All countries in GWP Eastern Africa face severe water constraints. Deforestation and poor agricultural practices are leading to reduced retention periods, surface runoffs and soil cover losses. Water-borne diseases are the main cause of morbidity in all the countries in the region, and poor sanitation compounds health problems in both urban and rural environments. Moreover, conflicts over water are increasing as population grows and the use of different technologies in agricultural production changes water flows in the streams and rivers.
High climate variability
The Greater Horn of Africa has the highest climate variability in terms of droughts, floods and untimely rainfall patterns, yet the least institutional capacity to build resilience. This is further complicated by environmental degradation as people move to marginal lands. At the same time, there is a profusion of programs that need a lot of attention, for example climate change strategies, poverty reduction, and energy needs--all require comprehensive policies that have great impact on water management.
Development of water policies and program strategies
GWP Eastern Africa's priority is the development of a water policy and program strategy that provides a coherent and systemic framework through which to address these numerous demands. The IWRM process has in several countries already created a better understanding of the need for inter-sectoral collaboration; if sufficiently integrated in national development planning it will significantly reduce the threats from a changing climate.
Knowledge sharing, dialogue and communication
GWP Eastern Africa has identified increased knowledge sharing, dialogue and communication as the key factors for strengthening stakeholder engagement in policy formulation and implementation. GWP Eastern Africa also works to enhance the linkage between local, national and regional/transboundary roles and responsibilities; as this vital component is often missing in many initiatives that design interventions for only one level, leading to mismatches and an inability to provide adequate backstopping and optimal use of the limited technical and administrative capacities.
Awareness raising among decision-makers
GWP Eastern Africa aims to spur political action through awareness raising among decision-makers. This is needed to create an enabling environment for solving the water problems of the region.