By: Augustine N. Myers, from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – The 6th Africa Water Week has ended in the Dar es Salaam, capital of the United Republic of Tanzania.
The Conference was the first under the new Global Sustainable Development Goals under the theme: “Achieving the SDGs on Water Security and Sanitation”.
The 5-day Event from July 18-22 2016 was held under the auspices of the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW).
It was driven by the recognition of the importance of achieving Global Goal six in Africa, as well as other interlinking goals connected with water resources management and improved delivery of sanitation services.
A Roadmap was adopted aimed at achieving sustainable and universal access to safe water and sanitation across Africa.
It was adopted by about 30 African Water Ministers and other high level delegations from 53 African countries.
The “Dar es Salaam Roadmap for achieving the N’gor Commitments on Water Security and Sanitation in Africa” was read and adopted at the final Day of the 10th AMCOW General Assembly and the 6th Africa Water Week in Tanzania.
The Roadmap among other things, seeks to address the underlying causes of inequality in access to water and sanitation.
It also seeks to ensure economic benefits for the poorest and most marginalized.
It is hoped that the Roadmap will ensure concrete measures are taken to strengthen institutions and remove bureaucratic bottlenecks especially at the local levels.
The Conference also looked at Africa’s water resources including provision of drinking water, improved sanitation, hygiene and effective and efficient management of wastewater.
It also looked at Africa’s trans-boundary water resources, and strengthening of the continent‘s capacity to respond to climate change as well.
The 6th Africa Water Week also witnessed a new Leadership of Gerson Lwenge, Minister of Water and Irrigation of Tanzania taking over as AMCOW‘s President. He replaces his Senegalese counterpart, Amadou Mansour Faye who served from 2014 to 2016.
Dr. Canisius Kanangire of Rwanda also took over as the new AMCOW’s Executive Secretary, succeeding Mr. Bai Mass Taal, from Senegal who leaves AMCOW after eight years of service.
The new President expressed delight at AMCOW‘s rotational mechanism, which led to his emergence, and he urged his colleagues to roll up their sleeves for the onerous but achievable task of ensuring the realization of the SDG-6 in Africa.
To serve alongside the new AMCOW’s President are Water Resources Ministers from Central African Republic, South Sudan, Egypt, Swaziland and Liberia who were elected AMCOW’s Vice Presidents.
Meanwhile, the 6th Africa Water Week ended with participants witnessing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between WaterAid and the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW).
WaterAid Regional Advocacy Manager, Apollos Nwafor told the WASH Media Network of Liberia following the signing ceremony that the MOU is to ensure stronger support and to influence decisions of AMCOW and by extension the African Union.
He noted that WaterAid wants to continue to amplify the voices of the poorest and excluded in decision making processes, ensuring that they are getting the politics of policy making rights and at the end of the day, everyone…everywhere has access to safe WASH services.
Mr. Nwafor described the 6th Africa Water Week the 10th General Assembly of AMCOW as successful and commended WASH Partners for continuous efforts ensuring that all have access to safe water and improved sanitation & hygiene services by 2030.
Africa Water Week reflected on the continent‘s quest to emphasize the matching of commitments and plans with concrete actions to have impact.
The next Africa Water Week will be held in Gabon, West Coast of Central Africa in 2018.