Wednesday, May 15, 2013

West African Countries Urged To Mitigate Climate Change Negative Impacts

Arba Diallo
Source: Francis Tandoh

A top official of the Global Water Partnership West Africa (GWP/WA) Tuesday urged countries within the sub-region to cooperate in the management of water resources to mitigate the negative impact of climate change.

Hama ARBA DIALLO, Chair of the GWP/WA, made this known to Water and Sanitation Times in an interview on the sidelines of the official opening of the Fifth Assembly of Partners of GWP/WA.

It was under theme “Water Cooperation in West Africa: Meeting the Challenges of Commitment.”

ARBA DIALLO observed that most of the rivers found in the West African sub-region were shared ones and that it was important member-countries came together to find ways to collaborate to effectively manage the resource to benefit their people.

“There is the need to strengthen the partnership so that each country gets its share of the natural resource,” he said.

The GWP/WA Chair emphasized climate change had brought in its wake several disadvantages to Sub-Saharan Africa and that it was important for these countries to devise mechanisms to overturn the situation.

He said: “West Africa is more than concerned by the major challenges encountered in the management of water resources. Our region is one of the poorest with weak governance structures and poorly designed infrastructures.

“No single country can get through the major challenges. We have to come together and the West African countries have well understood that.”

ARBA DIALLO noted the various state institutions set up to manage water resources in the West African countries were doing their best but insisted: “More needs to be done in terms of provision of infrastructure for the utilization of water resources.”

He called on the governments and international community to continue to make investments in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector.

“These investments are necessary; these investments have to continue not only to provide water for drinking and agriculture but for industry as well,” he remarked.

The economies of countries in the sub-region are largely agrarian-based and ARBA DIALLO appealed to stakeholders to work hard to reduce the impact of climate change on farmers.

Chair for GWP Ghana, J.K.M.  Anyanful called on state institutions responsible for the management of water resources to use funds devoted to their outfit judiciously in order to derive maximum benefits from their activities.

He further appealed to insurance companies and financial institutions to mobilize resources to assist the government to implement its programs and policies on the management of water resources.

The year 2013 has been declared as the International Year of Water Cooperation by the United Nations General Assembly, which also designated 2005-2015 as the “International Decade for Action, “Water for Life.”

The UN, in a resolution, stated that it remained concerned by the slow and uneven progress in achieving the goal of halving the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.”

The GWP is an international network formed in 1996 to foster the implementation of integrated water resources management (IWRM) through coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources to maximize economic, social and welfare without compromising the sustainability of ecosystems and the environment.

GWP West Africa since its start in the sub-region in 1999 has been working alongside relevant organizations to promote the idea of collaboration and cooperation around water resources management as a means of reducing poverty and giving hope to its peoples.

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