Ramsar / UNEP workshop on Africa's wetland management strategy -- Report
|"Wetlands: water, life, and culture" |
8th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties
to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
Valencia, Spain, 18-26 November 2002
Developing further the Plan of Action to implement Africa's wetland management strategy under the Environmental Initiative of NEPAD
(New Partnership for Africa's Development)
Draft Plan of Action (Word)
A Workshop organized by
the Ramsar Convention Bureau and the
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
prior to Ramsar COP8
Valencia, Spain, 17 November 2002, from 10.00 - 18.00,
at the Ramsar COP8 venue: Museo de las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe
In the framework of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), there was an agreement among African Ministers to develop Africa-wide environmental action plans for selected thematic areas, including wetlands.
The challenge for Africa is to make the best use of all existing frameworks and emerging opportunities for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands and their resources through the adoption and implementation of a coherent action plan.
To this end, the Ramsar Convention is supporting UNEP's efforts to prepare such a continent-wide action plan as a contribution to Africa's sustainable development in general and poverty eradication in particular.
In this context, the Ramsar Bureau and UNEP jointly agreed to organize a special meeting on the Wetland Component of the NEPAD Action Plan, coinciding with the 8th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention (COP8) in Valencia, Spain, from 18-26 November 2002. The meeting was held on Sunday 17 November 2002 in the Science Museum Príncipe Felipe, the venue of Ramsar COP8. Simultaneous translation (English and French) was provided.
Approximately 70 people attended the meeting, including delegates from 32 African countries that are Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention and 6 countries that are close to accession. African delegates included professionals from the environment and water sectors.
|The organizers of the workshop wish to express their gratitude to the Swiss government for their fruitful support, including financial assistance for this meeting.|
Distinguished guests included: the Hon. Mr. Alibay Johnson, Minister of Water and Forests in Madagascar, His Excellency Mr. Gert Grober, South Africa's Ambassador to Spain, the Executive Secretary of the Niger Basin Authority, the Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape and various international organizations including three of Ramsar's International Organization Partners (IUCN-The World Conservation Union, Wetlands International and WWF International). There was one African NGO represented, the "Network for the Conservation of Wetlands in Central Africa". It was regrettable that funding could not be secured to support the attendance of more national NGOs.
One of the principle outcomes of this meeting was an agreement to draft a resolution establishing a more formal link between the NEPAD process and the implementation of the Ramsar Convention (annex 1). This resolution was later adopted by the 8th Ramsar Conference of the Parties.
Opening Statements and Presentations
The Chairman of the meeting, Mr. Anderson Koyo of Kenya Wildlife Service, gave brief opening remarks to welcome the delegates.
The attached agenda (annex 2) was adopted by the meeting without modification.
His Excellency, Mr. Gert Grober, the Ambassador of South Africa to Spain, opened the meeting. His speech highlighted recent developments in Africa including: the launch of the African Union, the development of NEPAD, issues relating to water allocation and management and regional vehicles for coordination. During the discussion Ambassador Grober also focussed the attention of participants on the purpose of the meeting, which was to discuss how to finalize the NEPAD strategy and action plan and forge links between the wetlands group and the other components of NEPAD.
The Chairman elaborated that the purpose of this meeting was to provide feedback on the documents that have been produced and to consider broad organizational issues pertaining to wetlands and NEPAD. The Chairman noted that a working group would be formed to take the agenda forward after the meeting.
Ms. Sheila Aggarwal-Khan, coordinator of the NEPAD Wetland component within UNEP, made a short statement on the draft wetlands strategy and action plan under NEPAD. She also clarified how the participatory approach would be applied through consultative arrangements that would bring together the outcomes of the 10 thematic building blocks of NEPAD.
Recognizing the unique role of wetlands in water supply, the essential goods and services provided by wetlands, and the relationship between wetlands and the livelihoods of the poor, Mr. Anada Tiéga, Regional Coordinator for Africa in the Ramsar Bureau, made two introductory presentations, highlighting:
· Relevant background information, including significant ongoing and planned activities
· challenges, growing concerns, economic issues, priority actions, and outreach
The second presentation discussed 12 priority issues in wetlands management. These issues are attached to this report in annex 3.
