Dakar, Sénégal, 4-8 December 2012 – The World Water Council has continued its advocacy campaign for better access to water and sanitation on a local level at the Africités Summit, in Dakar, Senegal.
The Council met with African local authority leaders, including Mayor of Ouagadougou (Burkina-Faso), Simon Compaoré, Mayor of Chefchaouen (Morocco), Mohamed Sefiani, and Mayor of Tetouan (Morocco), Mohamed Idaomar, all of whom are signatories of the Istanbul Water Consensus, in order to evaluate the progress which has been made and identify specific issues encountered by local African governments. Adapted propositions were made to help improve relations with State authorities and access to finance and technologies. As a member of the World Water Council, the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering, based in Ouagadougou, Burkina-Faso, participated in the meeting and presented solutions implemented to meet local needs for water and sanitation.
This effort to mobilise local authorities was followed by a presentation of the Istanbul Water Consensus in a session organised by the Ivory Coast delegation, which gathered over 70 mayors, and focused on decentralised cooperation. Speakers, such as Mayor of Grenoble (France), Michel Destot, Vice-President of AMF (French Mayors’ association), Nicole Feidt, and former French Minister of cooperation, Charles Josselin, renewed the need for African local governments to be supported to improve local public services delivery. The World Water Council is committed to support African local authorities to improve access to water and sanitation, and more specifically on a continent where recent decentralisation policies have granted management skills without financial means to local authorities.
5,000 participants took part in the 6th edition of the Africité Summit - including 2,500 local councillors from Africa and 500 from other continents - attending what is considered to be the first gathering in Africa on local authorities.
Access to water and sanitation: a priority for African local authorities
Doha, Qatar, 4 December 2012 – “We must have a Sustainable Development Goal on climate adaptive water resources management strategies,” said the World Water Council President Benedito Braga today. It was during the high-level side event - Sustainable Solutions for Climate Action Food Security in Dry Lands under a Changing Climate - at the COP-18 that the President gave a speech to the distinguished audience including the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban-Ki moon, the President of COP-18, H.E. Mr Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, the Chairman of Qatar National Food Security Programme H.E. Mr Fahad Bin Mohammed Al-Attiya, and the Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, Ms. Christiana Figueres.
At the event, President Braga evoked the WWC’s proposal for creating a Pact for Water Security. Due to climate variability and change, implementation of this Pact, launched at UN Headquarters in New York last month, will require consideration of more resilient hydraulic infrastructure and more efficient water management systems. This will necessitate adaptive water management, including management tools both on the supply and the demand side. For example, the Platform of Solutions presented at the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille, proposes a range of solutions related to adaptation of water management for food security including the case of dry lands. He said that the Council will work with interested governments and organisations towards their implementation.
Giving his closing remarks, President Braga recommended that the “climate negotiators turn their attention to water issues not only for the reason that water connects climate change to all the natural and social cycles, but also for the simple reason to bring fresh impetus to the current climate talks. […] people do not care about abstract legal arguments advocated in sophisticated intergovernmental talks; however, they do care a lot about the water security of their family,” he said.
President Braga thereafter participated in a panel with Ms Kyte from the World Bank, Mr Steiner from UNEP, Mr Jarraud from WMO, Ms Izabella Teixeira, Minister of Environment, Brazil, Ms Molewa, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Republic of South Africa and Mr Keke, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Nauru. The participants shared their experience, highlighted best practices and identified further needs for implementation of climate action within the framework of sustainable development.