08.02.2017 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

UNESCO Supports Efforts Towards Achieving Water Security in Africa

Picture 1 Opening of Inter-Regional Workshop

24-26 January 2017, Abuja, Nigeria


With the generous support from the Government of Malaysia and the Federal Republic of Nigeria and in collaboration between UNESCO offices in Jakarta and Abuja, UNESCO Category 2 Regional Centre for Integrated River Basin Management (RC-IRBM) and National Water Resources Institute (NWRI) organized the Inter-Regional Workshop on South-South Cooperation for Upscaling Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Ecohydrology as Tools for Achieving Water Security in Africa from 24-26 January 2017 in Abuja, Nigeria. The workshop gathered around 70 participants including representatives of various water resources agencies, river basins organizations, institutions from Africa, Asia and the Pacific, as well as the mass media.

The workshop was graced by the presence of the Honourable Minister of Water Resources, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Engr. Suleiman Hussaini Adamu FNSE. The Hon. Minister in his remarks, assured that the Federal Government would implement all recommendations made at the workshop for appropriate framework and work plan that promote water security.

Datuk Lim Juan Jin, H.E. High Commissioner of Malaysia to Nigeria, was also present to deliver his remarks. He reiterated Malaysia’s continued support to UNESCO’s agenda through the Malaysia-UNESCO Cooperation Programme (MUCP) and Malaysia Funds-in-Trust (MFIT) towards the achievement of the UN Development Agenda 2030 alongside UNESCO key priority areas.
Prof. Shahbaz Khan, Director and Representative, UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific delivered his key remarks entitled “IWRM and Ecohydrology as Tools for Upscaling Water Security”. He shared the challenges faced, including the common issues of water quality and quantity in Africa and Asia Pacific. Prof. Khan also introduced UNESCO programmes linking to water security, highlighting the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) VIII and Hydrology for the Environment, Life and Policy (HELP), one of IHP’s cross-cutting programmes. He also presented briefly on UNESCO’s water management tool such as Ecohydrology and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). 

Dr Benoit Sossou, Regional Director and Representative, UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office, Abuja, and Dr E. A. Adanu, Executive Director NWRI the co-organizers of the event delivered the opening and welcome remarks.

The first day of the workshop saw expert presentations from various participants and country representatives on different topics relating to the theme of the workshop, including case studies from Asia and the Pacific, West Africa, Regional River Basin Organizations (RRBOs), as well as from water related centres in Africa. Majority of the presentations highlighted funding as one of the major challenges in implementing IWRM in their various countries and organizations. 

Picture 2 Participants listening attentively during Country Case Study presentation. Photo courtesy of RC-IRBM

Group 1: Current institutional and operational tools and challenges for implementation of IWRM & eco-hydrology

Group 2: Using Hydrology for the Environment Life and Policy (HELP) as support tools to implement IWRM at the river basin level in Africa

Group 3: Utilizing IWRM and eco-hydrology as tools to achieve goal 6 (of Agenda 2030)

Group 4: South-South Cooperation for upscaling IWRM

Picture 3: Group 4 Discussion on South-South Cooperation for upscaling IWRM. Photo courtesy of RC-IRBM

Participants were provided with template discussion outline to guide them during the session. This was followed by group presentation, and a total of 28 recommendations were put forward by participants of the workshop.
The main items to be included in the Framework and Work Plan for Upscaling IWRM and Ecohydrology at Country and River Basin Levels in West Africa were also discussed. This will be further developed by respective countries. The feedback/input will be analyzed and undertaken by RC-IRBM to support, design and implement IWRM and Ecohydrology strategies and policies for sustainable water resources management in Africa.
The workshop also provided platform for networking / engagement between Asia Pacific institutions and their African counterparts. Amongst the interest for partnership were between:

i) Foundation for conservation of Nigerian Rivers with Humid Tropics Centre Kuala Lumpur (UNESCO Category 2 Centre) and Univerisiti Kebangsaan Malaysia respectively

ii) RC-IRBM and Asia Pacific Centre for Ecohydrology (APCE – UNESCO Category 2 Centre), Indonesia 

On the last day of the workshop, participants were briefed on the Gurara River Basin Allocation Studies conducted by RC-IRBM and were taken on an excursion visit to Gurara River Basin, located north of Abuja.

For further information contact
s.khan(at)unesco.org and visit:


Photos courtesy of RC-IRBM

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