By: Augustine N. Myers from Dar es Salaam – The 6th Africa Water Week (AWW) has opened in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania with a focus on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on Water Security and Sanitation.
Africa Water Week is a biennial Meeting convened by the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) in collaboration with the African Union Commission and other development partners.
It is designed to discuss and collectively seek solutions to Africa’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Challenges.
The Conference, which is the first with the new SDGs, is taking place at the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere International Conference Centre in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Ahead of the official start of the Conference, over 80 CSO Representatives including the Media from across Africa congregated to set their positions on how to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals, and work together to establish action plans.
The CSOs during their Meeting on Saturday, July 16, 2016 developed messages and prepared strategies to reinforce their voice and advocacy as CSOs during the Africa Water Week (AWW).
The CSOs’ Forum was held under their umbrella Organization, “Africa Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW)” in partnership with WaterAid, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), End Water Poverty (EWP), and Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), among others.
The official opening of the 6th Africa Water Week kicked off on Monday, July 18, 2016 with AMCOW Executive Secretary, Bai-Mass Taal expressing optimism that the Conference will be exciting and stimulating-intellectually in the interest of WASH.
He described the Conference as an opportunity bringing together about 1000 participants from government, private sector, civil society including youth and women, the donor and development community to advance a platform of networking and exhibition.
The Host Minister of Water and Irrigation of Tanzania, Gerson Lwenge expressed the believe that effective and efficient management of water resources will lead to the provision of adequate and sustainable access to safe water and sanitation.
This he believes, makes critical contribution to Africa’s progress towards sustainable growth and development.
He said the theme of the Conference “Achieving the SDGs on Water Security and Sanitation” was chosen because Water Security and Sanitation is a crucial component for the development of all sectors.
Delivering the official opening Message, the Minister for Hydraulic and Sanitation of Senegal, and AMCOW President, Amedou Masour Faye said there is no doubt that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Water Security and Sanitation would require different approach from that of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
He noted that the post 2015 framework is more ambitious including the target for universal access to water and sanitation.
The AMCOW President said the 6th Africa Water Week is therefore a wake-up call for Africa to begin seriously designing strategies that require Africans going forward.
The Goodwill Statement came from former Kenyan President and now UNESCO Special Envoy for Water in Africa, Mwai Kibaki.
He described Africa Water Week as a formidable force with capacity to transform all areas of national economies both directly and indirectly.
He also said that water is a driver of economic progress thus its availability and sustainable management is crucial to human existence.
The Key Note Address was delivered by the Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, Kassim Majaliwa.
He pointed out that Africa Water Week offers an opportunity to promote partnership in the interest of water and sanitation for all.
He pledged the commitment of his government to remain supportive of issues that will ensure the delivery of water and sanitation services.
The desired and main outcome of the 6th Africa Water Week (AWW) is a roadmap for developing a Comprehensive Plan of Action for Africa aimed at immediate translation of the high-level commitments including N’gor Declaration on Water Security and Sanitation into implementation at country, sub-regional and continental levels.