The African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) joins the African Member States and the International Community in commemorating the 2015 World Water Day with this year’s main theme: “Water and Sustainable Development”.
World Water Day, on 22 March every year, is a United Nations day to draw attention on issues around Water and this year’s commemoration is very significant at it provides the rest of the world with an opportunity to look back at what has been achieved for the water and sanitation targets under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is also the perfect moment to look at how water and sanitation should be positioned in the next generation of Sustainable Development Goals within the post 2015 period.
In Africa, Ministers responsible for Water and Sanitation called the rest of the World to ensure that a dedicated goal on Water Security and Sanitation is included in the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals. As the negations for the Post 2015 Development framework has entered the final phase of political negotiation, AMCOW would like to remind member states and the rest of the world that the Post 2015 Development Agenda will not be achieved without sufficient attention given to Water. Water’s centrality to development is well documented and is not up for debate – it is a fact that has been proven throughout history. But it rather sad to note that water’s social, economic and environmental value, is often overlooked by people across different divide of life.
In this regard, AMCOW welcomes the report of the UN Open Working Group (OWG) which proposes a clear goal (Goal 6) Dedicated to Water Security and Sanitation with ambitious targets for 2030. This is in line with the 5th Africa Water Week Dakar Ministerial Declaration. It is also pleasing to note that the OWG is committed to tackling the unfinished business of the MDGs as a first priority, while balancing social, economic and environmental concerns and taking account of the specific needs and priorities of individual countries and regions.
The transition from MDGs to SDGs should also reflect a step change in the way of doing business for the water and sanitation sector. Africa cannot afford to keep water and sanitation under-developed in this modern time and age. Lack of water development and sanitation has massive and costly impact on human and economic development Africa. Africa loses 5% of its GDP due to poor coverage of water and sanitation, 2% to power outages, between 5 - 25% to droughts and floods in affected countries, and perhaps a further 5% to the future impacts of climate change. Only 7% of Africa’s hydropower has been developed and there is a growing gap in electrification. This is rather unacceptable. The World Water Day 2015 therefore serves as a day to remind everyone to do things differently.
As we commemorate the world water day 2015, we look forward to continued close collaboration with member states, UN agencies and other stakeholders to further refine the Post 2015 targets and agree on definitions and indicators to be used to monitor progress at national and international levels.
We are glad to that the UN Secretary General in his Synthesis Report of December 2014 titled “Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet” has called for a rigorous and participatory review and monitoring framework to hold governments, businesses, and international organizations accountable to the people for results, and to ensure that no harm is done to the planet. The Report also recognised the need for data revolution to make information and data more available, more accessible, and more broadly disaggregated, as well as for measurable goals and targets, and a participatory mechanism to review implementation at the national, regional, and global levels.
We are glad that in Africa, we are already implementing a Pan Africa Project aimed at the establishment and consolidation of monitoring and reporting for water and sanitation in Africa. In line with this, we would like to urge monitoring and reporting process at Global and other levels to ensure alignment and linkages with the Pan Africa Monitoring and Reporting System to avoid unnecessary duplication and unnecessary placing monitoring burden on member states.
Bai Mass Taal