Daily report for 9 December 2003

Pan-African Implementation and Partnership Conference on Water

Delegates continued their discussions in the morning on the Conference’s thematic issues, including, water, sanitation and human settlements; ecosystems and livelihoods; and financing water infrastructure. An evening Plenary session considered draft recommendations from the thematic sessions.


WATER, SANITATION AND HUMAN SETTLEMENTS: André Dzikun, UN-HABITAT, chaired a panel discussion on urban water demand management (WDM). Michael Singh, South African Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, said that WDM can improve the cost recovery of water supply and institutions can maximize the use of existing water resources and existing infrastructures to postpone the need for new dams and new infrastructures, such as treatment plants, reservoirs and water delivery pipes. He noted the need to, inter alia: develop national WDM strategies; establish more comprehensive regional WDM programmes; increase the profile of WDM in inter-basin studies; and increase funding opportunities for WDM programmes.

Abebe Bellete, Addis Ababa Water and Sewage Authority, noted the city’s efforts in improving water efficiency in urban areas by developing WDM and conservation strategies; improving capacity building in detecting leaks; and promoting WDM in existing and planned water projects. Daniel Adom, Water Resources Commission of Ghana, highlighted a WDM pilot project conducted at the University of Ghana to assess water consumption and defective fixtures and pipes. He said that similar WDM activities would be replicated on a citywide basis.

Cees Van de Guechte, UNEP, chaired a panel discussion on wastewater and sanitation. Graham Alabaster, UN-HABITAT, presented on municipal wastewater treatment and land-based sources of pollution and called for more focus on promoting sustainable technologies for wastewater treatment, such as efforts to reuse wastewater; developing low-cost assessment methodologies; and involving local communities in managing catchments. Micheni Ntiba, Nairobi University, presented on the Nairobi Convention, which addresses land-based activities in the Western Indian Ocean. He said the Convention aims to reduce stress to the ecosystem by improving water and sediment quality and to strengthen the regional legal basis for preventing land-based sources of pollution. Bonaventura Baya, Tanzanian National Environment Management Council, presented on a pilot project that constructs wetlands to help prevent marine pollution. He said such constructed wetlands are low cost and maintenance wastewater treatment systems that can be used throughout Africa. Manda Hinsch, South African Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, spoke on the impact urban settlements have on water resources, particularly fast growing informal urban areas. She said communities need to take ownership of their own systems, but that ongoing support from governments is needed. Meera Mehta, World Bank Water and Sanitation Programme (WSP), spoke on financial challenges to improve water and sanitation services, citing the need to double aid, leverage additional resources and reform the governance of that sector.

PROTECTING ECOSYSTEMS AND LIVELIHOODS: Eric Odada, Nairobi University, chaired the session. Edith Mussukuya, UNEP/GIWA, presented on the Global International Waters Assessment (GIWA), a GEF project that aims at developing a comprehensive assessment of environmental conditions in transboundary waters to identify priorities for action. She announced that the new special editions of GIWA will be launched on Thursday. After listing areas of concern and describing GIWA’s methodology, she presented a few case studies.

Dan Olago, University of Nairobi, presented on four GIWA regions in Africa. After listing the threats they face: freshwater shortage; habitat and community modification; pollution; unsustainable exploitation of fisheries and other living resources; and global change, he presented some policy options, such as fishing quotas, civic education, awareness, and enforcement of standards.

Sarah Humphrey, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Africa and Madagascar Programme, explained how WWF identifies priority areas of high biodiversity for its conservation actions. She presented a few case studies and stressed the importance of political will, integrated management and environmental dialogue.

Patrick Dugan, WorldFish Center, presented on managing African river fisheries and improving water productivity, stressing the need to change the focus from "more crop per drop" to "more livelihood per cubic meter." He explained that all aspects of flood dynamics must be examined to improve fisheries productivity and called for good governance and enhanced information exchange. Robert Munro, Xxcel Africa, stressed the link between improved sanitation and the protection of ecosystems.

FINANCING WATER INFRASTRUCTURE: Albert Diphoorn, ADB, chaired the session. Cees van de Guchte, UNEP, presented on financing wastewater collection and treatment, stressing that sanitation is not limited to "taps and toilets" as it interrelates with other sectors. To achieve the WSSD targets, he stated that US$56 billion is required annually for wastewater, and stressed the need for integrated policy packages that include legislation, economic instruments and institutional set-ups.

Meike van Ginneken, World Bank, presented on innovative financing mechanisms, focusing on water supply. She noted that private investment in water is low in Africa due to limited cost recovery. She then discussed output-based aid and outlined risk mitigation instrument, and added that cost recovery is essential for public utilities, and "needs" should be translated into "effective demand."

Stephen Turner, Water Aid, presented on financing water for the poorest, investigating why the poorest often lack access to water and sanitation. He said that the poorest should not be denied water for not owning land; their financial and physical assets should be taken into account; cross-subsidies can enable them to afford services; and they often lose out when resources are allocated. He noted that free water is often promoted as a pro-poor answer, but cautioned that it might not result in improved services as sustainability is not guaranteed.

