Infrastructure and Gender mainstreaming high on agenda during Malawi Water Week consultations

The Government of Malawi, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development assured that the Malawi government is working hard to address the challenges rocking the water sector in the country. Malawi hosted the SADC national week whose focus is on mainstreaming gender in water issues. The event was held from 13-15 May, 2015 at Crossroads Hotel, Lilongwe. The SADC Water Week, held under the theme “From Vision to Action” was attended by delegates from government ministries, civil society and the private sector. 

Speaking at the opening of the Malawi Water Week, the Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza noted that the SADC National Water Week provided an opportunity for countries to reflect on their water challenges, and raise awareness on the region’s water programmes for better and improved water resource management and development.

Speaking in line with the Conference theme: “From Vision to Action”, the Minister told delegates of the government’s intention of addressing water related challenges, such as investing in infrastructure as a way of ensuring sustainable water resources management in the country. The Minister said: “the recent flood disaster which affected the country’s 15 districts should act as a wake-up call for players to change their approach on issues of water. As a country we can’t solve the problem of water shortages in a day but we are trying as much as possible to improve the situation,”

Whilst acknowledging water shortages in the country, Minister of assured that Malawi government is working hard to address the challenges rocking the water sector.

Mr. Phera Ramoeli during the official opening of the SADC Water Week in Malawi further noted that infrastructure development should be promoted and supported in order to help countries move from being dependent and cushion itself against effects of climate change.

Mr. Ramoeli further urged governments to do more to interpret its numerous policies on water into action to guarantee that citizens have access to clean and potable water. He cited instruments such as the African Water Vision for Life and SADC Water Vision and appealed to respective governments to do more to ensure availability of water to its citizens.

Speaking during the joint session for media and youth, He further advised media on the need to provide balanced reporting on gender. In addition to infrastructure issues discussed, it was noted that human systems are critical in addressing a number of water and water-related challenges in Malawi namely: poor catchment management, low capacity for the implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Efficiency Plan, poor stakeholder coordination, poor information management systems, low maintenance of water delivery systems, and water quality degradation. Some human systems’ failures are associated with cross-cutting concerns, such Gender, which impact on water resource management. In the light of the above, he noted that there is need for capacity building and mobilization of financial resources in order to address the highlighted concerns.

“We have to move from these visions and policies to action on the ground. Building dams, boreholes, barrages in articulating water supply to people. We need to act now,” Ramoeli said.

The National consultations in Malawi went towards consolidating Malawi’s input into the SADC Water Regional Strategic Action Plan formulation.