Kenya National Consultation for Groundwater Resources Exploration
UNESCO Nairobi Office, Water Science Programme and the Kenya Ministry of Water and Irrigation is currently hosting in Nairobi, the Kenya National Consultation for the "Groundwater Resources Exploration and Capacity-building to Combat Drought in the Horn of Africa."
The meeting, which brings together Kenya government water experts, UN agencies and other partners, is taking place at Laico Hotel from 9 - 10 November 2011.
The initiative is held in response to a formal request from the Kenya delegation to UNESCO following the drought crisis currently being experienced in the Horn of Africa. The drought and consequent lack of food and drinking water have led to the worst famine in 60 years in the region, putting some 12 million people in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia at the risk of starvation.
In his remarks during the opening ceremony of the meeting, Prof. Joseph Massaquoi, the Director of UNESCO Nairobi Office said," the initiative is in line with the Nairobi Declaration of the Heads of States during their summit on the crisis in the Horn of Africa. The UNESCO action plan includes; an immediate assessment of groundwater resources for emergency situation aimed at improving drinking water availability for the most vulnerable population in the current humanitarian crisis in the refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia and internal camps in Somalia, a medium to long-term support in drought monitoring and preparedness and strengthening of institutional and technical capacities through a long term capacity building for the region."
In his speech, Mr. John Nyaoro, the Director of Water Resources in the Ministry of Water and Irrigation noted the increase in competition for water resources in Kenya. "Stakes are high and therefore far-reaching measures need to be taken before Kenya's water situation turns irreversibly unmanageable," said Mr. Nyaoro.
Mr. Omondi Juma, the IHP Vice Chair for Africa hailed the creation of a Category 2 Centre in Nairobi - a Regional Centre on Groundwater Resources Education, Training and Research for East Africa.