05.11.2018 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

Seventh Africa Water Week

Official presentation of the Groundwater Resources of Africa Map- among new outreach materials

Africa Water week, themed: "Toward Achieving Water Security and Safety Managed Sanitation for Africa" was held in Gabon from 29 October to 2 November 2018 to discuss and seek solutions to Africa's water resources and sanitation challenges. The Africa Groundwater Map and Rainwater Harvesting Calculator and outreach materials for Pan Africa were also presented.

The African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW) was formed in 2002 in Abuja Nigeria, primarily to promote cooperation, security, social and economic development and poverty eradication among member states through the effective management of the continent’s water resources and provision of water supply services.

In 2008, at the 11th ordinary session of the Africa Union (AU) Assembly in Sharm el-Sheikh, Heads of State and Government of the AU agreed on commitments to accelerate the achievement of water and sanitation goals in Africa and mandated AMCOW to develop and follow up an implementation strategy for these commitments. AMCOW has also being accorded the status of a Specialised Committee for Water and Sanitation in the African Union.

The Africa Water Week (aww) was convened by the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) in conjunction with the African Union Commission and organized with other development partners. It represented a political commitment at the highest level with over 1000 participants from governments, regional institutions, international partners, the private sector, the scientific community, civil society, and the media from all over the world, and in particular Africa, meeting to discuss and collectively seek solutions to Africa’s water resources, and sanitation challenges. It is now held biennially in keeping with the decision of the AMCOW to institutionalize AWW in order to build momentum on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to water security and sanitation by 2030, and the 2025 Africa Water Vision as well as crystalizing the way to actualizing Africa’s Agenda 2063.

The 7th Africa Water Week (AWW-7) held between 29th October to 2nd November, 2018 in Libreville, Gabon.

AWW-7 had as its theme “Toward Achieving Water Security and Safely Managed Sanitation for Africa”.  Water security is defined as the capacity of a population to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being, and socio-economic development; for ensuring protection against water-borne pollution and water-related disasters, and for preserving ecosystems in a climate of peace and political stability (UN-Water, 2013).

UNESCO is one of the key members in establishing AMCOW under AUC. From the beginning UNESCO is involved in organising Africa Water Week to enhance the regional cooperation and bringing international experiences to share with African Member states. UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP) organised seven side events on various themes related to water security, gender, youth and other technical areas.

UNESCO-IHP and UNESCO Africa in collaboration with its partners organised the following session during the breakout sessions as well launched Africa Groundwater Map and Rainwater Harvesting Calculator and outreach materials for Pan Africa.

1.       Integrating Gender Equality and Female Empowerment in IWRM as a Strategy to Achieving Water Security Convener(s): UNESCO-IHP and UNESCO WWAP

2.       Fostering scientific and technical capacities and competencies in Africa's Water Sector through the AU-NEPAD Water Centres of Excellence Convener: UNESCO IHP Co-Convener(s): European Commission-Joint Research Centre

3.       The Role of Science in building Peace and International Cooperation in Transboundary Waters Convener: UNESCO-IHP

4.       Water Wise: The time is now to apply Smart Water Management Convener: UNESCO i-WSSM, UNESCO-IHP

5.       Promoting Youth Engagement in Water Governance through Youth-Led Research and Innovation Convener(s): UNESCO-IHP & International Science Council Regional Office for Africa

6.       Hydro Climate Services for Water Security Convener: UNESCO IHP

7.       Promote sustainable groundwater resources management within the framework of IWRM in L/RBOs and RECs Convener: UNESCO-IHP Co-Convener(s): ANBO, AMCOW, BGR, UNECE

Groundwater Map of Africa (WHYMAP and Its Current status of groundwater resources mapping in Africa):

The World-wide Hydrogeological Mapping and Assessment Programme (WHYMAP) is a joint programme consisting of consortium composed by the UNESCO, the Commission for the Geological Map of the World (CGMW), the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC), and the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR). Its principle aim is to contribute to the world-wide efforts to better understand, manage and protect aquifer resources, and to transfer this groundwater related information appropriately to groundwater experts as well as to non-experts and politicians.

The present map depicts the current status of WHYMAP’s groundwater resources mapping in Africa, prepared for the 7th Africa Water Week 2018 in Libreville (Gabon). It contains novel features, such as cross-sections and regional transboundary hydrogeological maps, bringing together generalised overview maps and regional hydrogeological studies, thereby adding additional value by including spatial information at a higher resolution in regions where ongoing BGR technical cooperation projects taking place.

Groundwater and the importance of transboundary aquifers in Africa: Up to 75% of Africa’s population uses groundwater as the main source, and groundwater is important for rural livelihoods, livestock rearing and urban water supply. Most of the Africa’s large aquifer systems and transboundary. Seventy two transboundary aquifers have been identified in Africa. They underlies 40% of the continent, where approximately 30% of the population lives often arid and semi-arid regions.

This map represents the current status of the WHYMAP’s groundwater mapping efforts in Africa.

Comments, suggestions and scientific input can contribute to the continuous improvement of WHYMAP products, including the present version of this map. Contact information for the submission of any notes and drafts related to this map is available at www.whymap.org.

For further information contact UNESCO Nairobi office, Mr. Jayakumar Ramasamy r.jayakumar(at)unesco.org

To view & download the Groundwater Resources of Africa Map, click here

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