AfDB celebrates World Water Day - Water and Employment: What future?

21/03/2016
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The African Development (AfDB) attaches considerable importance to the water and employment sectors – which are also parts of its five operational priorities, the High Fives – and is supporting the Ivorian Government in celebrating the 2016 edition of the World Water Day, on March 22, 2016. The theme this year is “Water and Jobs”. Industry experts, scientists, development partners and representatives of the civil society will discuss how water can contribute to create jobs and wealth.

World Water Day falls within a broader National Water Week organized by Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Forestry and which takes place from March 22-24. These two complementary events represent an additional opportunity to celebrate water and reflect on its linkages with employment.

The 2016 edition of World Water Day intends to recall that millions of people working in the water sector are often not recognized or protected by basic labour rights. Today, almost half of the world's workers – 1.5 billion people – work in water-related sectors and nearly all jobs depend on water and those that ensure its safe delivery. The 2016 theme of “Water and jobs” is focusing on how the quantity and quality of water can change workers’ lives and livelihoods – and even transform societies and economies.

Various activities are planned: scientific lectures, an open house in a vocational training centre for water-related jobs, a visit to water basins polluted by human activities, alongside the screening of a film on the integrated management of Gourou watershed in Côte d’Ivoire, a project supported by the African Development Bank. A rapid and uncontrolled urbanization and poor solid waste management, among others, transformed Ebrie lagoon into an unhealthy and stagnant body of water, with recurrent flooding in the surrounding neighbourhoods in Greater Abidjan.

The World Water Day and National Water Week events will help attract public attention to the water sector, a key factor of socio-economic development, with a view to promoting dialogue between stakeholders, alerting decision-makers to the need for sustainable water resources management, raising awareness among local populations on good practices for sustainable use, and preventing water-related conflicts. The Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approach, a key asset to sustainable management, will be widely discussed as the solution of the future. The Ivorian Government will seize the opportunity to take stock of the implementation of IWRM process in the country.

Some 200 participants are expected for this event organized by the Ministry of Water and Forests of Côte d'Ivoire, in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB), the National Water Partnership of Ivory Coast (PNE-Cl) and the African Water Association (EAA).