5th World Water Forum, Istanbul–Turkey, 16–22 March 2009-AfDB Leads Africa’s Regional Participation

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A high level delegation from the African Development Bank led by the Vice President Mr. Mandla S.V. Gantsho will be taking part in the 5th World Water Forum which begins holding from Monday March 16th to Sunday march 22nd 2009 in Istanbul, Turkey. Following the successful organization of the 4th World Water Forum process, the African Development Bank received a mandate from the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), the World Water Council and the 5th World Water Forum Secretariat to organize and lead Africa’s regional participation.

“Bridging divides to achieve Africa’s water vision”, it is on this pathway that Africa goes to the 5th World Water Forum which takes place in Istanbul, Turkey (March 16 – 22, 2009) under the overarching theme: “Bridging Divides for Water”. The Forum serves as a platform for dialogue on global water problems and forges collaboration in seeking sustainable solutions.

Five components constitute  the main activities of the Forum: the Regional Process; the Political Process; the Thematic Process involving discussion on 6 major themes and 25 sub themes relating to water security and sanitation in 100 sessions; Fairs; and Youth and Children’s activities. The Bank will actively participate in all of these activities.

The AfDB mobilized resources for effective regional representation and supported various processes for high level engagements of political leadership in Africa amongst others. As part of the preparation for Africa’s regional participation, the African Development Bank organized a series of consultation workshops to elaborate an African Regional Paper. The consultation workshops received input from African water and sanitation actors.

The first of these workshops took place in Lusaka, Zambia (Dec. 10 – 13, 2008) for the SADC countries and the second in Accra, Ghana (Jan. 12 – 14, 2009) for East, West, Central and North Africa. Consultation with AMCOW’s Technical Advisory Committee and the Executive was held in Addis Ababa in October 2008. Regional Coordination and Steering Committee meetings took place in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire in February 2009 to approve the Regional Paper before its submission to the secretariat of the 5th World Water Forum.

The African Development Bank’s participation in previous forums has been in two perspectives: firstly, it has taken the lead as an institution that is dedicated to supporting the development of water resources infrastructure, policies and programmes, and secondly, as a partner of AMCOW, taking charge of regional preparations towards participation in the forums.  

In both instances, the Bank has learned a lot and shared its own experiences in the sector, and has provided AMCOW with the professional leadership that is so needed in making the case of 53 countries with one voice in one event.  The Bank’s Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) and the African Water Facility, which is AMCOW’s brainchild, among others, are some of the achievements. The forum creates a useful platform for narrating the successes and challenges, and for asking for more support for the initiatives.   

The Bank’s expectation from the 5th World Water Forum is supported by Africa’s water vision. ‘Bridging the divide’ for Africa means the attainment of its shared water vision: “An Africa where there is an equitable and sustainable use and management of water resources for poverty alleviation, socio-economic development, regional cooperation, and the environment” (Africa Water Vision 2025).