirte Declaration on the Challenges of Implementing Integrated Sustainable Development in Agriculture and Water in Africa, 2004, also recommended integrating AMCOW into the AU as one of its Specialized Technical Committees (STC).

AMCOW’s major functions are to: facilitate regional and international cooperation through the coordination of policies and actions among 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. It provides a forum for dialogue on water issues with UN agencies and other partners, and promotes government participation in regional studies regarding climate change and development of observation networks. It also facilitates information exchange and aims to develop policies and strategies for addressing the water issues facing the continent. AMCOW’s objectives are to: keep the state of Africa’s water under review and promote desirable actions of common interest to Africa; facilitate regional and international cooperation through the coordination of policies and actions among African countries regarding water resource issues; support transnational cooperation on water-related issues through the development of common positions on matters of global concern, and cooperation in implementation of relevant conventions and international agreements; encourage mechanisms that promote best practices in water policy reforms, integrated water resource management, food security, water supply and sanitation; promote participation in regional studies regarding climate change, develop observation networks, encourage information exchange on and set up strategies for the management of water resources during droughts or floods; develop policies and strategies for arresting the water crisis in Africa; and review and constantly seek to strengthen water sector financing in Africa.


AMCOW-6: The sixth Ordinary Session of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW-6) took place from 30-31 May 2007, in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. The meeting focused on strengthening regional and international cooperation and solidarity to address the African water and sanitation crisis and to make progress on achieving the water-related targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

IISD’s coverage of AMCOW-6 is available online at:

TENTH AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT: The tenth AU Summit took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 25 January to 2 February 2008. At the Twelfth Ordinary Session, the AU Executive Council adopted a decision on AMCOW-6 (EX.CL/Dec.391 (XII)), in which the Executive Council endorsed the Brazzaville Declaration and Decisions on water and sanitation in Africa adopted at AMCOW-6. They also adopted a decision (EX.CL/Dec.392 (XII)) recommending that ‘Water and Sanitation’ be the theme of the July 2008 Summit of the AU Heads of State and Government.

SECOND AFRICAN CONFERENCE ON SANITATION AND HYGIENE: The second African Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene (AfricaSan +5) was held from 18-21 February 2008, in Durban, South Africa. At the end of the event, the attending ministers jointly agreed to the eThekwini Declaration and AfricaSan Action Plan articulating the critical actions to be further developed, funded and monitored by 2010 in order to put Africa ‘back on track’ to meet the sanitation MDGs. Ministers also agreed to support the leadership of AMCOW to track the implementation of the eThekwini Declaration and prepare a detailed report on progress in mid-2010, when AMCOW will provisionally host a follow-up AfricaSan event.

AWW-1: The First African Water Week (AWW-1), took place from 26-28 March 2008 in Tunis, Tunisia, under the theme ‘Accelerating Water Security for the Socio-Economic Development of Africa.’ Participants agreed on two key outputs the Summary of Proceedings and Outcomes highlighting the issues and recommendations made in plenary and working groups, and the Tunis Ministerial Declaration on Accelerating Water Security for Africa’s Socioeconomic Development that reflects the specific commitments that ministers would act on. The Tunis Declaration has four parts on: the efforts and achievements on water; global partnership with the international community; key messages; and suggested decisions for the July 2008 AU Summit and the Group of Eight Industrialized Countries (G8) Summit.

IISD’s coverage of AWW-1 is available online at

ELEVENTH AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT: The eleventh AU Summit took place from 24 June to 1 July 2008 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, on the theme ‘Meeting the Millennium Development Goals on Water and Sanitation.’ The AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government adopted the Sharm El-Sheikh Commitments for Accelerating the Achievement of Water and Sanitation Goals in Africa (Assembly/AU/Decl.1 (XI)). In the Declaration the AU Assembly committed to: increasing efforts to implement past declarations related to water and sanitation; raising the profile of sanitation by addressing the gaps in the context of implementing the eThekwini Declaration; and addressing issues pertaining to agricultural water use for food security as provided for in the Tunis Declaration and outcomes of the AWW-1. The Assembly also committed, inter alia: to develop and/or update national water management policies, regulatory frameworks and programmes; and prepare national strategies and action plans for achieving the MDG targets for water and sanitation over the next seven years.