Main Themes Considered
The participants recommended that the wetland component of NEPAD build upon the past 20 years of effort in the wetland sector and not duplicate other initiatives. Working for consensus at the local, national and sub-regional levels is a prerequisite for the adoption and the achievement of a common vision for wetlands.
The group also noted that the inappropriate development of agriculture and water infrastructure is the greatest threat to wetlands. It is urgent, the group maintained, to bridge this gap. This NEPAD initiative therefore must collaborate with the development and agriculture components of NEPAD. Linking the wetlands and environment components with other NEPAD initiatives is of utmost importance. These components of the NEPAD strategy and action plan should convince African leaders that a healthy environment is critical to the success of NEPAD.
The Meeting also noted that NEPAD is new and in the early stages of development but must consider the sustainable and integrated growth of Africa in a holistic way.
1. Knowledge / Capacity-Building (inventories and valuations)
Wetland inventories are a priority. Until national inventories have been established, it is difficult to select and take long-term actions on wetland management initiatives. In this regard, economic valuation of the goods and services that wetlands provide will help us in convincing decision makers of the importance of wetlands. Environmental evaluations as well as inventories and GIS, are important tools in wetland management.
2. Links to Poverty Eradication
Poverty underlies most problems in the wetlands sector and if our efforts are to be successful, we must link our activities to poverty alleviation and find solutions to these root problems. To this end, wetland and water resource management must be integrated with national livelihood policies.
Agriculture is important to livelihoods, food security, and is one of the primary target activities in poverty reduction strategies. The NEPAD Wetland Strategy should promote livelihoods and food security through sound irrigation schemes, fisheries management, and range-land management including wetlands, protected areas, and agro-forestry in wetland ecosystems. Coordination and consultation among the relevant sectors and proper legal frameworks are crucial for success.
3. Ecosystem Management & Regional Cooperation
The participants noted that the first draft of the NEPAD Wetland Strategy and Action Plan did not capture some of the key issues of integrated river basin management and transboundary ecosystem management. Participants felt that transboundary wetlands must be highlighted as an urgent priority and that a number of the associated problems (e.g. eradication of alien species, management of coastal zones and technology transfer) require regional planning and action.
Participants therefore recommended that in developing the link between NEPAD and Ramsar, there is a need to expand integrated land and water use plans which would serve as the basis for national and regional cooperation. The group also cautioned that the development of land-use policies must be integrated with water resources management and countries should be encouraged to adopt uniform water quality standards at the national and sub-regional levels.
The meeting emphasized that inland waters and coastal areas should be managed together through integrated water resource management and integrated coastal zones management.
The group also noted the importance of the participation of local communities in the management of wetlands to realize the goals of the strategy.
The meeting noted that communication is a critical component of ecosystem and basin management approaches. Regional networks should be established and/or strengthened as a way of promoting communication. Some members noted that wetland managers should not wait for external support to establish such networks.
Communications messages that were highlighted by the group included: the importance of the precautionary principle in wetland management planning and that wilderness conservation is a legitimate land use in and of itself which can promote economic and social development.
The group cautioned that the lack of a shared vision and poor management of wetlands may lead to conflict and thus recommended that a common vision and common goals be established at the national level in all countries before being done at the sub-regional or international levels. It was also noted that partnerships must be established not only between Africa and other continents, but also within Africa, because water is extremely important and all sectors must collaborate at regional the level for its sustainable management.
Participants emphasized the need to involve all stakeholders in wetlands initiatives. However, they also recognized that institutional arrangements are different from country to country and so noted that there is a need to adopt different approaches to move from planning to action.
Participants noted that the Ramsar Convention is an excellent mechanism for planning and delivering the expected outputs of the NEPAD wetlands component. Recognizing the tight links between water management and ecosystem functioning as well as the vital relationships between the wise use of wetlands and poverty alleviation, food security and biodiversity, the group noted that the Ramsar mission, Strategic Plan 2003-2008 and operational tools are trustworthy instruments that can be used to achieve the core objectives of NEPAD.
Participants noted that funding is needed for a range of actions including inventory, assessment, monitoring of water resources, training, capacity-building, education and public awareness. Funding is also required for the preparation and implementation of wetland management plans for water supply, biodiversity conservation, agriculture, fisheries, range-lands, forestry and tourism development.
