The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) led an Africa Regional Consultation workshop on the 13th and 14th of June in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW), and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The workshop's purpose was to facilitate the United Nations Secretary-General's report on the midterm review of progress on the implementation of the International Decade for Action, Water for Sustainable Development, 2018–2028, in line with the United Nations General Assembly resolution 73/226.
The workshop aimed to assess progress in the implementation of the first half of the Water Action Decade 2018–2028; take stock of the mid-term experiences, and provide recommendations, actions, and initiatives to be undertaken – as input into the report to the high-level political forum on sustainable development for accelerated motion.
Representatives of AMCOW Member States, including Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, were among the critical stakeholders, along with the Regional Economic Communities (ECOWAS, ECCAS, IGAD, EAC, SADC), the African Network of Basin Organizations (ANBO), and the River and Lake Basin Organizations (RLBOs) and NEPAD-Water Centres of Excellence (CoE). Partner representatives included International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) and International Groundwater Resource Assessment Centre (IGRAC).
The consultation reviewed the state of water, sanitation and hygiene in Africa. The review shows that under the current circumstances, achieving the 2030 SDG targets will require that safely managed drinking water services provision should increase by 12 times, 20 times for safely managed sanitation, and 42 times increase in essential hygiene services (WHO/UNICEF 2021).
Outcomes of the consultation include, among others:
1. An urgent appeal to the Heads of States and Governments of the AU to revitalise ongoing efforts to integrate policies and strategies to raise the water and sanitation profile and its cross-sectoral linkages to Africa's sustainable development agenda.
2. Strengthening national data systems within the WASSMO framework to facilitate the vital element of AMCOW's mandate of annual reporting to the Heads of States of AU on the progress to achieving water and sanitation goals should be prioritised.
3. Mainstreaming gender issues in all national policies, strategies and legislation, as well as improving the capacity of youth, women and girls were singled out as critical priorities to be pursued by the Member States.
Going forward, AMCOW will support the preparation of Africa's report for submission to the Seventy-Seventh UN General Assembly in New York and lead Africa's mobilisation and participation in COP27, UN Groundwater Summit and the UN 2023 Water Conference in New York. Also, AMCOW will use its platforms to raise water, sanitation and hygiene profile for improved investment in Africa's socio-economic development.