IISD’s coverage of the AU Summit is available online at

SIXTH AMCOW EXCO: The Sixth session of AMCOW’s Executive Committee (EXCO) took place on 24-28 November 2008, in Nairobi, Kenya, on the theme ‘Carrying forward the Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration and Commitments on Water and Sanitation.’ The EXCO adopted recommendations made by the TAC on: the elements of the plan of action for the implementation of the Sharm El-Sheikh Commitments; the proposed Pan-African Mechanism for the Monitoring and Evaluation of Progress in the Water and Sanitation sector at the country, sub-regional and regional levels; the implementation and coordination of commitments relating to water; the Kenyan proposal for hosting AWW-2; AMCOW’s strategy for strengthening the AMCOW-G8 partnership; AMCOW’s strategy for the high level conference on water for agriculture and energy; Africa’s road map for the fifth World Water Forum and the eThekwini Declaration; for accelerating the implementation of the AMCOW-6 decisions; measures for the restructuring of the AMCOW EXCO, strengthening AMCOW’s sub-regional presence and bringing into full operation the secretariat of AMCOW located in Abuja, Nigeria; the chairmanship of the African Ground Water Commission and related arrangements; and the outcomes of the ninth meeting of the Governing Council of the African Water Facility.

IISD’s coverage of the AMCOW EXCO is available online at

SEVENTH AMCOW EXCO: The seventh AMCOW EXCO meeting took place from 18-31 July 2009 in Abuja, Nigeria. The AMCOW Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting discussed, inter alia: implications of AU Assembly Decisions on the STC; review of governance, institutional and operational arrangements of AMCOW; state of the AMCOW Trust Fund; review of the implementation progress of the AMCOW-related initiatives; Action plan and operational strategy to implement the Sharm El-Sheikh Commitments; Pan African Monitoring and Evaluation System; review of the implementation of the eThekwini Declaration; reflections on the linkages with the EU-African, Caribbean and Pacific States Water Facility; strengthening the strategic role of AMCOW; proposals on cooperation with the Africa Water Association; the fifth World Water Forum; AMCOW’s communication strategy; and preparations for AMCOW-7 and AWW-2. The EXCO adopted decisions based on the TAC recommendations, as well as decisions on the International Task Force on AfricaSan and the roadmap to AMCOW-7.

AWW-2: The Second African Water Week took place from 9-11 November 2009, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Delegates met in plenary and four parallel sessions on finance, climate change, sanitation and transboundary water resources. The Water Week concluded with the presentation of the Summary of Proceedings and Outcomes, which was forwarded to the Seventh Ordinary Session of the African Ministers’ Council on Water to be held from 12-13 November 2009.

PANAFCON-2: The Second Pan-African Implementation and Partnership Conference on Water session was held on 11 November 2009, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Conference met in plenary to provide an opportunity for AMCOW’s development partners to reengage with stakeholders to support the implementation of Africa’s water development agenda.


The Seventh Ordinary Session of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW-7) convened from 12-13 November 2009. The Council endorsed the Johannesburg Ministerial Statement and the Executive Committee (EXCO) report.


On Thursday, 12 November 2009, prior to the General Assembly of AMCOW-7, the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) met to review the Africa Ground Water Commission Report, the outcomes of the second African Water Week (AWW-2), the second Pan-African Implementation and Partnership Conference on Water (PANAFCON-2) and the phasing out of the Trust Fund for recommendation to the EXCO. The TAC session included: adoption of the agenda; the election of the Bureau; the Progress Report of the TAC Chairman; and the election of Office Bearers. The session then adjourned and a drafting committee met to draft the TAC report for presentation to the EXCO on 13 November 2009.

Opening statements: Bai-Mass Taal, Executive Secretary, AMCOW, and Reginald Tekateka, Department of Water Affairs, South Africa, welcomed delegates to the AMCOW-TAC meeting.

Charles Ngangoue, TAC Chairman, noted that much work has been accomplished by AMCOW in the area of water and sanitation. In underscoring the commitment to address the challenges in the African water and sanitation sector, he noted that AMCOW-6 tasked the TAC with, inter alia: enhancing leadership and strengthening partnerships with regional and international organizations; creating favorable conditions for mobilizing financial resources; and completing set milestones such as designing and implementing AMCOW’s 2008 water agenda.

The African Union Commission (AUC) congratulated the TAC for their work in carrying forward the commitments from the Sharm El-Sheikh Commitments, and confirmed the AUC’s continued commitment to working with AMCOW and the new TAC members to achieve the water and sanitation related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The African Development Bank (AfDB) highlighted the meeting of finance and water Ministers to be held in Dakar, in March 2010. He stressed the need for active participation from AMCOW members in the activities of the Council and called for the adoption of the Roadmap for the Implementation of the Sharm El-Sheikh Commitments and the Pan-African Mechanism for Water Sector Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework, both developed by AfDB.