The meeting recognized the need to increase private sector involvement and support through incentives but noted that sometimes incentives are not enough and that disincentives are required in some cases.
The meeting recommended that countries explore all possibilities for funding from local level to national sources and international donors, including bilateral and multilateral agencies. The group noted that since the water and sanitation sectors received considerable support and pledges at WSSD, wetland managers should link their initiatives to these sectors as a way of financing wetlands management and water supply activities.
It was noted that NEPAD could help in finding financial partners for water-based projects. However, actions must be prioritized as all initiatives cannot be immediately funded. To this end, there is a need to know what kinds of proposals and initiatives exist already and these must then be coordinated in a cohesive and integrated approach so that when they are brought before the NEPAD secretariat for financing, they are clear and focused.
7. The Way Forward
It was recognized that NEPAD is an African initiative and that its wetland strategy and action plan should be driven by African governments in collaboration with NGOs and the private sector.
Participants supported the formation of a task force to advance the NEPAD Wetlands Strategy and Action Plan. It was noted that this task force should: maintain a regional balance (including Island States); involve River and Lake organizations; include organizations with a broader technical mandate and financing partners such as ICLARM, the Technical Advisory Committees of the Global Water Partnership, IWMI, GEF, and AfDB among others.
After considerable debate, the group agreed that the task force should include: 5 regional government representatives from Africa (north, west, eastern, southern and island states), 5 representatives from partner organizations, including: UNEP, Ramsar, IUCN, WWF, Wetland International; and 5 from other areas of expertise: e.g. AfDB, AMCEN Secretariat, AMCOW Secretariat, African Water Task Force and a River Basin Organization.
At the conclusion of the discussions, participants also agreed to form a core group to draft a resolution establishing a more formal link between the NEPAD process and the implementation of the Ramsar Convention (annex 1). This resolution (VIII-44 ) was later adopted by the 8th Ramsar Conference of the Parties.Finally the Chair and the meeting organizers expressed their appreciation for all the comments received, and mentioned that these would be taken on board in subsequent drafts of the NEPAD Action Plan and Strategy.
They insisted on the need to integrate wetlands with other sectors, including agriculture, tourism and the private sector. And they concluded by recapping the need to recognize and address the root causes of wetland loss so as to alleviate poverty and ensure a clean water supply and adequate sanitation.
Annex 1: NEPAD Resolution
Annex 2: Meeting Agenda
Annex 3: 12 Priority Issues for Wetlands Management
Annex 4: NEPAD Wetland Strategy and Action Plan
URGES Contracting Parties to provide support for the implementation of actions undertaken through the Environment Initiative of NEPAD;
URGES Contracting Parties in the African region to use NEPAD, AMCEN (African Ministerial Conference on Environment) and AMCOW (African Ministerial Conference on Water) to advance the objectives of the Convention, mindful of the need to adopt a multi-sectoral approach to the conservation and wise use of wetlands;
FURTHER URGES Contracting Parties to pay specific attention to the development and implementation of initiatives with transboundary elements, particularly where these refer to shared river and lake basins, shared wetlands, migratory species and technology transfer;
CALLS upon the NEPAD development partners to provide support to African Contracting Parties in the implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan, including communication, education and public awareness (CEPA), which is considered an important tool for realising the goals of the programme; and
DIRECTS the Ramsar Bureau to develop synergies between the implementation of the Convention and NEPAD in Africa.
Streamlining the draft Strategy and Action Plan
The meeting proposes to restructure the Strategy document so as to draw attention to its key components in the following manner:
Part one: Background information (a separate document)
Part two: the draft strategy and Action Plan
The following suggestion is a contribution intended to facilitate the work of the NEPAD focal group on Wetlands in the process of finalizing the Wetland Strategy and Action Plan. This contribution takes into account not only the report of the discussion from the NEPAD meeting in Valencia, but also the need to make a link between the NEPAD process and other ongoing processes, particularly implementation of the relevant decisions of the Ramsar COP8 on water, wetland restoration, mitigation of climate change impacts and invasive species. This suggestion takes also into account the need to make a link with other ongoing and planned actions by other international players such as the Africa component of the European Union Initiative on Water.
