Report of main proceedings for 10 December 2003
Pan-African Implementation and Partnership Conference on Water
Delegates met in morning and afternoon multi-stakeholder sessions to discuss, inter alia: achieving MDGs and WSSD targets; the Africa-EU Water Partnership; and the World Water Forums. A special session on African inputs to the 12th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-12) also met in a parallel session. Delegates met in Plenary to summarize recommendations from the thematic sessions for Ministerial consideration.
CSD-12 AFRICAN REGIONAL IMPLEMENTATION REVIEW
Francis Babu, Uganda Housing Minister, chaired the session on the review of African regional implementation for CSD-12. Recalling that CSD-12 will address water, sanitation and human settlements, Josue Dione, UNECA, said the PANAFCON report should be in line with the WSSD targets on these themes. He called for: emphasis on the needs of the poor; integrated river basin management; regular monitoring and assessment; strengthening local and national capacity in urbanization; adequate shelter; and basic services. Dione said the review will focus on progress achieved since the last published CSD report, and constraints, obstacles, and success stories in implementation.
Noting that Africa has the fastest urbanization rate in the world, Alioune Badiane, UN-HABITAT, said greater attention should be given to the evaluation of Africa’s development agenda, especially providing access for all to decent accommodation. He called for: the elimination of ghettos in Africa; addressing planning and management of land use; improving infrastructure and equipment, especially in disaster areas; and improving information gathering and monitoring.
Sekou Toure, UNEP Regional Office for Africa, noted progress made in mobilizing political will and involving civic society in Africa on issues of water, sanitation and human settlements, and recalled the shortcomings faced by the region. He underscored the link between poverty eradication and environmental protection, stressing the need to adopt human-centered measures.
André Dzikus, UN-HABITAT, identified five key policy challenges: urbanization and feminization of poverty; translating global goals into local action; access to water and sanitation as basic human rights; sector reforms; and enhancing pro-poor investments. Underlining the rapid growth of urban low-income settlements, he said that poor people pay more for water than those in developed countries and access to water needs to be distinguished from adequate provision, since sources are often not sufficient in urban areas. Calling for an effective mechanism to monitor local implementation, he stressed the need for a needs-based rather than a rights-based approach, and for international support through enhanced official development assistance focused on the poorest.
Bulus Paul Lolo, CSD, recalled the Commission’s mandate to evaluate progress, promote Agenda 21, and adopt a work programme focusing on limited thematic issues while recognizing linkages and identifying priorities. He stressed that water, sanitation and human settlements are key to achieving sustainable development and identified the following priority actions: developing integrated water resource management (IWRM) plans; raising awareness of the interrelation between the above mentioned themes; and applying locally adapted solutions.
Toure presented a draft paper on the environment components of water, sanitation and human settlements. He underscored that the environmental dimension of sustainable development is encapsulated in major global instruments, declarations and mandates and called for them to be reflected in national policies. He said delegates should address policy measures to increase water efficiency for industries, agriculture and households and stressed: data gaps, poor management, and the need for more assessment and accountability.
ACHIEVING MDGS AND WSSD TARGETS: Session Chair Robert Munro, Exxcel Africa, stressed the need to close the gap between rhetoric and practice in achieving the targets. He presented tables on water supply and sanitation coverage showing the number of additional people to be served each year until 2015 to achieve the WSSD target. Munro noted that the required increase in coverage is raised by 20% annually, starting with smaller numbers to encourage governments to take action early. One delegate said that achieving the targets requires a massive infrastructure increase, while another stressed the need for country leadership and ownership of national plans, and pointed to action already taking place within some African governments.
Albert Wright, African Water Task Force, presented on Africa and the MDGs for water and sanitation, noting the Task Force’s role in identifying strategies to achieve the MDGs. He noted that Africa is a priority region for the Task Force and stressed the need to: empower the poor; increase capacity building and direct investment; ensure funding for initial investment and operation and maintenance; recognize the health benefits associated with good sanitation; and establish an independent authoritative group to assess progress towards the MDGs.
Delegates noted that the Task Force’s strategy should recognize countries’ different levels of needs to achieve MDGs and that information on African best practices should be disseminated. Delegates recommended that: countries set up a national task force and submit a national plan in 2005 with strategies to achieve targets and indicative figures for annual service delivery targets until 2015; and ministers should ensure water issues are higher on the national agenda.
AFRICA-EU STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP ON WATER AND SANITATION: André Liebaert, European Commission (EC), chaired the session and introduced the Africa-European Union (EU) Strategic Partnership on water and sanitation and its draft strategy and work programme for 2004-2005. Oumar Ndiaye, Senegalese Ministry of Agriculture and Water, highlighted the recent AMCOW Technical Committee consultation on the Partnership’s implementation, which established working groups on water and sanitation, IWRM and financing.