UN-Water, the Global Water Partnership (GWP), the Global Framework for Action, and the US reaffirmed their commitment to continue supporting and working together with AMCOW.

EU Water Initiative-African Working Group (EUWI-AWG) outlined their new strategy for the EUWI-AWG, and called for the endorsement of this by the TAC.

WaterAid highlighted their increased involvement in Africa over the last year and noted their aim to strengthen civil society organizations and water monitoring on the continent.

The African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW), on behalf of Civil Society Organizations, called for more funding on sanitation infrastructure including the realization of a 0.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) budget allocation for sanitation. Additionally she stressed the need for decreasing corruption in the water services sector.

Le Centre Régional pour l’Eau Potable et l’Assainissement à faible coût (CREPA) expressed their willingness to share accumulated knowledge and experiences with AMCOW, as well as foster synergies between resource centers in Francophone and Anglophone countries.

The German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) underscored their continued support of the European Commission and Germany for AMCOW and the AU, as well as GTZ’s mandate to give institutional support to the AU and AMCOW in implementing the Sharm El-Sheikh Commitments. He also said that to win the “sprint to the finish line,” members must renew their spirit, and say “we can do it!”

Composition of the bureau: The following delegates were elected to the Bureau, by acclamation: Charles Ngangoue, Republic of the Congo; Saadou Ebih Ould Mohamed El Hacen, Mauritania, for the North African region; Anta Seck, Senegal, for the West African region; Ngolona Goundoul, Chad, for the Central African region; Bataung Leleka, Lesotho, for the Southern African region; and Charles Hakizimana, Burundi, for the Eastern African region.

Adoption of the agenda: Following the outline of the proposed agenda by the TAC Chair Ngangoue, Senegal proposed that the agenda item on the African Groundwater Commission be deleted as this was to be addressed in reports to the EXCO. Supporting Senegal, Halifa Drammeh, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), noted that Kenya has assumed the interim chair of the Commission and will report back to the EXCO on challenges, successes and short-comings of what has been achieved so far.

The agenda was adopted with the proposed amendments.

Progress report of the tac Chairman on implementation of the amcow decisions (2007-2009) and recommendations to the EXCO: Chair Ngangoue reported on the work undertaken by the TAC from 2007-2009. He reviewed the activities of the TAC following the Brazzaville Declaration and highlighted work undertaken for AMCOW by: the AfDB on water; the Water Sanitation Programme (WSP) on sanitation; and the Kenyan Ministry of Water and Agriculture on groundwater resources whose results were presented at AWW-2. On TAC’s mission to secure financial resources, Chair Ngangoue noted that Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) have been circulated to member countries to facilitate contributions to AMCOW’s trust fund. In presenting the other initiatives of the TAC, he noted, inter alia: the TACs work at AWW-1; AfDB’s monitoring and evaluation study; participation at the fifth World Water Forum; and contributing to G8 strategy talks.

Discussion: A delegate noted that although the eThekwini Declaration had been addressed, it was not reflected in the report. Delegates further stressed that the “Water for Agriculture and Energy in Africa” conference, held in Sirte, Libya in December 2008 had not been noted.

One delegate requested that content reporting on the institutional arrangements of AMCOW, should feature more prominently. In addition, he requested that the report note the significant progress made in improving water governance on the continent as a basis for economic development, while another delegate requested a report detailing the trends and status of attaining the signed MOUs.

Delegates stressed the urgency of strengthening the capacity of the AMCOW Secretariat, noting that currently only an Executive Secretary is employed. One delegate noted that the report did not cover any difficulties that were encountered by the TAC Chairman. Another delegate requested that a strategy be developed to ensure “buy-in” from countries that are not “on board” with the process.

A delegate said the report should have an increased focus on the work of the African Water Facility (AWF) and include more details on the status of the Trust Fund and encourage pledging. The recommendations were noted, and Chair Ngangoue called for them to be presented in writing.

Anta Seck, Senegal, stated that some of the issues raised were the result of members not fulfilling their responsibilities to AMCOW.