Bertraud Charrier, Green Cross International, presented on strengthening the position of local authorities. He noted the recent Bologna Dialogues on Water for Life and Peace that concluded with a commitment to provide access to freshwater in the South. He reported that local authorities from developing countries presented their needs and difficulties at the meeting, focusing on local community involvement and financial commitments. Charrier stressed that viable projects should be elaborated in terms of their social, financial, technical and ecological dimensions.

Adrian Gauci, ECA, presented on water privatization and equity in Sub-Saharan Africa. He noted that water should be considered as a productive asset that reduces risk-adverse behavior and can reduce poverty, and stated that although privatization is meant to increase efficiency, privatization in the water sector does not necessarily act as a catalyst for reform. He also stated that the rationale to privatize should be revised in terms of cost-benefit analysis, and that people’s vulnerability and regulatory mechanisms be addressed.


Delegates to an evening Plenary session heard recommendations formulated in the thematic sessions that will be forwarded to the Conference’s ministerial segment.

Daniel Adom, Ghana Water Resources Commission, presented recommendations on water, sanitation and human settlement, which include: ensuring that the poor are equipped with sanitation facilities and efficient sanitation services; providing water and sanitation facilities for schools; adopting partnership approaches and developing innovative financial mechanisms to mobilize funds; mainstreaming WDM in water policies and planning processes; developing regulatory framework to ensure water service providers are accountable for their performance; initiating a national water awareness programme in all major African cities; and introducing value-based water education activities for teachers.

Doug Merrey, International Water Management Institute, presented recommendations on water for food security, which include: pursuing opportunities for innovative new technologies for agricultural water; supporting innovative approaches to investment in agricultural water; creating conditions that encourage investment and increase good returns to private and public investors while targeting poor people, especially women; promoting agricultural water in context of integrated water resources management; and supporting collaborative programmes for investment in agricultural water.

Hans Spruijt, UNICEF, presented the recommendations on rural water supply and sanitation, including, the need to: undertake a sector re-assessment to carry out reforms and prepare country action plans for attaining MDGs; integrate water supplies, sanitation and hygiene education at all levels; encourage inter-sectorial collaboration; recognize stakeholder participation in the prevention of diseases; and privatize school sanitation and hygiene education.

Eric Odada, Nairobi University, presented recommendations on protecting ecosystems and livelihoods, including: on water monitoring and assessment, accelerate technical support and capacity building; on shared water resources, prioritize equitable use and sustainable management with harmonized water quality standards; on safe water and sanitation, adopt annual national strategic plans and budgets to achieve the 2015 WSSD target; and on the involvement of stakeholders and civic society, the need to involve these groups in decision making and implementation to achieve effective water management.

William Cosgrove, World Water Council, reported on the recommendations on managing water and climate risks. After stressing that the water crisis will worsen with climate change, he called for: regional approaches; assessment of climate change on water resources; development of warning tools for better preparedness and response; multidisciplinary approaches; dissemination of hydrological and meteorological knowledge; increased funding; strengthened institutional capacity; and cooperation between agencies.

Meike van Ginneken, World Bank, presented recommendations on financing water infrastructure. She noted, inter alia, that: existing resources should be used more effectively and reach the poor; donor financing is crucial; local governments should be empowered; and local private capital has to be mobilized. It was also stressed that governments should increase sustainable cashflows, and donor countries should make incremental funding available and channel them to local initiatives.

Ibraheem Olomoda, Niger Basin Authority, presented recommendations on water resource management, which note, inter alia, that regional economic communities should establish permanent integrated water resource management coordination units; strong civil society organizations and private sector participation is required; scientific and technical cooperation, mechanisms for data collection, and existing river basin organizations should be strengthened; and joint management of shared water resources should be considered as basic elements of African development and integration.

Mamadou Kane, African Union, presented recommendations on valuing and allocating water, which call on: AMCOW member States to develop comprehensive systems for valuing and allocating water resources; sub-regional representatives on the AMCOW Executive to initiate policy dialogue processes on valuing and allocating water resources; AMCOW to promote cooperation at the sub-regional level and international river basin level areas; and AMCOW to promote policy dialogue for the development of water policies taking into account the needs of women and children.

Eberhard Braune, South African Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, presented recommendations from the session on water wisdom, which include the need to: address human and institutional capacity building to reach the African Water Vision and the MDGs; develop capacity at all levels; strengthen partnerships with international training institutes; improve monitoring and assessment programmes; find new ways to disseminate information and knowledge sharing; and reinforce the link between the science community with decision-makers and civil society.

Cyriaque Adjinacou, Global Water Partnership, presented recommendations on governing water wisely. They include: on monitoring and evaluation, the system needs to be transparent and should integrate various sectors; on participation, stakeholders need to be identified; and on funding, adequate financial resources, including social and private capital, need to be mobilized.


PLENARY: Plenary will convene from 9:00 am to 10:30 am, and from 4:00 pm to 4:30pm to address priority programmes and initatiatives, and technical issues.

PARALLEL SESSIONS: Multi-stakeholder sessions will take place from 11:00 am to 12: 30 pm and from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm on: Gender and Water; Achieving MDG and WSSD targets; World Water Forums; International Flood Network; Africa-EU Water Partnerships; Conference Outcomes on Water for the Poorest; and Regional Water Cooperation. A special session on Africa inputs to CSD-12 will meet in Conference Room 2.

Further information


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