In a breakthrough for water, the 7th African Development Forum held in Addis Ababa in October put water on the infrastructure agenda alongside energy, transport and communications. This marked a turning point in overcoming resistance to large water projects stemming from negative perceptions of social and environmental impacts.
Key decision makers at last acknowledged the role of water in climate change, food security and economic development. Guidelines for managing development projects prepared under the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Development (SWID) initiative have helped policy and decision makers, managers and professionals, and civil society recognise that, if managed appropriately, developing water infrastructure can have significant social, economic and environmental benefits.
SWID was initiated in July 2007 by GWP Eastern Africa and GWP Southern Africa during the Partnership for Africa's Water Development programme, with InWent, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) supporting the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and Eastern Africa Community (EAC). The work initiated by GWP and some regional Partners has been taken up by the regional economic communities who now own the programme and have allocated resources to support it.