The 4th Africa Water Week has kicked off in Cairo. Organised under the theme 'Water for Growth in Africa,' the weeklong event has attracted over 500 participants from Africa and beyond.
The main discussion is on what needs to be done to meet Africa's water and sanitation Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets, but to also celebrate the 10th anniversary of the African Minister's Council of Water (AMCOW), the body who convene Africa Water Week.
The AMCOW General Assembly was held, officially opened by the prime minister of Egypt Dr Kamal ElGanzouri. In his key note address, the premier noted that water is life and a source of development, but if mismanaged it can be a source of conflict. "We must therefore manage our water very well, and cooperate with others to move the African water agenda," he said.
In response to the above comment, Mr. Bai–Mass Taal, the AMCOW executive secretary added, that since water is life and sanitation is dignity, it should be at the centre of development in Africa.
Key issues from the AMCOW General Assembly
Participants in the General Assembly reminded each other that, as they reflected on 10 years of AMCOW, that they should be mindful of the challenges we face to ensure water and sanitation for all Africans, as this is a key component of sustainable development across the continent.
Speakers talked about how water and sanitation is a fundamental human right but also a cornerstone of growth, it must therefore be managed in a more sustainable and integrated manner.
Almost all the speakers highlighted that the MDG targets on water and sanitation will not be attained in many African countries in large part due to limited financing, negative effects of climatic change, and high population growth which in many instances outpaces investment in these essential services.
To address the challenges that impede universal access to safe water and sanitation in African countries, a number of solutions were discussed, including; developing appropriate water governance mechanisms, making water and sanitation a political and financial priority, as well as putting in place measures to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.
ANEW's relationship with AMCOW
The African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW) is an independent regional network of African Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) actively involved in the field of sustainable water management, water supply and sanitation.
The ANEW network holds observer status with AMCOW and represents the CSO sector voices. It works with AMCOW and other partners to monitor progress towards achievement of water and sanitation MDG targets at the national and continental levels.
ANEW is being represented by over 25 of its members from the different regions of the continent. Besides the CSO forums, ANEW members are also participating in sessions across Africa Water Week as presenters, panelists and exhibitors.
AMCOW Presidency switches to Egypt
The AMCOW governing council meeting agreed that Dr Hesham Kandil, Minister for Water Resources and Irrigation Egypt, will now take over the two year term Presidency of AMCOW.
He takes on the mantel from Hon. Bee Molewa, the Minister for Water and Environmental Affairs of the Republic of South Africa.
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