This Wetland Strategy and Action Plan is one of the 10 elements of the Environmental Initiative of the NEW Partnership for Africa's Development-NEPAD. The document is the result of a consultative process lead by UNEP on behalf of the African Union.
Bearing in mind that NEPAD has been launched by the Africa Heads of States to put the region on the track of sustainable development, the Wetland Component of the NEPAD Environmental Initiative is intended to clearly highlight the key issues and challenges and the strategic and operational tools that are needed to address the problems and enhance the contribution of wetlands in the economic and social development of Africa.
Recent assessments such as the Africa Environment Outlook developed by UNEP show that the conditions of natural habitats and fragile ecosystems had deteriorated, leading to the reduction of biodiversity. There were high levels of exploitation of resources such as freshwater, forests and coastal and marine resources that continued to be used at rates that exceeded their viable replenishment rate. The degradation of soils and natural or man-made environmental disasters as well as invasive species continued to pose serious problems in Africa. On the whole, environmental degradation compromised the prospects of combating poverty, economic growth and sustainable development in Africa. Measures aimed at boosting the region's economies and at eradicating poverty should therefore promote environmental sustainability.
NEPAD has decided to put in place and adopt an environmental initiative in order to face up to the environmental challenges of the region while fighting against poverty at the same time. The environmental action plan for the first decade of the twenty-first century had been established to respond to the call for such an initiative. The plan is being developed according to a consultative and participatory process under the aegis of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment-AMCEN, with the collaboration of the coordinator of the environment component of NEPAD.
The overall objectives of the Action Plan are to complement the ongoing African processes in order to improve environmental conditions in Africa so as to contribute to the realization of economic growth and poverty eradication, develop Africa's capacity to efficiently implement international and regional environmental agreements and to effectively face up to environmental challenges within the overall context of the implementation of NEPAD. The priority areas of intervention and activity programmes are the control of degradation of soils, drought and desertification, the conservation of wetlands in Africa, the prevention and control of invasive species, the conservation and sustainable use of coastal and marine resources, the fight against the negative impacts of climate change in Africa and the conservation and management of transboundary natural resources - freshwater, biodiversity, forests and plant genetic resources.
NEPAD will be successful only if it is owned by the African peoples united in their diversity, including national governmental institutions, voters, local communities, local business and suppliers of capital.
The Wetland component of the Environmental Initiative will be successful only if it is own by African governmental agencies and the African civil society.
The success of the Wetland Strategy depends heavily upon the overall success of NEPAD. In this regard there is a need to ensure that a minimum of ENABLING ENVIRONMENT is in place so as to set the rules; the Wetland Strategy will actually become part of the overall enabling environment as long as it feeds into the national planning process of each African country.
The INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK should define the interaction of the stakeholders.
The MANAGEMENT TOOLS should define the selected approaches and the priority management options for action, including appropriate infrastructure development, integrated water resource management options and specific projects to implement the management options and approaches.
The most challenging objective of the Plan of Action is to show the indispensable role of wetlands in the agenda of NEPAD
Actions should be taken in relation to the following internal factors:
a) Ensuring continued and growing political support to wetland and water issues, especially with regard to the contribution of natural systems in the efforts to provide clean water supply to the poor;
b) Establishing a multiple and effective communication approach that nurtures good working relationships between sectoral agencies responsible for water issues and environmental matters;
c) Improving the ability to collect, analyze and process information on wetland values and functions;
d) Developing and strengthening the ability to identify and address the root causes of wetland and watershed degradation;
e) Developing the ability to identify existing strengths and weaknesses and build on a more solid partnership between institutions;
f) Mobilizing relevant expertise and adequate funding at national level for wetland conservation and wise use; and
g) Establishing and strengthening effective partnerships between national institutions and local organizations to promote common goals through collective action;
Actions to be taken in relation to external factors include:
a) Mobilizing funding and expertise through international cooperation;
b) Assessing and mitigating climate change and predicting its impacts upon wetlands and people: droughts, flooding; and
Africa Wetland Vision
NEPAD has a number of water related goals that should be compatible in order to achieve an overall success. The Wetland Strategy and Action Plan should endeavor to complement the goals of the other NEPAD elements. For instance, the success of wetland conservation and wise use of wetlands should enable a good supply of clean water, facilitate sanitation and reduce poverty in the long run.