 Halifa Drammeh, UNEP, noting the progress made for water and sanitation through the organization, called for members to focus on the TAC’s achievements. He noted that the EU terms for funding depend on raising proportionate funds from other sources. Drammeh called for clearer terms and conditions associated with AMCOW processes and said it is necessary to reanalyze the fundamental obligations of the TAC.

election of sub-regional tac office bearers 2009-2011: On the election of sub-regional TAC office bearers for 2009-2011, the Southern African region nominated: South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique for the EXCO; South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi and Angola for the TAC; Zimbabwe for the Vice-Presidency; Lesotho for the AWF; and Lesotho and Namibia for the AWF-TAC.

The Northern African region nominated: Algeria and Morocco for the EXCO; Libya, Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt for the TAC; Mauritania for the AWF; Algeria and Mauritania for the AWF-TAC; and Libya for the Vice-Presidency.

The Eastern African Region nominated: Kenya, Sudan, Burundi, Ethiopia and Tanzania for the TAC; Burundi and Ethiopia for the EXCO; Tanzania for the Vice-Presidency; Uganda for the AWF; and Kenya and Burundi for the AWF-TAC.

The Western African Region nominated: The Gambia, Mali, Côte d’Ivoiré, Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone for the TAC; Ghana and Nigeria for the EXCO; Senegal for the AWF; Senegal and The Gambia for the AWF-TAC; and Mali for the Vice-Presidency.

The Central African Region nominated: Cameroon, Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Chad for the TAC; Republic of Congo and Chad for the EXCO; Mali for the Vice-Presidency; Cameroon for the AWF; and Cameroon and Republic of Congo for the AWF-TAC. They called for Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua, Republic of Congo, to be the President of the AWF.

Drammeh, supported by the Northern African Region, suggested that the TAC formulate terms of reference for the post of the President of the AWF, suggesting that the post be filled by someone who: is committed to raising funds for the Facility; has access to top level politicians; and can articulate what is need by the AWF. He underscored the need to move away from regional issues and focus on how best to serve the AWF.

Supporting the proposal by Drammeh, the Central African Region withdrew their nomination. The West African Region, however, supported the nomination of Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua as the President of the AWF. A delegate noted that the decision of President should be left to Ministers to decide. The session was then closed for lunch, and resumed in a drafting group to finalize the report for the EXCO.

suggested organization of work of the EXCO meeting and proposed decisions for its consideration: On the organization of work for the EXCO meeting, the TAC proposed that the EXCO consider the report of the TAC.


The AMCOW EXCO met in a plenary session on Friday, 13 November 2009.

Honoring the Pioneers of AMCOW: Bai-mass Taal, Executive Secretary, AMCOW, noted that numerous people, countries, organizations and UN Agencies had been instrumental in supporting AMCOW. He noted the awards honored three people, including: Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Nigeria, for being a proponent of the idea and enabling Nigeria to host the Secretariat; Maria Mutagamba, Uganda, for the progress made during her tenure as AMCOW President, including the establishment of the AWF; and Jean Bruno-Richard Itoua, Republic of Congo, for establishing the Secretariat, and enabling the eThekwini and Tunis Declarations, and the Sharm El-Sheikh Commitments.

Taal noted that organizations and UN Agencies being honored included UNEP, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, World Meteorological Organization, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the AfDB and the World Bank for their Water Initiative’s WSP in Africa. He announced that countries honored, include Senegal, Kenya, Lesotho, Tanzania and South Africa. On receiving the “Pioneers of AMCOW” award on behalf of South Africa, Kader Asmal, South Africa, noted that when he was appointed Minister of Water Affairs in 1994 there were 16 million people without access to water and the brunt of this burden was borne by women and children. He stressed that democracy is nothing if there is no access to adequate health, water and sanitation services. Buyelwa Sonjica, Water Minister, South Africa, proposed, and delegates agreed, that former water ministers be honored as AMCOW pioneers.

Presentation of the TAC Report: Fred Mwango, TAC (Kenya), presented the TAC report of its meeting held on 12 November 2009. The report contains sections related to: organizational matters; progress report of the Chairman of the Committee on the implementation of the key AMCOW decisions during the 2007-2009 period; outcomes of AWW-2; outcomes of the PANAFCON-2; new Office bearers; and ‘the way forward from Johannesburg: key steps.’

The TAC report addresses progress achieved in consolidating AMCOW’s institutional arrangements and governance structures, and the implementation of its Work Programme and decisions, namely: political leadership; AMCOW’s leadership role; AMCOW’s regional cooperation; the AWF; the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI); the AfDB; the AMCOW Trust Fund; Water for African Cities; the African Groundwater Commission; knowledge management products; national sanitation action plans; implementation roadmaps; cross-cutting issues; and the GWP. Reports were also presented of the work carried out by the TAC on: rainwater harvesting; establishing a groundwater commission; and gender mainstreaming.

