Times of Zambia
By Maya Ntanda
THE crisis in water and sanitation is above all, a crisis for the poor. Almost two in threepeople lack access to clean water and survive on less than US$ 2 a day, with one in three,living on less than $1 a day.The distribution of access to adequate water and sanitation in many countries mirrors thedistribution of wealth and access to piped water into the household, which averages about85 percent for the wealthiest 20 percent of the population, compared with 25 percent forthe poorest 20 percent.The principle that applies across much of the developing world is that the poorest peoplenot only get access to less water, and to less clean water but they also pay some of theworld's highest prices.With such reasons, the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), an activity theSouthern Africa Development Community (SADC) is undertaking with support from theDanish Development Agency (DANIDA), aims at improving people's livelihood byencouraging water resource development.The SADC multi-stakeholder water dialogue held at the Joachim Chissano InternationalConference Centre in Maputo, Mozambique on May 16 and 17, 2007, highlighted IWRMactivities by different organizations, showing how IWRM approaches could address keyaspects of social- economic development and poverty reduction in Southern Africa.The conference, whose theme was 'Watering Development in SADC: beyond IWRMconcepts’ was an experience-sharing programme with views from the SADC memberstates. Delegates were drawn from the governments, the energy and water developmentsector, the private sector and indeed from the media.The experience sharing conference was aimed at increasing understanding of thedevelopment aspects of IWRM among policy makers of water using water influencingsectors, non traditional water sectors and the media.Among the topics discussed were water engine for development, which looked at waterscarcity, water and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), transboundary waterresource management in Southern Africa contributing to regional integration, and copingwith water related natural disasters.The SADC multi- stakeholder water dialogue is a lead activity in the creation ofawareness for IWRM component and the Global Water Partnership -Southern Africa(GWA-SA) is one of the implementing partners and is organised so that differentstakeholders are mobilised to share IWRM experience.The GWP facilitates the exchange of knowledge and experience and the practice ofintegrated water resources management.
Through a world wide network of partners, GWP identifies critical knowledge needs atboth global and regional levels; helps design programmes for meeting these needs, servesas marketplace for providers and financiers of the required knowledge services.SADC/DANIDA awareness component has as its development objective to improveawareness and participation by policy and decision makers and the media of IWRM andrelated resources that contributes to poverty alleviation through equitable and sustainableutilisation of water in the SADC region, thus advancing SADC treaty objectives.The SADC region has now moved 'beyond merely the concept of IWRM' which is ameans to social-economic development, poverty alleviation and sustainable development,and mainstreaming IWRM in national and regional development is critical, on to how toimplement IWRM with other sectors.At a national and regional level, SADC has successfully established an enablingenvironment, although 'other sectors' need to be more comprehensively engaged inIWRM.According to the United Nations Human Development report of 2006, the human right towater, declares the UN committee on economic, social and cultural rights, entitleseveryone to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physical accessible and affordable water forpersonal and domestic use.The report indicates that ensuring that every person has access to at least 20 litres of cleanwater each day is a minimum requirement for respecting the human right to water, aswater and sanitation are among the most powerful preventive medicines available togovernments to reduce infectious disease.Investment in this area to killer diseases like diarrhoea is what immunisation is to measles- a life saver.
The report implored all governments to go beyond vague constitutional principles toenshrine the human right to water in enabling legislation, and to have real meaning thehuman right has to correspond to an entitlement to secure, accessible and affordablesupply of water and the appropriate entitlement would vary by country and householdcircumstance.But at a minimum it implies a target of at least 20 litres of clean water a day for everycitizen and at no cost for those too poor.The 2015 target of achieving the MDGs, with water playing a central role in theattainment of these, tangible action is now required to impact the lives of people in theregion.