Thus the Meeting proposes the following vision:
"African countries and their people have healthy and productive wetlands and watersheds that
can support fundamental human needs (clean water, appropriate sanitation, food security, and
economic development) in a healthy and productive environment".
General Objectives of the Wetland Strategy and Action Plan
Contribute to the water objectives of NEPAD, i.e:
· To ensure sustainable access to safe and adequate clean water supply and sanitation, especially for the poor;
· To plan and manage wetlands and water resources to become a basis for national and regional co-operation and development;
· To systematically address and sustain ecosystems, bio-diversity and wildlife at basin scale;
· To cooperate on shared rivers, shared lakes and shared costal areas among member states;
· To effectively address the threat of climate change and mitigate the negative impacts of droughts and floods;
· To ensure enhanced sound irrigation and rain-fed agriculture to improve agricultural production and food security;
Specific objectives of the Strategy and Action Plan
· Formulation and implementation of innovative projects to make the best use of wetlands for economic and social long term development
· Use of wetland management to reduce poverty in close coordination with the NEPAD Poverty and Environment component
· Pollution control at basin scale with the involvement of cities and industries
· Protection of watersheds, including the hydrological regime of watercourses, soils and forests and other watershed constituents through institutional partnerships
· Conservation and sustainable use of wetland biodiversity
· Prevention, Control and or Eradication of wetland invasive species in close coordination with the NEPAD component on Invasive Species
· Contribution to the development and implementation of integrated costal zone management in close collaboration with the NEPAD working group on Costal and Marine component
· Develop and implement transboundary joint initiatives that enhance desertification control and mitigate the negative effects of droughts and climate change
Implementation arrangements of the Wetland Strategy and Action Plan
· Communication stratagem: to be elaborated by the Wetland Working Group
The communication strategy will be heavily dependent on the institutional framework.
The communication strategy should aim to ensure effective interaction between governmental institutions and the civil society within NEPAD.
It should also guarantee an effective interaction with relevant partners outside NEPAD so as to have a balancing success with regard to the development and the implementation of the other components of the NEPAD Environmental Initiative.
An effective communication strategy should include information and decision-making systems, awareness raising, capacity building, incentives, funding opportunities, the results of ongoing research and development of new initiatives.
· Fundraising plan: to be developed by the Wetland Working Group
The fundraising strategy is part of the enabling environment and it should be supported by the existing strategies and national priorities.
It is urgent to persuade each country that rivers, lakes, lagoons, aquifers and coastal areas are the major natural assets that support life in Africa.
The Wetland Strategy will be adequately financed and implemented only if these assets are perceived as important elements of the national priorities of African countries. The communication strategy should aim to accomplish this objective..
In developing a funding strategy for wetland management it is important to bear in mind the following ongoing and planned actions:
The African Water Facility (AWF) should be created in 2003 and be hosted by the African Development Bank. With the aim to mobilize investments for water in Africa. The AWF was launched the WSSD, on behalf of the Africa Water Task Force, Salim A Salim, Africa water Ambassador, in the presence of African water leaders representing the African Ministerial Conference on Water.
Its steering committee will work in relation with the African Water Task Force AWTF). There is a need for an annual investment level of US$20 billion per year for the development of water infrastructure, as articulated in the African Water Vision for 2025. However, an initial investment target of US$10 billion per year is suggested to meet urgent water needs.. Current investments are estimated to be 4.6 billion only. The AWF aims to contribute significantly to meeting this shortfall by increasing the rate of lending in the sector and by strategically using available finance to levering more funds from a variety of public and private sources.
The fundraising strategy should also take into account the Johannesburg Declaration, whereby some partners such as the European Union will set up a strategic partnership aimed at contributing to the plan of implementation of the WSSD. In this regard, the EU Water Initiative (EUWI) will need to establish a channel of communication with the plan of implementation of WSSD in order to report on progress and ensure that all activities are complementary to the WSSD.
According to the conclusions of a recent meeting of the EUWI, Brussels, Belgium, 3-4 December 2002," early consideration will have to be given to how to make a link between NEPAD and the EUWI. Initially this link will probably be through AMCOW. Depending on the nature and needs of the EUWI as it develops there may be a need to formalize direct links"
Other conclusions of the EU meeting are worth noting:
"There are many internationally agreed actions concerning the water and sanitation sector in the plan and this sector is considered one of the most promising starts in the attempt to integrate economic, social and environmental goals as well as reducing the gaps between the developing and developed world.