Johan Holmberg, EC, elaborated on the draft strategy and work programme, recalling the Partnership’s goals to, inter alia: reinforce political will and commitment to action; promote improved water governance, capacity building and awareness; and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of water management through multi-stakeholder dialogues and coordination. He noted that the partnership is a component of the EU Water Initiative, and elaborated on the Initiative’s programmatic objectives, which include: increasing prioritization for investment in water and sanitation for the poor; initiating a programme to support transboundary IWRM; initiating national processes for IWRM; strengthening underlying institutions; building capacity; enhancing funding mechanisms for IWRM; improving coordination between IWRM actors; and improving the use of existing and new scientific knowledge regarding IWRM. Holmberg said working groups had been established on: water and sanitation; IWRM and transboundary basins; and cross-cutting themes, including finance, research and monitoring, and expressed hope that the strategy and work programme would be completed before CSD-12.
Zissimos Vergos, EC, introduced a website that was recently launched on the EU Water Initiative’s research component. Mogens Bregnbæk, Danish Foreign Affairs Ministry, elaborated on the African Water and Sanitation component of the EU Water Initiative. Stressing the need to move the process from Europe to Africa, he noted that funding presently reaches only a limited number of countries. He highlighted an upcoming pilot project implementing the EU Water Initiative in two countries per geographical region, noting its goal to enhance effective implementation by bringing policy to the national level, and coordinating and harmonizing donor and recipient activities.
Following the presentations, delegates discussed, inter alia: using effectively the national capacity, expertise and internal financing mechanisms of African countries; supporting African-led initiatives; linking with the Global Water Partnership; raising awareness through a website on the Africa-EU Partnership; and increasing multi-stakeholder participation.
WORLD WATER FORUMS: William Cosgrove, World Water Council, introduced a discussion on the World Water Forums. He said that water issues would feature prominently on the CSD-12 and CSD-13 agendas and underscored the importance of completing the work of Water Task Force on MDGs before the Fourth World Water Forum (WWF-4), scheduled to take place in Mexico from March 22-27, 2006.
Masato Toyama, Third World Water Forum (WWF-3), gave an overview of the World Water Forum in Japan. He also introduced the Portfolio of Water Actions website network, and the establishment of the Japan Water Forum, which will facilitate networking and coordination on water issues.
Daniel Adom, Ghana Water Resources Commission, outlined recommendations formulated on Africa Day, which took place during WWF-3. Recommendations include: preparing a common African regional strategy for the management and development of the continent’s water resources at national and transboundary levels; preparing IWRM and water efficiency plans by 2005; supporting capacity-building efforts to ensure the sustainability of water sector investments; enhancing MDGs and WSSD target awareness; and supporting the African Water Facility.
In an ensuing discussion, one delegate noted that WWF-3 raised the profile of water issues, while another said that CSD-12 is a unique opportunity to keep water on the international agenda prior to WWF-4.
William Cosgrove chaired a Plenary that summarized the thematic session’s recommendations for Ministerial consideration. The following recommendations were made:
On safe water, sanitation and human settlements, poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSPs) and budget allocation should reflect commitment for the provision of water supply and sanitation facilities in un-served communities through ensuring that national action plans are prepared to reach MDGs, with all countries reporting by 2005. Governments should support the Water and Sanitation for African Cities Programme and the Rural Water and Sanitation Initiatives and increase communication for value-based water education and sanitation activities.
On water for food security, governments should increase agricultural productivity and adopt innovative approaches to increase public-private sector involvement in the agricultural sector. On protecting ecosystems and livelihoods, governments should invest in ecosystem health as an integral part of IWRM strategies to secure livelihoods and maintenance of reliable supplies of clean water. On managing water and climate risks, data and information exchange should be fostered to improve early warning and forecast; the World Hydrological Cycle Observing System and other networking mechanisms should be expanded; and funding should be increased for the maintenance and operation of the hydrological and meteorological networks in Africa.
On financing water services, African governments should consecrate at least 5% of their budgets on water and sanitation within 5 years, and increase billing and collection; donor countries should make incremental funds available; and AMCOW member states should review policy and regulatory frameworks prior to expansion of privatization of water and sanitation services.
On IWRM and shared waters, governments should prepare IWRM implementation by 2005, foster joint management of shared waters and a shared vision of all stakeholders for sustainable management of rivers, lakes and aquifers.
On valuing and allocating water, African States should develop comprehensive systems for valuing and allocating water resources, giving priority to basic needs of the poor, and considering climate variability and geographic conditions.
On ensuring water wisdom, accelerated technical support and capacity-building measures should be undertaken to improve the role of African countries, experts and civil society groups in international water quantity and quality monitoring and risk assessment programmes. Governments should promote good water policy and management by encouraging new ways of collecting, analyzing and disseminating information and sharing knowledge.
On governing water wisely, AMCOW members should ensure good governance through involving the public and stakeholders in the management of water resources. On gender and water management, governments should ensure that gender concerns are taken into account in policy formulation in all sectors of water, sanitation, human settlements, and agriculture and food security to create equity and equality by 2005.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
MINISTERIAL SEGMENT: The opening of the Ministerial segment will commence at 10:00 am in Conference Room 1.
IMPLEMENTATION INITIATIVES: Delegates will meet in Plenary from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm for the launch of several implementation initiatives, including the African Water Facility, African Water Journal, EU Water Initiative for Africa, and Water for African Cities.