27.04.2015 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Improving water resources management in Cabo Verde and Guinea-Bissau

Cabo Verde and Guinea-Bissau like many low and medium income countries in Africa are faced with slow adaptation of policy and legal frameworks for water resource management. This is due to inadequate human and institutional capacities.

To support these two countries, UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar is organizing a water policy and governance training workshop will be organized for on 28-29 April 2015 in Praia, the capital of Cabo Verde.

“This will be an opportunity to discuss about the basics of water regulations but also to globally examine water policy in the context of science, technology, law, politics, economics and the practical management of water systems,” says Anthony Maduekwe, programme specialist in UNESCO-Dakar.

The workshop will guide participants through the key concepts in water policy and management and explore the link between water policy and energy, climate and environmental policy.

Translating policy into action

“Most importantly, we will look at how to translate policy and legal changes into implementation, which is always the most difficult hurdle,” says Maduekwe.

He highlights that Cabo Verde, as a small islands state warrants specific attention as the water related problems here are often exacerbated and differ from those of mainland countries such as Guinea-Bissau.

Participants will be staff of water-related ministries or teachers in higher education institutions who provide knowledge and carry out research in the area of hydrology and water governance. At the end of the workshop, they shall be able to enhance response to the governance of water in their countries. The training workshop will be facilitated by Dr. Luiz Amore, who is currently the Foreign Affairs Chief Adviser at National Water Agency in Brazil.

Inadequate capacities

As a leading agency in water, UNESCO supports member states to adopt an approach of water resource management. The Organization promotes the appropriate implementation of such policies but also their creation where they do not exist.

There is clear evidence of a widespread adoption of integrated approaches of water resources management. The UN Water Status Report in 2012 notes that 78% of countries have made changes in their water policy and 50% have reached an advanced stage or fully implemented the policy. This is mirrored by changes to water laws that have been revised in 82% of countries with implementation completed or at an advanced stage in 55%.

However, the Report also points out that translating policy and legal changes into implementation has been a slow process mainly due to inadequate human and institutional capacities in low and medium income countries in Africa.

The global survey carried out in 2011 has generated a number of specific findings for example that 79% of countries reported changes in their water policy, however translating policy and legal changes into implementation has been a slow process.

The survey showed that 65% of countries have developed integrated water resources management plans, as called for in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, and 34% report an advanced stage of implementation, however, progress appears to have slowed or even regressed in low and medium HDI countries since the survey in 2008.

“This is the rationale behind UNESCO’s current work in this area, facilitating the translation of policy and legal changes into implementation,” adds Anthony Maduekwe.

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