The plan will be implemented by the cooperating governments. The link between the implementation of the plan and the EUWI will primarily be in terms of making sure that all EU and Member State actions in water contribute to and follow the lines of the WSSD plan of implementation. A more direct communication link between the plan and the EUWI may be required in order to report on progress and ensure that all activities are complementary."
· Guiding principles
Seek and disseminate accurate and pertinent information that can help raise political awareness, build political support and generate political and public commitment on wetland issues.
Remember that in performing their hydrological functions, wetlands save a tremendous amount of money.
Consider integrated water resource management approaches that improve the role of wetland ecosystems as providers of goods and services to a wide range of stakeholders.
Build partnerships that inform and involve those people who are most affected by management decisions to ensure that environmental objectives are integrated with social and economic objectives upon which depend those people living in the watershed.
Select activities that are focused on feasible and realistic objectives.
Consider adoption of measures that clarify and promote the accountability of stakeholders.
Make a good combination of natural systems and infrastructures to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, especially paying attention to the role of wetlands, using appropriately their important filtering capabilities.
Pay particular attention to pollution from urban areas, from agriculture, and from industries.
Pay similar attention to dams and any important infrastructures that could destroy the hydrological values of wetlands and watersheds.
Use a participatory and negotiated approach to water allocation and to establishment of infrastructures
· Existing opportunities and promising initiatives lead by
· National institutions: government agencies, local communities and NGOs
· UN agencies
· International NGOs
· Bilateral funding systems
· Other multilateral agencies such as the European Initiative
· International Conventions
· Priority Program Areas
- where to start: scale and location of priority actions to be determined by the Wetland Working Group
Some suggested concrete actions
Scale of intervention
· Building Partnership: countries to develop and implement specific projects that enhance the role and responsibilities of selected municipalities, local communities and relevant local government institutions in the conservation and improvement of water quality with a focus on the water courses that provide drinking water
· Adequate Legislative Framework: countries to develop specific projects on legislative review that incorporates decentralized regulations, including by-laws at district level and the detection of traditional regulations that conserve wetland ecosystems
· Food Security: Countries to Identify and support and encourage irrigation plans that are compatible with fishery management and watershed conservation.
· Pollution Control: working with the agricultural community to develop projects on control water pollution from agriculture (rain-fed agriculture :cotton; local irrigation schemes
· Pollution Control: Countries to develop and implement specific projects on: control of water pollution from large cities and large industry operations to keep African wetlands safe for drinking water and aquatic life.
· Watershed management by national institutions: develop specific projects at basin scale that clarify and enhance the role and responsibilities of governmental agencies, municipalities, industries, other water users and users of wetland biodiversity such as fishermen.
· Wetland Invasive Species Prevention, Control and/or Eradication: Work jointly with the NEPAD Working Group on this Thematic Area to further develop the Aquatic Invasive Species Programme, the Targeted Awareness Programme on Invasives Species and the Isaland Invasive species programme
· Economic Valuation of Wetlands: Select priority River and lake basins and develop a basin wide programme for each of the major international freshwater systems in order to assess the economic values of the various goods and services provided by the functioning of the aquatic ecosystems with a focus on floodplains.
· Water Quality: develop projects to be implemented by Universities, wetland Centers and Fishery Institutes to establish and monitor Water Quality Standards especially for drinking water and aquatic life such as fish, mammals and birds that are part of the food security scheme
· Economic development: build up and extend tourism growth programmes that take into account the interactions and the complementarities between different water bodies supporting migratory species
Sub-regional International level
Wetland Working Group to develop and submit a specific project on capacity development:
Training on: Wetland Inventories (including wetland values and functions, threats to
wetlands and major uses): training sessions to be organized for each major basin
· Wetland and Water Management: for wetland mangers, including government institutions, NGOs and Community representatives
· Wetland and Water Policy development: for policy makers
- What to start with: priority area of work to be determined by the Wetland Working Group
It is important to take into account the priority actions that are developed under the NEPAD Infrastructure component, which include Water Development as follows:
· Identify promising initiative on wetland and water management and reinforce existing programmes and projects on multipurpose water resource management and wetland conservation; for example the SADC Water programme, the utilization of the Congo River, the Nile Basin Initiative; the lake Chad Basin Master Plan and planned projects, the Okavango Basin Integrated Management Plan, the Lake Victoria projects, the Niger Basin projects, the Senegal basin projects, the Lake Malawi/Niassa/Nyasa projects
· Adopt programmes and projects for the effective management of Sahelian wetlands as a way to cope with droughts and desertification .