Halifa Drammeh, UNEP, highlighted the contributions of AMCOW members, specifically: Algeria (USD 100,000); Libya (USD 15,000); Namibia (USD 11,800); Tanzania (USD 11,000); Ethiopia (USD 9,800); Uganda (USD 20,000); and Senegal (EUR 175,000). Noting that the EU grant is conditional on co-financing from members, he called on all AMCOW members to make contributions to the Trust Fund.

On climate change, Egypt proposed a section containing a clear message from AMCOW to the fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change being held in Copenhagen, Denmark from 7-18 December 2009, noting AMCOW’s Roadmap and stressing Africa’s right to receive financial support from the international community to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Uganda said the TAC needs to accord more attention to climate change and called on African governments and stakeholders to commit to the “tree planting movement” as part of Africa’s mitigation strategy.

On finance, Egypt proposed the establishment of a mechanism to reach out to finance ministers in order to increase domestic allocations for the water and sanitation sector. Ghana, supported by Liberia, called on the AWF to ensure that all members are requested to contribute resources for the AWF. Tanzania recommended that ministers for agriculture and energy, as well as bulk water users, attend the meeting between water and finance ministers. UNEP called for the sub-regions to develop strong business plans for the next period and recommended that the AMCOW Secretariat coordinate funding with partners and donors to ensure there is a central point for managing incoming funds.

On the establishment of the African Groundwater Commission, Kenya reported on progress made. He outlined the work plan developed, including: finalizing project proposals; securing funding for proposals; and developing a communication strategy. Egypt recommended that the commission facility be established in Libya. Egypt proposed elaborating action items on the way forward for the Commission’s work. Noting that the seventh EXCO meeting held in Abuja, Nigeria, requested the Vice-President of the Northern Africa region to hold regional consultations on the hosting of the Commission Secretariat, Mauritania, said that following discussions, Libya had offered to host the Secretariat.

On sub-regional priorities, Burundi, supported by Ghana and Senegal, requested that the outcomes of sub-regional meetings held in Western and Eastern Africa be included in the report. He outlined the key recommendations from the Western Africa meeting, namely: developing sub-regional strategies and action plans for the implementation of the Sharm El-Sheikh Commitments; establishing a sub-regional coordination unit to support the AMCOW’s work in the region; and establishing a working group to monitor the implementation of decisions under the Executive Secretary. The Gambia proposed that the TAC work with sub-regional TACs to strengthen their effectiveness and that all sub-regions develop comprehensive resource mobilization strategies and work plans.

On the composition of the AMCOW Governing Body, Burundi stated that the region has proposed Tanzania for the position of Vice-President and Uganda for membership on the AWF Governing Council. Lesotho, for the Southern African region, proposed Zimbabwe as Vice-President, Namibia and Lesotho as TAC members of the AWF, and Lesotho for the AWF Governing Council. Mali, with Ethiopia, raised the concern that some EXCO members are not TAC members and suggest that AMCOW look to harmonize representation within its governing bodies.

In light of the recent appointment of the President of Liberia as United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Ambassador for Water and Sanitation in Africa, Liberia proposed that they should be represented on the EXCO and TAC. In response President Itoua proposed that on an exceptional basis, the EXCO designate an additional seat for the Western African region to allow Liberia to be represented on the EXCO and TAC. WSP, South Africa and UNEP proposed sending a small team of EXCO experts on an advisory mission to the UNICEF Ambassador.

The Gambia proposed that TAC develop a clear strategy for membership for AMCOW’s governing bodies. President Itoua said AMCOW was still being structured at the regional and sub-regional levels, and suggested the incoming Bureau and TAC address the issue of membership on governing bodies with the aim to establish a general practice. Mauritania said the Governing Council should be chaired by a minister and that it was not appropriate to set criteria for this position. He said the only criteria should be a Ministers availability. Supported by Senegal, he proposed that the outgoing AMCOW President Itoua be elected as President of the AWF Governing Council. On the AWF, Niger welcomed the proposal that the outgoing chair be elected president of the Governing Council of the AWF. Algeria commended African countries that had begun contributing to the fund.

On AMCOW’s achievements, Ethiopia said the report should acknowledge AMCOW’s role in hosting Africa Day during the fifth World Water Forum.

