Africa calls for an International High-Level Panel on Water

More than 400 million Africans are without access to potable water, and over 700 million are without access to adequate sanitation.

Africa’s water sector leaders have called for the establishment of an International High-Level Panel on Water for Africa, to accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 of clean water and sanitation for all.

The leaders were speaking at the Africa Regional Forum-Water Dialogue for Results, convened virtually on 26 May, bringing expertise from governments and civil society organizations with the goal of accelerating action on SDG 6 implementation in the continent.

The forum was convened by the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), and the Governments of Germany, South Africa and Senegal, and supported by Global Water Partnership (GWP) Africa.

“The forum’s purpose is to identify African water priorities, which will inform the UN Conference on the Mid-Term Review of the International Decade for Action ‘Water for Sustainable Development ’ 2018-2028,” said Mr. Thomas Banda, Acting Executive Secretary at AMCOW, adding that AMCOW has developed a web-based Pan-African Water and Sanitation Sector Monitoring and Reporting System (WASSMO).

”We call on all Member States and stakeholders to support AMCOW in the implementation and use of the system for regular reporting on the status of the continent’s water and sanitation status to the African Union Commission.

The WASSMO allows all African countries to manage, document and monitor their national reporting processes in a user-friendly manner; it also participates in transparency, documentation, and agility concerning monitoring in the water sector in Africa.

More than 400 million Africans are without access to potable water, and over 700 million are without access to adequate sanitation” he added.

“We have only nine years left to meet the goal of clean water and sanitation for all, as required by SDG 6, but we are off-track and may not meet our target under current global efforts unless we accelerate action on SDG 6”, H.E. Mr. Stephan Röken, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Republic of Senegal, Republic of the Gambia and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau said.

“The 2023 UN MidTerm Review is a unique platform on which we can turn around implementation challenges,” he added.

In her presentation, Ms. Nchedi Maphokga-Moripe, the Chief Director, Global Cooperation and Strategic Partnerships in the South African Department of Water and Sanitation said “we would like to call upon the international community to support the Continental Africa Water Investment Programme (AIP) as an African home-grown initiative to accelerate progress on the SDGs.”

Africa Union Heads of State adopted the progressive AIP in February 2021, as part of the second phase of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa 2021 to 2030. The goal of AIP is to transform and improve the investment outlook for water security and sustainable sanitation.

By 2030, AIP aims to leverage USD30 2 billion in water investments in Africa and create 5 million jobs for youth, women, and vulnerable communities in line with the Africa Water Vision 2025.

The AIP is coordinated by AUDA-NEPAD under the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa, with Technical Support Unit hosted by GWP Africa.

At the end of the forum, participants issued a Call to Action In addition to the need for a High-Level Panel on Water for Africa, the forum identified the following priorities for achieving SDG 6 on the continent, which was formalised in a Call to Action:

1. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene prioritised at the highest political level by Heads of States and Governments of the African continent.

2. The Commitment of human and financial resources and investment to accelerate action towards the implementation of SDG 6.

3. Prioritise gender transformative climate-resilient water investments with a focus on groundwater as part of Covid-19 economic recovery plans and international support programmes for Africa.

4. African Union Heads of State and Governments and Member States to support the implementation of the AMCOW Strategy 2018 – 2030, the Africa Water Vision 2025 and the Continental Africa Water Investment Programme.

5. Support the strengthening of AMCOW’s Pan African Water and Sanitation Sector Monitoring System (WASSMO) for reporting on the status of Africa on Water and Sanitation.

6. Development Partners and Donors to commit to providing technical and longterm financial commitments for SDG 6 implementation and sustainability of outcomes.

7. Civil Society Organizations to provide the needed capacity and technical assistance to the Member States to accelerate action on SDG 6 implementation.

8. Private Sector and research institutions to invest in research towards SDG 6 implementation.

9. Civil Society Organizations to work in a coordinated manner to provide the needed capacity and technical assistants to Member States to accelerate action on SDG 6 implementation.

The full Call to Action, issued by AMCOW, Governments of South Africa, Senegal, and stakeholders of the Africa Regional Forum-Water Dialogue for Results is here.

African priorities identified in the Call to Action, along with priorities from other world regions, will inform the International Water Dialogue, to take place in Bonn, Germany on 1 July 2021.

The 9th World Water Forum, which will take place 22-27 March 2022, in Dakar, Senegal will build on the actions of the International Water Dialogue.

The UN Conference on the Mid-Term Review of the International Decade for Action ‘Water for Sustainable Development’ 2018-2028 is set to take place in March 2023 in New York.

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