The established enabling environment has strengthened water resources management andgovernance in the region and the issue of water resources development is now key.Zambia's Ministry of Finance and National Planning Permanent Secretary, JamesMulungushi, in his key note address challenged the governments in developing countriesto reduce poverty and the realisation of the 2015 MDGs.Mr Mulungushi implored SADC member states to institute principles of plannedopenness, flexibility, technological, innovations increased investment in economicinfrastructure and the social sectors.He said the economic and political stability would also reduce conflicts and strengthenthe need for broad based wealth creation.Mr Mulungushi challenged the stakeholders to implement the water projects and lessenon the number of seminars, workshops and conferences.He said it was time to implement the projects and programmes as SADC member stateswere faced with other challenges such as dealing with issues of globalisation,environmental threats, climate changes, energy shortages, corruption and corporategovernance.And Mozambican minister of public works and housing, Felicio Zacarius, who officiallyopened the conference, said his country was vulnerable to climate changes like floods anddroughts.Mr Zacarius said there was need for integrated management to control the water levelsduring the rainy season and to sustain the water levels in the dry season.The SADC /DANIDA regional water sector programme objectives reflect the SouthernAfrican regional priorities and DANIDA's development and sector priorities and policies.The overall development objective to which the regional water resources programmesupport contributes is equitable and sustainable access to water resources, improvementin regional integration and economic benefits for present and future generations ofSouthern Africa.The programme has four components, the consultancy fund for IWRM in SADC region(CONFUND), water research fund for IWRM in southern Africa (WARFSA), awarenesscreation for IWRM which is under reformulation and the programme support facilitywhich includes the local grant authority .
Water is the Engine
The delegates had one language, water is the engine for development as it encompasseswater resources development, infrastructure development, water storage and access andcreating opportunities for better livelihoods.The World Conservation Union (IUCN), whose mission in Southern Africa is to facilitateand strengthen an integrated approach for sustainable and equitable use of naturalresources and conservation of biological diversity, is also active in promoting IWRMprogrammes for water resource development.The organisation's global mission is to influence, encourage and help societies throughoutthe world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and ensure that any use ofnatural resources is equitable and ecologically, and boasts of representation in BotswanaMozambique, South Africa and Zambia, which articulate with the regional representationin Harare- Zimbabwe.
IUCN sponsored journalists from Botswana, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Tanzania andZambia to participate in the water dialogue to familiarise them on articles coping withwater related natural disasters and on climate change.The Okavango Research Centre at the University of Botswana advised the conferencethat natural water disasters such as floods and droughts could be manageable andsubsequently boost human development.Mr Dominic Mazvimavi said droughts and floods, which were extreme forms of waterinsecurity, had a devastating consequence for human development, while rainfallvariability and extreme changes in water flow could destroy assets, underminelivelihoods and reduce the growth potential of whole economies.He said under the IWRM, reducing environment degradation and developing reliablewater supplies for the poor in cases of a drought could manage the water disasters so thatthey were prepared by having enough water supply resources.
"Under the IWRM , the natural water disasters can be managed as water supply resourcesreduced environmental degradation and developing reliable water supplies for the poor sothat when a drought occurs they are prepared," he saidMr Mazvimavi said settlement along the river banks, poverty, lack of knowledge ofdisasters were other factors that led to crisis management at both local and nationallevels.He told the participants when he presented a paper on the natural water disasters - Is therea role for integrated IWRM, that poverty contributed as most people could not accessbetter areas and were forced to live along the river banks which when flooded affectedtheir houses and crops.Mr Mazvimavi, however, had suggestions for the participants; the issue of poverty couldalso be addressed by planning ways of creating livelihood options other than dependingon natural resources.In drought situations, the academician said the problem was worse as it affected the cropand livelihood and could be resolved through water supply resources.IUCN-Mozambique coordinator Eben Chonguica took the delegates on a field trip to thelower Limpopo dam in Matola city built in 1983 by the Mozambican Government.The beautiful river basin shared by Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa is used fordomestic purposes and also generates power with its hydro mini plant. The delegateswere further treated to a field trip of a banana land to show how IWRM can create wealth.
With the experience sharing, idea and knowledge exchange at the conference, water is aresource development issue which needs to be conserved, managed and developed by allstakeholders to develop the country or indeed the region.What more with Zambia enjoying 42 per cent of water in the region, water resourcedevelopment must surely be promoted to help the poor have access to clean water forhuman development- as indeed water is a drop of life.
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