On the Way Forward, The Gambia proposed adding text calling on members to operationalize the M&E system to report on the implementation of the Sharm El-Sheikh Commitments. Libya proposed a reference to the ‘International Conference on Water for Agriculture and Energy in Africa: the Challenges of Climate Change,’ as well as other related declarations, such as the AU Sirte Declaration, and Ethiopia requested a reference to African Regional Position paper. Uganda proposed that the TAC establish a subcommittee to make recommendations on moving the sanitation agenda forward, including agreeing on standardized sanitation technology for widespread use and dissemination throughout Africa. She also underscored the importance of making progress on the issue of gender mainstreaming and rainwater harvesting. Algeria called for an increased focus on the environment in the Roadmap, as well as “non-conventional” sources of water such as desalinization and recycling wastewater for agricultural use.

The AUC, with Tanzania, supported accelerating establishment of river basin organizations.

UNEP supported stronger dialogue between water, energy, finance and agriculture ministers.

Minister Sonjica supported the proposals on gender mainstreaming and rainwater harvesting, saying it will go a long way towards fulfilling the MDGs and addressing poverty in Africa. She also supported including, in both the report and the ministerial statement, suggestions made on comprehensive plans for attracting financing and addressing climate change issues in the water and sanitation sector. She noted the Ministers’ unanimous support for appointment of outgoing AMCOW President Itoua as that President of the AWF Governing Council.

Following its consideration, the EXCO adopted the recommendations submitted by the TAC President Itoua and requested the Secretariat to amend the report to reflect the comments made by Ministers. President Itoua proposed, and delegates adopted, the Johannesburg Ministerial Statement by acclamation.


The AMCOW general assembly met on Friday, 13 November 2009 for a handover ceremony of the Presidency of AMCOW to Buyelwa Sonjica, Water Minister, South Africa, and for closing statements. Jean Bruno-Richard Itoua, Republic of Congo, handed over the presidency to Minister Sonjica.

Speech of incoming AMCOW President: Buyelwa Sonjica, AMCOW President, noted that she was not assuming the presidency of AMCOW for South Africa but for the whole of Africa. Referring to the achievements of AMCOW’s three previous Presidents, she said they would continue to amplify AMCOW’s role in providing water and sanitation in Africa. She noted that gaps in water and sanitation coverage in Africa were still significant due to a lack of technical, policy and governance capacity. Noting the commitments in Tunis, eThekwini, Sirte and Sharm El-Sheikh, she said AMCOW will continue to carry forward the Ministers’ will from these events. She said under her presidency AMCOW’s actions will move towards implementation. She commended the creation of the Secretariat hosted by Nigeria and supported by GTZ. She called on member states to honor their commitments, outlined the need for a new accounting structure as the UNEP Trust Fund comes to an end, emphasized raising gender mainstreaming and stressed her commitment to working closely with partners and taking advice from them and her ministerial colleagues.

VOTE OF THANKS: Hanna Bisiw, Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Ghana, thanked all participants for the contribution to the successful outcome of AWW-2, PANAFCON-2 and AMCOW-7. She noted that in ‘clamoring to reach the milestones’ there is a high-level of enthusiasm from development partners and stakeholders to address water and sanitation issues. She called on all stakeholders to fulfill their commitments and thanked the South African Government for their hospitality.

CLOSING: In closing, President Sonjica announced that the next EXCO meeting will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2010. She closed the meeting at 3:27 pm.



On 13 November, the EXCO adopted the recommendations transmitted from the AMCOW-TAC entitled ‘Way Forward from Johannesburg: Key Steps.’

WAY FORWARD FROM JOHANNESBURG: KEY STEPS: In conclusion, AMCOW has agreed on a clear roadmap, which has been welcomed by Africa’s development partners who undertook to support it. This includes:

  • the March 2010 meeting of water and finance ministers;
  • the Action Plan for accelerating the implementation of the eThekwini and Tunis Declarations,and the Sharm El-Sheikh Commitments;
  • strategies for increasing the financing of the AWF and RWSSI;
  • advocating for country-sector reviews and development of national MDG investment plans;
  • implementing the Pan-African M&E framework;
  • annual reporting to the AUC (2008-2009 and 2010-2011);
  • promoting gender mainstreaming and strengthening civil society participation;
  • completing the staffing of the AMCOW secretariat;
  • significantly enhancing AMCOW’s sub-regional presence; and
  • ensuring the majority of the African countries contribute to the AMCOW trust funds.


In the Johannesburg Statement, the Council recommended that AMCOW make the following decisions as follow-up to the implementation of the Sharm El-Sheikh Commitments adopted by Heads of State and Government in July 2008.

