African states for water resources management forum

The forum will comprise experts from 15 countries and is intendec to contribute to the definition of a long-term African vision for water for the year 2025.

The forum was formed at the Africa Water Resources Management Policy Conference in Nairobi at the end of May.

At the conference, Ministers and officials met in plenary sessions to discuss national water resource policy reforms. They recognised the need for adequate strategies to deal with the prevailing problems of water scarcity and equitable distribution, water pollution, watershed degradation, water weeds and hyacinth control as well as the environmental aspects of water management.

The issue of transboundary water resources management was also discussed. In parallel sessions, discussions were held on economics and financing; regulation: statutory and customary water law; institutions; and emerging and innovative arrangements for water resources management and sustainable use.

The World Bank agreed to identify and support, on a short term basis, an African Water Resources Consultant who will serve as a temporary secretariat to the task force of the Forum. The goal of the secretariat is to facilitate sharing of knowledge on selected areas of water resources management.

According to UNEP, water policy reform and implementation is gaining momentum across Africa, thus reflecting the increasing awareness of the need for management and sustainable use of these resources. The important role of civil society in the process was duly identified as well as the difficult question of water pricing and cost recovery, environmental management and tradeoffs and issues specific to Africa such as the importance of customary law and practice.

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