The African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) has called on member-countries to increase their budget for water in order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on water and sanitation.
AMCOW’s Executive Secretary, Mr Bai-Mass Taal, made the call at the ongoing Africa Water Week in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Monday.
He said that there was no doubt that achieving the SDGs for water security and sanitation would require a different approach from that of the MDGs.
According to him, finance plays a major role toward meeting this goal and it is saddening to note that most country budgets relegate water and sanitation to the background.
“When you look at budgets for water in most African countries, it can never be in the top five; this is not good.
“Most leaders forget that water is a multi-sector issue; it cuts across agriculture, health, education, socio-economic issues, so we must stop this trend if we want to achieve the SDGs.”
Taal said that water was seen as non-important, but said that the trend should change.
He said that the week was a wake-up call for the region to begin to think outside the box for strategies that would help countries scale up access to water for all.
He also said to ensure secured, productive and sustainable water for all purposes as well as sanitation and hygiene, interventions were prerequisite for sustainable economic development.
Earlier, AMCOW President, Mr Amadou Faye, said that the choice of the theme, “Achieving the SDGs on Water Security and Sanitation”, was driven by the recognition to lay foundation for Africa to meet the SDGs.
He said that the “SDG 6’’ was interlinking with other SDGs, hence the need to place emphasis on matching commitments and plans with concrete actions.
Faye said that the outcome of the Africa Water Week would be a roadmap for developing a comprehensive plan of action from the ‘Ngor Declaration’ on water security and sanitation.
He stated that the programmes that would emanate from the plans would contribute to poverty alleviation, health improvements, social development and economic growth.
The president called for strengthened cooperation among countries with shared water resources to build stronger partnerships for the implementation of AMCOW work plan.
The 6th Africa Water Week aspires to lay the building blocks for Africa to achieve the “SDG 6’’ as well as other inter-linking SDGs connected with water resources management.
The week represents a political commitment at the highest level for creating platform to discuss and collectively seek solutions to Africa’s water and sanitation challenges.