REPORTING OF COUNTRY ACTIONS IN RESPECT OF WATER SECURITY: The Council Ministers adopted the document ‘Delivering on Africa’s Water Security Commitments: A Framework for Reporting Actions to the African Union’ as the ‘Roadmap for the Implementation of the Sharm El-Sheikh Commitments.’ Ministers further agreed that:

  • countries include the actions contained in the Roadmap in their national plans and provide annual reports on their water security status;
  • regional bodies, such as the Regional Economic Communities and River and Lake Basins Organizations, should adopt the reporting mechanism and provide input to AMCOW’s annual report on progress on water security;
  • the modalities for a peer review mechanism on country water and sanitation progress shall be developed by the secretariat in consultation with partners;
  • the AMCOW secretariat shall be strengthened to monitor and report actions; and
  • the AMCOW EXCO should give directives on themes of future AWWs.

CONVENING OF MEETING OF WATER AND SANITATION MINISTERS: The Council agreed that the meeting of African Ministers of Water and Finance, requested by the AU, to be jointly convened by AMCOW and the AfDB, will be held in the first quarter of 2010. The meeting will be dedicated to reviewing achievements and to mobilizing resources for the second and third phase of implementation of the RWSSI, as well as discussing broader water security issues.

KEY MESSAGES: The Council agreed that in carrying forward the Johannesburg Statement, attention and action should be drawn towards:

  • convening meetings of African Water and Finance Ministers, together with development partners;
  • establishing a short-term African Water Finance Task Force to make the case for increased finance and to monitor impacts of the current financial crisis on investments in water in Africa;
  • accelerating progress on implementing the 2008 eThekwini Declaration, notably through the development of national sanitation and hygiene policies;
  • increasing commitment to the AWF to scale up its support for major infrastructure programmes and projects;
  • promoting scaled-up support to country sector reviews, national MDG investment plans and national finance strategies;
  • reviewing achievements and mobilizing resources for second and third phase implementation of RWSSI;
  • developing a Roadmap to accelerate progress in drinking water and sanitation in Africa, in particular in fragile states where the coverage gaps are greatest, under the aegis of AMCOW;
  • encouraging urgent disbursement of implementation funds to support small-scale water management in response to the Africa Food Price Crisis;
  • launching and adopting the Pan-African Mechanism for Water Sector M&E framework as a monitoring tool in Africa for water and sanitation;
  • planning for AWW-3;
  • strengthening engagement with the G8 over implementation of the Evian Action Plan and Joint Statement of the G8-Africa Water Partnership;
  • strengthening AMCOW’s presence at sub-regional and national levels, including especially regular convening of sub-regional meetings of the AMCOW EXCO and institutionalizing partnerships with regional economic communities;
  • adopting special measures to ensure the role and interests of youth and women are incorporated into all water and sanitation policies and programmes;
  • assessing the threat of climate change to the variability of water resources and capacity to meet the 2015 MDG water and sanitation targets and put in place adaptation measures; and
  • developing and/or strengthening and implementing among riparian countries the water management policies, laws and action plans for the equitable and sustainable use of shared water resources.


15TH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE UNFCCC AND 5TH MEETING OF THE PARTIES TO THE KYOTO PROTOCOL: UNFCCC COP-15 and Kyoto Protocol COP/MOP-5 are scheduled to take place from 7-18 December 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. These meetings will coincide with the 31st meetings of the UNFCCC’s subsidiary bodies. Under the “roadmap” agreed at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali in December 2007, COP-15 and COP/MOP-5 are expected to finalize an agreement on a framework for combating climate change post-2012 (when the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period ends). For more information contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail:; Internet:

INTERNATIONAL NETWORK OF BASIN ORGANIZATIONS EIGHTH WORLD GENERAL ASSEMBLY: This meeting will take place from 20-23 January 2010, in Dakar, Senegal. The assembly will address the theme ‘Adapting to the consequences of climate change in the basin, tools for action.’ For more information, contact: International Network of Basin Organizations; fax: +33-1400-80145; e-mail:; Internet:

MEETING OF WATER AND SANITATION MINISTERS: The Council agreed that the proposed meeting of African Ministers of Water and Finance requested by the AU, to be convened jointly by AMCOW and the AfDB, will be held in the first quarter of 2010. The meeting will be dedicated to reviewing achievements and to mobilizing resources for the second and third phase implementation of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI), as well as discussing broader water security issues.

