Over 41 African Member States gathered today at the African Ministers’ Council on Water’s (AMCOW) 13th General Assembly in Cairo, Egypt. The highly anticipated event, held under the esteemed leadership of Dr Tahani Sileet, Chairperson of AMCOW’s Technical Advisory Committee, saw the participation of Technical Advisory Committee members from 41 countries and various partners.
The General Assembly began with captivating opening remarks from esteemed personalities, setting the stage for an impactful meeting. Dr Rashid Mbaziira, Executive Secretary of AMCOW, presented the Governance Framework and Rules of Procedures, providing a solid foundation for the statutory meetings. The discussions that followed were nothing short of remarkable.
Participants were treated to an inspiring documentary film – An Overview of AMCOW – that shed light on the history and purpose of AMCOW. The film eloquently captured the motivations of AMCOW’s founding leaders and emphasised the critical value of water. Notably, Mr Bai Mas Tall, the first substantive Executive of AMCOW, passionately proclaimed that AMCOW stands as the only Ministerial Council on Water worldwide.
Buoyed up by these powerful anecdotes, attendees delved into other crucial presentations, including the AMCOW Strategy 2018-2030, the 2022 Annual Report on the Implementation of the July 2008 Assembly Declaration (also known as the Africa Water and Sanitation Monitoring Report), the Audit Report on the Financial Statement for the Year ended 31st December 2022, and 2023. The revised AMCOW Gender and Youth Inclusion Strategy took centre stage, garnering extensive attention as it neared adoption and presentation to the Council of Ministers. Ensuring that the strategy genuinely reflected the voice of the Member States became a shared priority.
According to Dr Tahani, the urgency to facilitate action on achieving the water and sanitation goals of the continent cannot be overemphasised. Hence this 13th Ordinary Session of the General Assembly at this time.
Following a rejuvenating health break, participants invested significant time deliberating the Action on Water Adaptation and Resilience (AWARe) initiative and AMCOW’s involvement at the UN 2023 Water Conference. These conversations illuminated the regional and national priorities embedded in AMCOW’s work programmes.
Moreover, the meeting addressed the importance of increasing Member States’ involvement in AMCOW’s programs and the need to sustain initiatives within AMCOW even as they evolve into institutionalised entities. The sense of unity and shared commitment among participants fueled anticipation for the outcomes of this gathering.
As the 13th General Assembly unfolds, hopes run high for its transformative impact on the water sector. The post-2025 Africa Water Vision is set to receive a substantial boost, with countries eagerly raising their priorities and embracing an invigorated drive towards its realisation. AMCOW remains steadfast in its mission to guide and implement strategies that ensure Africa’s water resources are managed sustainably and inclusively.
This General Assembly is a testament to African Member States’ enduring dedication and collective determination to overcome water challenges and create a brighter future for the continent. With renewed energy and shared aspirations, AMCOW marches towards a future where clean water and sanitation are accessible to all Africans.