The workshop aimed at reaching consensus on the strategic focus areas of the WRM-PAP; and, agreeing on the modalities and roadmap for the finalization of both the WRM-PAP and the comprehensive list of WRM indicators to strengthen reporting on Theme 2 of the AMCOW Work Programme, as well as their operationalization. The expected outputs entailed a final draft of the WRM-PAP to be presented for the consideration of the AMCOW-EXCO and an agreed roadmap and terms of reference for finalising and facilitating the implementation of the WRM-PAP.
At the 22nd Ordinary Session in January 2014, the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government (HoSG) of the African Union (AU) took a decision (Assembly AU.516 (XXII)) endorsing, among others, a recommendation of the Executive Council of the AU directing the Commission of the AU (AUC) in collaboration with the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) to conduct a study to determine levels of groundwater available in Member States with a view to support irrigated agriculture. A subsequent dialogue process to develop a plan to implement the AU Assembly Decision 516 (XXII) determined that the objectives of the Executive Council recommendation would be best served through the preparation and eventual implementation of a targeted programme of key activities. Those key activities should be prioritised from existing strategic and planning documents of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and River and Lake Basin Organisations (R/LBOs) relating to water resources development and management. The rationale being that:
- the bulk of the groundwater resources of Member States are part of shared aquifers;
- groundwater constitutes part of the water resources endowment of the Member States the utility of which – especially for irrigated agriculture – cannot be assessed in isolation; and,
- a recognition of the tremendous work done by the RECs, R/LBOs and Groundwater Commissions in planning for the development, utilisation and management of Africa’s water resources.
It is against this background that the 9th Ordinary Session of the General Assembly of AMCOW endorsed, as two of the major deliverables of Theme 2 (Transboundary WRM) of the AMCOW Work Programme for 2014 – 2016, plans to:
- prepare – for the consideration of the AMCOW-EXCO – a thematic Priority Action Plan (PAP) for addressing water resources management (WRM) and mainstreaming AMCOWs Strategic Framework on Water Security and Climate Resilient Development; and,
- improve data and information on Africa's water resources.
AMCOW, in collaboration with the AUC – and with support from both the Government of Germany, through GIZ, and the Global Water Partnership (GWP) – is thus embarking on a number of activities to deliver the related outputs. A draft of the WRM-PAP together with preliminary outcomes of the tasks to strengthen the Africa Water and Sanitation Sector Report on the WRM sub-sector has been elaborated, based on existing strategic and resource development plans of RECs, R/LBOs and Groundwater Commissions. The draft WRM-PAP will be validated by the contributing partners including RECs, ANBO, the R/LBOs, and Groundwater Commissions before its presentation for the consideration of the AMCOW-EXCO.
As such, the participants in the meeting agreed on a strategic approach and roadmap to: (i) finalize the Water Resources Management Priority Action Plan (WRM-PAP); (ii) develop a comprehensive list of WRM indicators to strengthen reporting on Theme 2 of the AMCOW Work Programme; and (iii) elaborate a WRM-PAP Implementation and Funding Strategy.
In Dakar, the AMCOW EXCO took the decision on 28th May 2015 to move ahead to plan for finalisation of the Priority Action Plan (PAP) for addressing Water Resources Management and mainstreaming AMCOWs Strategic Framework on Water Security and Climate Resilient Development.