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FEATURE STORY

Africa Water Week in Senegal: Placing Water at the Heart of the Post 2015 Development Agenda

May 23, 2014

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Senegal is set to host Africa Water Week, May 26-31, 2014 in Dakar
  • CIWA is launching a new push on Africa’s shared water resources
  • The focus is on improving cooperation in transboundary waters for increased climate resilient-growth, and an energy and food-secure future

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2014 – Africa’s international waters are a lifeline for its people, important for economic growth, growing food, providing electricity to power homes and businesses, creating jobs and providing critical environmental services. Over 500 million people, or 65 percent of Africa’s total population, are living in 63 transboundary river basins across the continent. The unique challenges and opportunities related to management and development of international waters warrant a holistic approach to their development – one that cuts across national borders and sectors – and calls for a shift from the conventional perspective of dividing waters, to cooperative action on growing the pie and subsequent sharing of benefits.

With the world water community set to converge in Dakar in late May, expectations are high that the Fifth Africa Water Week will be a landmark event for catalyzing new actions to advance the water agenda in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Convened by the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) in conjunction with the African Union Commission (AUC), Africa Water Week represents political commitment at the highest levels with over 1,000 participants collectively seeking to create solutions to Africa’s water resources and sanitation challenges.

Open Quotes

Water’s centrality to development is no longer debatable. Close Quotes

Hon. Sarah Reng Ochekpe
AMCOW Interim President and Nigeria’s Minister for Water Resources

“Water’s centrality to development is no longer debatable – a fact that has been proven throughout history. And yet, water’s social, economic and environmental value is often overlooked … The Africa Water Week is therefore a call to action and positions us to creatively think and act and win,” said Hon. Sarah Reng Ochekpe, AMCOW Interim President and Nigeria’s Minister for Water Resources, during her welcome statement ahead of the May 26th conference opening.

Dakar’s Fifth Africa Water Week (dubbed aww-5) has ambitious plans to advance Africa’s core water agenda. It seeks to:

  • Place a spotlight on water and serve as a platform for improving understanding of why managing resources wisely is key for the post-2015 development framework
  • Focus on the  Africa Water Vision 2025 of “an Africa where there is an equitable and sustainable use and management of water resources for poverty alleviation, socio economic development, regional cooperation and environment” and the need to further advocate for a distinct water goal in the post 2015 development framework
  • Utilize technical sessions and a Sector/Stakeholder Forum in pursuit of achieving set objectives and actions.

The Cooperation in International Waters in Africa (CIWA) will participate in the Fifth Africa Water Week to highlight how joint management and development of shared water resources can boost sustainable, climate-resilient growth at national and regional levels. At Africa Water Week, CIWA will share and gather lessons learned on transboundary water cooperation and, in partnership with its stakeholders, will seek ways to strengthen its growing program in West Africa and the Sahel.