AfDB Hosts UN Advisory Board’s dialogue with stakeholders
Tunis, 15 December 2006 – The first dialogue session between the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) and African stakeholders has ended in Tunis with the signing of a joint action statement between UNSGAB and the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group. The objective of the dialogue was to formulate a framework of collaboration between the UNSGAB and key African organizations in support of the ongoing African water initiatives and programmes, including preparations for the 2008 International Year of Sanitation. The main outcome of the dialogue was the design of specific joint actions to be undertaken by UNSGAB and the African organizations to achieve a breakthrough toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on water and sanitation in Africa.
The opening session of the meeting was co-chaired by the Prince Willem-Alexander of Orange, Mrs. Maria Mutagamba, President of the African Ministers’ Council On Water (AMCOW) and Minister of Water and Environment of Uganda, and AfDB President Donald Kaberuka. The Prince of Orange was appointed Chairperson of the UNSGAB on December 12th, 2006, following the passing away of Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto, former Prime Minister of Japan, on July 1st, 2006.
President Kaberuka told the gathering that the Bank’s focus on water and sanitation issues was one of the key elements of poverty reduction on the continent. The Prince of Orange, speaking on the behalf of the UNSGAB, declared that: "Our message is a simple one: no more new ideas and policies. We better implement the ones we already have. It’s time for action!" The Prince signed the joint action statement on Friday on behalf of the UNSFAB while AfDB Vice President for Infrastructure and Regional Integration, Mr. Mandla Gantsho, signed for the Bank.
The UNSGAB was also represented by its 15 Board members and invited observers, including the World Bank, the European Union (EU), UN-Water Africa, UNDP, and Global Water Partnership. The Secretariat of the UNSGAB co-organized with the AfDB and participated in the Dialogue. The African side led by Mrs. Mutagamba, included AMCOW Executive Committee Member Ministers and the AMCOW Technical Advisory Committee members representing the five african subregions (Northern, Southern, Central, Eastern and Western sub-regions). The AfDB was represented at Senior Management level. Other regional participants included representatives of the African Union, UN Economic Commission for Africa, NEPAD, ,Southern Africa Development Cooperation (SADC), Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), MAGHREB Union, The African Network of Basin Organisations (ANBO), Africa Water Utility Association, African City Mayors Association and Africa Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW).
The UNSGAB released "The Compendium of Actions" also known as the Hashimoto Action Plan that outlines a global work plan to help ensure the attainment of the MDG for water and sanitation. The participants discussed the common objectives of the African Ministers’Council on Water (AMCOW) Issues Note, presenting the situation of the water sector activities and programmes in Africa, and The Hashimoto Action Plan.
The participants expressed their commitment to implement the following agreed joint actions:
i) Focus International and African Head of Government attention on African Water challenges by
- Sensitizing the African Union Summit of Heads of States on Water & Sanitation in 2008 to accelerate achievement of the MDGs.
- AfDB will also convene African Finance Ministers special meetings on priority and promotion of financing water and sanitation sectors with the support of UNSGAB and AMCOW.
- Improving collaboration to promote G8 water discussion in 2008
ii) Mobilize Financial Resources
- UNSGAB will support the AMCOW Trust Fund, the AfDB’s Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative, the African Water Facility and the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa and facilitate access to EU Water Facility and Water for African Cities Programmes
- UNSGAB will endorse the efforts of African Governments to develop water infrastructure which is necessity for water security for social, economic development and environmental management in Africa, and will continue the dialogue to find the best way of doing this
- UNSGAB will support a review performance commitments , either in concert with the proposed African Finance Ministers meeting, at the proposed Summit review or both
iii) Increasing Capacity for Water Management, Water Supply and Sanitation in Africa
- AfDB and other regional organizations will endorse and assist in the development of the Water Operators Partnerships (WOPs) in close cooperation with Global WOPs of Un-Habitat. UNSGAB offers this bottom-up approach as a foundation stone for improving the sector, based on water operators; the AfDB for its part will prepare a review lessons learned in the sector to help construct a regional strategic framework for decision making in water supply and sanitation
- UNSGAB will support the strengthening of the transboundary institutions in Africa and promote creation of new ones where necessary. This will include IFIs, AfDB and OECD in order to include relevant tools and mechanisms to promote Integrated River Basin Management.
- UNSGAB and African key organizations will collaborate to support strengthening African countries’ preparedness to withstand changes caused by climate variability and disaster.
The UNSGAB on Water and Sanitation is an independent body established in March 2004 by Mr. Annan, to advise him as well as to galvanize global action on water and sanitation issues which are central to the world's hopes of eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development. The late Japanese Prime Minister Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto served as the first Chairman of the UNSGAB, which is composed of members of a wide range of dignitaries, technical experts, and individuals with proven experience in providing inspiration, moving the machinery of government, and working with the media, the private sector and civil society. More information on the UNSGAB members and the Hashimoto Action Plan are available at www.unsgab.org.
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