The Executive Director, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Resources (MAWLR), Namibia and Chairperson, AMCOW Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), Mrs Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata.
On 23 February 2023 (VIRTUAL)
Representatives of Member States
Members of the Technical Advisory Committee
Ladies and Gentlemen
All protocols observed.
It is the singular honour of the Republic of Namibia to have served in the capacity of AMCOW President for the period 2021 to 2023. Over that period, we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of AMCOW within the
- Taking stock and consolidating the achievements to date, as well as strategising on overcoming the challenges to achieving water and sanitation goals in Africa;
- recognising the individuals and organisations that have been instrumental in the pursuit of Africa’s aspirations to attain water security and sustainable socio-economic development; and,
- charting the strategic direction for transitioning the unfinished business of the Africa Water Vision into a post-2025 action framework aligned with Agenda 2063 and the SDGs.
We have witnessed unprecedented recommitment to the mission and vision of AMCOW to assure all-inclusive cooperation to ensure water security and, in turn, food, energy and environmental security. A key indicator has been our commitment to finance the core activities of AMCOW. Member States’ contributions rose from US $0.64m for February 2019 – February 2021 to US $1.1m from February 2021 to date. Indeed, this is the highest amount of Member States’ statutory contributions on record for any period of tenure of AMCOW’s policy organs. And for this, we are grateful for the support of the Member States to our institutional strengthening to facilitate the achievement of water and sanitation goals in Africa. The Member States’ contributions have leveraged US $7.7m in new grant agreements signed, up from US $4.4m for 2019 – 2021.
Our fiduciary risk management policies, tools, controls and systems were also recognised as meeting US Department of State standards for AMCOW’s certification as a Public International Organisation. This certification contributed immensely to AMCOW’s long-term financial sustainability, as we can now enter direct programme funding and implementation agreements with development partners.
A related process, the EU pillar assessment, was initiated after a pre-pillar audit exercise that indicated a 75% readiness for certification. All recommendations of that audit have been or are being implemented as we await scheduling the pillar assessment by the European Commission.
The results of the stability afforded by the financial commitment of the Member States and our funding partners are telling at all levels of the AMCOW structure:
- At Member States’ level, National Coordination Platforms are being operationalised to strengthen national capacities for gathering, analysing and utilising water and sanitation data and information for evidence-based decision support and policy advocacy.
At the regional level, the mechanism for regularly convening sub-regional Ministerial Committee meetings is now functional, as evidenced by the process taken to nominate the leadership of AMCOW organs for 2023 – 2025. The opportunities presented by institutionalising processes for continuous engagement at the regional level to inform continental policy initiatives cannot be overstated. In particular, it will improve the responsiveness of our interventions to the fundamental water, sanitation and hygiene issues constraining our aspirations for economic growth and social transformation.
By the end of the fiscal year 2022, five Aide Memoires had been signed with the Regional Economic Communities and other regional partners articulating unique regional priorities. The regional consultations were also instrumental in promoting continental initiatives, including utilising the African Sanitation Policy Guidelines to accelerate access to safely managed sanitation and hygiene services.
At the continental level, among our achievements as AMCOW have been the following:
i. Adoption of the 2021 Windhoek Multistakeholder Resolutions for accelerating Water Security and Access to Safely Managed Sanitation and Hygiene in Africa
ii. An actionable “Dakar declaration” on agreed working arrangements between ANBO, the RLBOs, AU-SAFGRAD, AMCOW, and the AUC endorsed for the consideration of the 4th Ordinary Session of the AU Specialised Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment (STC on ARDWE).
The revitalisation of institutional linkages and working relationships between AMCOW; the AUC; AfDB; UNECA; and regional bodies, including an agreed joint workplan on regional consultations on i) the mid-term review of the UN Water Action Decade; and preparations for the 2023 UN Water Conference.
The revitalisation of regional consultation meetings of AMCOW with Member States, RECs and RLBOs whereby the Member States and Stakeholders are kept abreast of activities of AMCOW with regional-specific inputs to advance water and sanitation agenda in the respective regions.
Adoption of the key messages from the Africa Regional Consultations on the Mid-term review of the Water Action Decade and related African initiatives towards the UN 2023 Water Conference.
Endorsement of the Dakar Declaration “A Blue Deal for Water Security and Sanitation for Peace and Development” as Africa’s contribution to the UN 2023 Water Conference.
Nine (9) MoUs – on facilitating action to meet the targets of the Africa Water Vision 2025; the Ngor commitments on sanitation and hygiene; and SDG 6 – signed with: i) the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC); ii) the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW); iii) the Federal Institute of Geoscience and Natural Resources of Germany (BGR); iv) the International Water Management Institute (IWMI); v) Speak up Africa (SUA); vi) World Vision International (WVI); vii) the African Water and Sanitation Association (AfWSA); viii) the International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC WASH); and ix) Catholic Relief Services.
Seven (7) engagement plans finalised with: i) the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC); ii) the Eastern and Southern Africa Water and Sanitation (ESAWAS) Regulators Association; iii) WaterAid; iv) UNICEF; v) Speak up Africa (SUA); vi) IRC WASH; (vii) the UN-Water Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG 6 (IMI-SDG6)
Launch – in collaboration with AMCOW partners – of over ten key sector reports, including i) the 2021 and 2022 editions of the Annual Report of the Commission on the implementation of the July 2008 Assembly Declaration on the Sharm El Sheikh Commitments for Accelerating the Achievement of Water and Sanitation Goals in Africa (Assembly/AU/ Decl.1 (XI)); ii) the 2020 AfricaSan Ngor Report; iii) the 2022 Africa Global Water Policy Report; iv) the AfDB State of Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (Rural WASH) in Africa; v) the AfDB Water Policy and Strategy 2021 – 2025; vi) the AMCOW Storybook; vii) the 2022 Africa Global Water Policy Report; and, viii) a white paper on Groundwater for Africa’s Resilience and Socioeconomic Transformation.
