The African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) has created a water, sanitation action plan to improve living conditions.

Member States Endorse AMCOW Water, Sanitation Action Plan

The African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) has gathered for its 13th Ordinary Session of the Executive Committee (EXCO) as a result of the realities of exposure to unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation, and poor hygiene in the continent.

After the meeting, the council emerged with a 17-point action plan upon which the hopes of better living conditions for urban dwellers could be assuaged.

The ministers, including Nigeria’s Water Resources minister, Suleiman Adamu, met in Windhoek, Namibia for two days and agreed to strengthen the ability to reduce the disease burden and mortality rates associated with failures in sanitation and hygiene services provision; invest in water to create greater resilience to climate, health, and food system shocks, as well as improve the management of water-related disaster risks.

They approved a three-year work programme (2022-2024) and the corresponding budget amounting to $20,057,532. While commending the Nigerian government for its support, through the Ministry of Water Resources, towards the Secretariat’s running, called on member states that are in arrears to settle their obligations, which currently stand at $5,436,174.

The ministers also encouraged member states to promote cooperation on transboundary water resources management, and make groundwater management a priority in AMCOW work programmes.

Earlier, AMCOW President, Carl Hermann Gustav Schlettwe, highlighted the challenges of cyclones, droughts, and floods in some countries and further called for collaborative efforts to boost responsiveness, preparedness, adaptation, and resilience.

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He stressed that the economic value of water is irreplaceable and that no socioeconomic development is possible without water, therefore, called for the appropriate placement of water at the top of Africa’s development agendas.

Adamu noted the potential of sanitation to boost economic growth by delivering business solutions for the toilet-water-energy-food nexus. While explaining the societal benefits of innovative toilet models, products, and services; reusable water and nutrients; data and information, he called for the adoption of sanitation as a business and created an enabling environment for the private sector and investors to thrive.

Specifically, they urged member states to utilise the African Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPGs) to strengthen their sanitation and hygiene policy frameworks, as well as, take up the opportunity to improve the policy environment outlook for safely managed sanitation and strengthen the related delivery systems.

The minister acknowledged the renewal of the partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation towards accelerating access to safely managed sanitation in Africa and its investment of $3.5m to support the implementation of the ASPGs in sub-programme.

They further endorsed the Dakar Declaration, ‘A Blue Deal for Water Security and Sanitation for Peace and Development’, as embodying Africa’s common position and key messages to COP27, which calls on the international community to achieve fundamental goals.

Their efforts include a guarantee of the right to water and sanitation for all, guaranteeing the availability of resources and resilience, ensuring adequate funding, and ensuring inclusive water governance and strengthening of cooperation.

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