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Natural Disasters Hindering Access to Potable Water

Natural Disasters Hindering Access to Potable Water

Representatives from seven African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries are meeting in Lilongwe to assess efforts made towards building more climate-resilient water services under the multi-partner Global Water Leadership (GWL) Programme.

Speaking at the opening of the two-day meeting, Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation, Liana Kakhobwe Chapota, noted there is retrogression in the progress towards the water and sanitation targets, due to natural disasters such as floods and the COVID-19 pandemic.

For instance, she said it is estimated that in 2019, Cyclone Idai in Malawi destroyed WASH infrastructure worth $3.8 million, an equivalent of K6.3 billion.

This is the more reason that water and sanitation infrastructure investments should be climate resilient so that every small step we take towards achieving SDG6 targets, actually counts.

“I would like to commend the approach that was used in developing these GWL Response Strategies. The process was very inclusive. The obstacles were identified and prioritized by national stakeholders who, in their respective countries, prioritized the top 2 to 4 barriers.

“In Malawi, the three response strategies are expected to feed into the One WASH Programme that Malawi intends to develop and implement. The One WASH concept is being borrowed from Ethiopia with the sole purpose of harmonizing or aligning the WASH programme within the sector. This also includes having a consolidated account where donors can pool their funding for the WASH sector,” she added.

Present at the meeting are high-level delegates from UNICEF, the British High Commission in Malawi and the Global Water Partnership.

Lesley Pories, GWL Global Coordinator at the Global Water Partnership says the programme has strengthened national support for water resources and services management in a more holistic approach to water management and bolstering climate resilience.

“The GWL Programme has strengthened national support for water resources and services management while infusing a more holistic approach to water management into the sector and bolstering its climate resilience.

“My favorite feature of the response plans is that they include comprehensive finance plans, developed by the working groups with assistance from a local finance expert. This enables governments to integrate these strategies more easily into their planning and, most importantly, budgets,” said Pories.

Since it was launched in April 2021, GWL has worked to strengthen national support for water resource and services management, provide critical information and analysis to identify and resolve barriers, input into water or climate policies, and helped governments bolster climate resilience.

Central to the GWL programme are government-validated response strategies for addressing critical barriers to climate-resilient water management. Barriers have been identified by national stakeholders, who have prioritized the top 2 to 4 barriers in their respective country.

Governments in the seven countries will integrate the response strategies into their national plans and programmes as well as mobilize water stakeholders to contribute towards financing strategies.

A report by the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa, Africa’s Rising Investment Tide, released during the UN 2023 Water Conference in New York, on 22 March 2023 says countries need to mobilise the required additional U$30 billion annually by 2030, for narrowing the existing water investment gap in Africa.

Seven countries represented at the event are the Central African Republic, Malawi, Nepal, Palestine, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Launched April 2021, the Global Water Leadership Programme ends on March 31.

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Last modified on Friday, 15/03/2024

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