Launch and ongoing implementation of continental policy initiatives and interventions, including i) the roadmap for the preparation of the post-2025 Africa Water Vision aligned to AU Agenda 2063; ii) the African Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPGs); iii) the African Strategic Groundwater Programme (APAGroP); iv) the ASPGs in Action Programme; v) the programme to support the strengthening of Water Governance Systems and Management Structures in Africa; vi) establishment of the AMCOW Knowledge Management Hub of Hubs, as well as launching the African Knowledge Management Challenge to support related capacity development at Member States level; and, vii) preparation of the Action Document for the Team Europe Initiative on Transboundary Water Management.
At the global level:
- We mounted a successful election campaign to win back a seat on the Board of Governors of the World Water Council for the period 2023 – 2025 after having lost it in 2018. In this role, AMCOW will play a significant role in setting the strategic direction for the 10th World Water Forum in 2024. This will include coordinating the African regional process for the 2024 Forum; and promoting the implementation of the outcomes of the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar, Senegal.
- A key achievement for AMCOW during the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar, Senegal, was the joint organisation of the AMCOW-AfBD pavilion. The pavilion gave AMCOW’s partners and stakeholders a meeting point to engage, share knowledge and information and showcase developments in ongoing initiatives in Africa’s water, sanitation and hygiene sector. It also offered an opportunity for convening topical seminars on renewing focus across the continent on water and sanitation as key ingredients for socio-economic development.
- Similarly, a joint AMCOW-AfDB pavilion and the Africa Focus Seminar were organised at World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. AMCOW’s activities at the 2022 World Water Week were aimed at raising the profile of water in national systems for economic planning and advocating for commensurate funding to the sector. It promoted the value of water as the backbone of the action framework for the post-2025 Africa Water Vision.
- Mobilisation of 39 AU Member States to write letters of support to the UN Secretary-General to appoint a Special Envoy on Water.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
A fundamental challenge to our institutional growth remains meeting our financial obligations to AMCOW. As at the 13th Ordinary Session of the Executive Committee of AMCOW, Member States’ arrears amounted to US $5,436,174 (five million four hundred and thirty-six thousand one hundred and seventy-four US dollars). It is imperative that these resources are released to fund our core activities and thus ensure a relative degree of autonomy when setting and implementing AMCOW’s agenda.
Looking to the future, plans are underway for AMCOW, AfDB and UNECA – under the leadership of the African Union – to make a strong showing at the UN 2023 Water Conference in New York in March 2023. In this regard, we celebrate the appointment of the Arab Republic of Egypt – AMCOW’s incoming President – and the Republic of Senegal as co-chairs of interactive dialogues No. 3 and No. 4, respectively. AMCOW, and the entire water community in Africa, take pride in their leadership roles at the Conference and congratulates them.
At the 13th Ordinary Session of EXCO in October 2022, we agreed on a common position and critical messages defining our engagement at the Conference. The Arab Republic of Egypt, as AMCOW President, will spearhead the delivery of those messages and mobilise Africa’s critical mass to influence the outcomes of the conference.
The UN 2023 Water Conference is not an end in itself. If anything, the expectations are that new commitments will be made and game-changers announced. To successfully translate the new commitments and game-changers into impact on the ground, we must give renewed focus to attracting investments to the sector.
Against this backdrop, we hand over an approved AMCOW Work Programme for 2022 – 2024. Its overarching objective is to catalyse action to realise the outcomes of the AMCOW Strategic Operational Plan 2020-2024. The estimated total investment for the 3-Year Work Programme has been pegged at US $20.1m, out of which nearly US $11m is already secured. To cover the funding gap, we hand over a pipeline of project proposals submitted to AMCOW’s funding partners amounting to about US $12m. We have assurances of a high probability of successful conclusion of the related grant agreements by the African Development Bank, the Kingdom of Sweden, and the European Commission.
With appreciation, we acknowledge their commitment to AMCOW, as well as that of i) the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; ii) the US Department of State through USAID; iii) the African Water Facility; iv) BGR; iv) the New Venture Fund; and, v) Adelphi.
New global commitments and/or game-changers will be announced at the UN 2023 Water Conference. As AMCOW, we will facilitate their domestication at the continental, regional and national levels.
Allow me to also draw attention to the fact that it is nearly 15 years since the last AU Summit with a theme on Water. That was in 2008 in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. At the just concluded 36th AU Summit in Addis Ababa, our efforts to ensure that the AU theme for 2026 is on the water did not go according to plan. We take heart that we have a whole year ahead to provide a different outcome in February 2024. We will also have Egypt as the AMCOW President to coordinate Member States’ action to replicate the success of the July 2008 Sharm el Sheikh AU Summit. It is imperative to elevate the profile of water to the highest decision-making level within the African Union. A water theme for the AU in 2026 will ensure that the post-2025 Vision is immediately adopted to transition the unfinished business of the Africa Water Vision 2025.
There could not be a better time to lay the foundation for this eventuality than during the Presidency of the Arab Republic of Egypt. As the outgoing team, we affirm our continued support to the incoming President and leadership and make a clarion call to you to revitalise water on the Agenda of the African Union.
I thank you