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Call for increased integrity in African water sector

Call for increased integrity in African water sector

Apr 29, 2014

Lusaka – Water sector stakeholders from Western, Southern and Eastern Africa have gathered in Lusaka, Zambia at the first African Water Integrity Summit to address the urgent need to promote water integrity in the region and to jointly fight water corruption, which reduces economic growth, discourages investments, and decelerates poverty reduction.

The critical discussions on how to enhance integrity in the water sector will be turned into a Summit Declaration, which will be handed over to AMCOW (African Ministers’ Council on Water) at the end of the Summit.

“Lack of water integrity is a huge cost for societies as it often translates into poor service provision, loss of lives, stalling of the much needed development, and degraded resources”, said Chris Yaluma, the Zambian Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development, during the Opening Plenary.

As much as 25 percent of all water investments – or about $50 billion – is lost to corruption every year. This, while UN estimates show that more than 300 of the 800 million people in sub-Saharan Africa live in water-scarce environments. Increased attention to integrity issues is needed to safeguard socio-economic development, poverty reduction and a water secure world.

“This Summit will provide a platform for sharing experiences with a view to finding ways of addressing water integrity challenges as a shared responsibility”, the Minister concluded.

The Summit “Accelerating Towards a Water Secure World” is the first occasion where water integrity ambassadors from over 35 countries in Africa meet to exchange good practice and experiences related to anti-corruption, and is the culmination of a sub-Saharan capacity building programme that has trained more than 400 stakeholders in water integrity over the last three years.

The 100 people assembled in Lusaka represent the alumni of the programme, water sector stakeholders, media, water users associations, advocacy organisations, and agents from the donor community. The participants are all here learn from each other and to identify the most successful strategies to promote water integrity in the future. A burning discussion point is also how to deal with the many challenges connected. How can the acquired insights in water integrity be turned into actual change on the ground?

In widely recognising the need for integrating both bottom-up and top-down approaches, the Summit also aims to build political ownership for water integrity by publishing a final Summit declaration. This declaration will be handed over to Bai Mass-Taal of AMCOW (African Ministers’ Council on Water) during the Closing Panel on Wednesday April 30.

The Summit has been implemented by UNDP-Water Governance Facility, The Water Integrity Network, UNDP/Cap-Net, WaterNet and SIWI, in cooperation with regional partners Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) East African Community – Lake Victoria Basin Commission (EAC – LVBC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC), with funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

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