· Take strong action at national level and basin wide to avoid the problems of pollution
· Reinforce wetland training centers, and adopt education and capacity building programs on wetland management, including inland waters and costal areas.
· Support subregional networks and organizations working on wetlands
· Establish an ad hoc working group to make plans for mitigating the negative impact of climate change and controlling floods in Africa
· Initiate and reinforce collective action by cities and industries on wastes water disposals
and support the UN Habitat programme on Water Conservation in African Cities
· Collaborate with the Global Environmental Sanitation Initiative (GESI) in promoting sanitary waste disposal methods and projects;
- Provisional timetable: to be prepared by the Wetland Working Group
- Building and reinforcing partnership: definition of role and responsibilities to be shared among major partners: to be proposed by the Wetland Working Group
The institutional framework should clarify the role and responsibilities all relevant stakeholders from
o the civil society (communities, NGO's and the private sector)
o the international partners
In this regard, it is essential to insure that the relevant bodies of NEPAD are fully engaged in the development and implementation of the Wetland Strategy
At least the following NEPAD bodies should be fully involved, taking into account their respective mandates:
a) the African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW) which held its inaugural meting of in Abuja, Nigeria 29-30 April 2002 is part of the NEPAD initiative. The AMCOW objectives are:
· Strengthen intergovernmental co-operation in order to halt and reverse the water crisis and sanitation problems in Africa;
· Monitor progress in the implementation of major regional and global water resources and water supply and sanitation initiatives;
· Review progress in the implementation of the commitments set forth in key international arrangements for the provision of financial resources and technology transfer in support of water sector reforms in Africa;
· Receive and analyze, on a regular basis, reports or information, on the adequacy of financial and technological investments in the water and sanitation sector in Africa;
· Consider information provided by African Ministers responsible for Water, for example during the regular sessions of AMCOW, regarding best practices in policy reforms in the water and sanitation sector at the country level;
· Enhance and solidify intergovernmental and regional co-operation in the management of shared waters, including surface and ground water;
· Consider, where appropriate, information regarding progress made or needed in the implementation of intergovernmental agreements on surface and ground water resources;
· Assess and where appropriate adopt best practices in global and regional programmes dealing with water and sanitation;
· Engage in dialogue and consultations with regional economic groupings and with regional and global financial institutions on issues relevant to the water and sanitation sector in Africa;
· Encourage stronger and better performing institutional arrangements for the water sector;
· Strengthen the monitoring and assessment of available water resources;
· Ensure sustainable water and sanitation infrastructure development and services delivery and the transfer of water to drought-prone areas for the poor majority in the region;
· Promote policies for the appropriate allocation of water for domestic use and food security and other competing demands;
· Support regional intergovernmental dialogue on the implementation of Chapter 18 (Freshwater) of Agenda 21 for the purpose of recommending measures needed to strengthen implementation.
The steering committee of AMCOW has named Salim.A .Salim as the Water Ambassador for Africa.
b) The African Water Task Force (AWTF) was launched in September 2001, under the guidance of the African Development Bank as a result of a meeting of representatives from more than 20 regional and international organizations working with water in Africa.,
Responding to the urgent need for action, it was decided to establish the AWTF to help define and synthesize Africa positions and programs for the two important international events; the World Summit on Sustainable Development and Third World Water Forum. Albert Wright, from Ghana was appointed the chairman of the AWTF.
The first step was decided to be a Stakeholders Conference (April 2002). The primary outcome of the Conference was the Accra Declaration that identified challenges and water issues in Africa, and put forward recommendations for action plans to address these challenges. The African Water Task Force also aims to increase access of Africa to available financial resources, improve efficiency of use, and stimulate cooperation.