WORLD WATER DAY: The theme of World Water Day, being held on 22 March 2010, is “Communicating Water Quality Challenges and Opportunities”. The goal of the day is to raise the profile of water quality at the political level. For more information contact: IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre; tel: +31-15-219-2939; fax: +31-15-219-2955; Internet:

WORLD URBAN FORUM 5:Taking place from 22-26 March 2010 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the World Urban Forum 5 is convening under the theme ‘The Right to the City: Bridging the Urban Divide,’ the Forum will act as a platform to examine rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies, climate change and policies and build on the outcomes of previous Fora. For more information contact: UN-HABITAT WUF5 Secretariat; tel: +254-20-762-3334; fax: +254-20-762-4175; e-mail:; Internet:

HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON WATER AND SANITATION: The first annual high-level meeting on water and sanitation, to take place in April 2010 in Washington, DC, US. The meeting is being convened to bring together high-level experts and politicians as well as representatives from Africa and South Asia to assess global progress and agree on remedial policy or financing actions on specific issues. For more information see:

HIGH-LEVEL MEETING TO REVIEW PROGRESS ON THE MILLENIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS: The UN General Assembly will convene a high-level meeting to review progress on the Millennium Development Goals, to be held at UN Headquarters in New York, US at the opening of the sixty-fifth session in September 2010. It is expected that the meeting will result in a renewal of commitments and galvanize coordinated action among all stakeholder eliciting the funding required to meet the 2015 deadline. For more information see:

THIRD AFRICAN WATER WEEK: The third African Water Week is expected to take place in Nairobi, Kenya, at a date to be confirmed in 2010. For more information, contact: AMCOW Secretariat; e-mail:; Internet:

AMCOW EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING: The next AMCOW Executive Committee meeting is to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, at a date to be confirmed in 2010. For more information, contact: AMCOW Secretariat; e-mail:; Internet:

THIRD INTERGOVERNMENTAL REVIEW OF THE GLOBAL PROGRAMME OF ACTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT FROM LAND-BASED POLLUTION (GPA): The Third Intergovernmental Review meeting of the GPA is expected to take place sometime in 2011 at a location to be determined. For more information contact: UNEP/GPA Coordinator; tel: +31-70-3114460; fax: +31-70-3456648; e-mail:; Internet:

AMCOW-8: The Eighth Ordinary AMCOW Session is scheduled to take place in 2011in North Africa. The venue and dates have yet to be decided. For more information contact: AMCOW Secretariat;; Internet:

RAMSAR COP 11: The eleventh meeting of the conference of the parties (COP11) to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat is expected to take place in the first half of 2012 in Romania. The exact dates and venue have yet to be confirmed. For more information contact: Ramsar Secretariat; tel: +41-22-999-0170; fax: +41-22-999-0169; e-mail:; Internet:

SIXTH WORLD WATER FORUM: The sixth World Water Forum will be held in March 2012 in Marseille, France. For more information, contact: World Water Council; tel: +33-49-199-4100; fax: +33-49-199-4101; e-mail:; Internet:



African Development Bank
African Ministers’ Council on Water
African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation
African Water Facility
African Working Group (EUEI)
African Water Week
African Union
African Union Commission
Le Centre Régional pour l’Eau Potable et l’Assainissement à faible coût
EU Water Initiative
Council of Ministers and Executive Committee
Gross domestic product
Integrated water resources management
Millennium Development Goals
Monitoring and evaluation
Memorandum of understanding
Pan-African Implementation and Partnership Conference on Water
Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative
Specialized Technical Committees
Technical Advisory Committee (AMCOW)
United Nations Environmental Programme
United Nations Children’s Fund
Water Sanitation Programme

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The AMCOW Bulletin is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) <>, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <>. This issue was written by Tallash Kantai, Kate Louw, Jonathan Manley, and Richard Sherman. The Editor is Anna Schulz. The AMCOW Bulletin is part of IISD Reporting Service’s African Regional Coverage (ARC) Project in partnership with South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT), the UN Environment Programme’s Regional Office for Africa (UNEP ROA) and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <>. The Programme Manager of the African Regional Coverage Project is Richard Sherman <>. Funding for the AMCOW Bulletin has been provided by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the International Development Research Centre, Canada, through the African Regional Coverage Project for IISD Reporting Service’s coverage of African regional meetings. IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700; fax: +1-204-958-7710. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to electronic distribution lists (in HTML and PDF formats) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at <>. For information on the ARC, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11A, New York, NY 10022, United States of America.

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