African governance improves in water management: survey
Over 75 percent of the member countries of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) polled in a United Nations survey are implementing national water laws and nearly half are executing national plans for integrated water resources management in line with the Africa Water Vision for 2025, said the new report launched at the Assembly.
The findings of the “2012 Status Report on the Application of Integrated Approaches to Water Resources Management in Africa” are based on data collected from 40 member countries of AMCOW that responded to a detailed survey conducted by UN-Water to determine progress towards sustainable management of water resources using integrated approaches.
It found that 18 of those countries have integrated water resource management (IWRM) plans under implementation while 5 of the 16 countries responded to the survey did that in the 2008 survey.
Several respondents reported that their improved performance in water resources management provided direct benefits towards their national social and economic objectives.
The report asserts that detailed documentation of these benefits, including better and more consistent indicators, could increase government commitment and financing for water management and infrastructure.
It recommends that a more rigorous reporting system on progress in water management in Africa is initiated by AMCOW to provide a better basis for informed decision making at the national level.
“I am encouraged by the progress that has so far been made with integrated approaches to water resources management, which establishes a solid foundation for development and peace,” said the AMCOW President, Hon. Edna Molewa, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs of South Africa.
“It is crucial that we increase our efforts to implement past declarations on water and sanitation to advance the well-being of Africa’s people, environment and economy. This is in the spirit of the
Africa Water Vision 2025.”
More needs to be done to assure food and energy security as well as safe drinking water and sanitation to a growing population.
“The greatest physical threats are flooding, droughts and pollution for African water resources.”
It recommends targeted action to intensify efforts and opportunities for country-to-country knowledge sharing,particularly on disaster preparedness and water risk management as a means to increase resilience to climate change.
Financial constraints, institutional capacity gaps and weaknesses in coordination mechanisms between sectors and government departments are key challenges to integrated water resources management in Africa, the report said.
The report thus emphasises the need to carry out reforms aimed at strengthening the capacity of relevant institutions for managing transboundary water systems, as well as the capacity of local river basin organisations and national apex bodies.
“Water resources are an essential ingredient in the advent of a green economy in Africa,” says AMCOW Executive Secretary, Bai-Mass Taal.
“All nations must create transparent and integrated approaches to prioritise wise and efficient allocation of water. The outcomes of the survey should be utilised as a first step towards the development of a permanent reporting mechanism on each country’s progress towards that goal.” Taal said.