Malagasy stakeholders contribute to Fourth Phase of Regional Water Programme formulation process

National consultations towards consolidating Madagascar’s input into the RSAP formulation were held at the Ivato Conference Centre (CCI) on 4th and 5th June in Antananarivo. It saw the attendance of more than 200 various national stakeholders from all water-related sectors in Madagascar. Media experts as well as youth were fully represented.

Mr Phera Ramoeli, SADC Water Division stated that the SADC Water week’s initiative that was being implemented throughout the SADC region is considered as a blueprint towards adapting climate change. The meeting was officially opened by the Special advisor to the President, Mr Jaobarison Rajaonarivony who applauded the whole initiative mentioning that youth and media experts can contribute positively to a much needed sustainability. He recognized that Madagascar has embraced Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) although the concept is not yet well understood among populations and all sectors within the country.
Four Malagasy ministers were present at the opening ceremony, among which the Minister of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Dr Benedicte Johanita Ndahimananjara, who reiterated that the timing was just perfect for Madagascar given their political context and was hopeful that this initiative would promote a better understanding of the relevance of the IWRM concept in Madagascar and enhance regional cooperation in order to achieve all SADC goals.
Mr Harimanga Raymond Randrema emphasized the fact that water resources management plays a critical role in poverty reduction in Madagascar. He also mentioned that indigenous knowledge is still being used in Madagascar and needed to be promoted more towards achieving sustainable development.
Mrs Patricia Ramarojaona, scientist and researcher, mentioned that climate change’s impacts are being felt heavily through water resources in Madagascar and expressed the need to ensure that adaptation is prioritised in the RSAP IV formulation. The following were identified amongst others, as constraints to using and valuing water as engine for economic growth, poverty alleviation and sustainable development in Madagascar: limited data on water resources, insufficient knowledge on the quantity and quality of readily available water resources in Madagascar, poor knowledge of stakeholders on regional legal documents and frameworks, lack of technical an operational capacity within the sector in Madagascar and lack of financial resources dedicated to support development of the water sector in Madagascar. It was stated that the investment in hydropower, which remains a highly untapped field in Madagascar, could support the economic development of the country and the region and should therefore be encouraged.
At the end of very rich and fruitful deliberations, Mr Phera thanked all participants for their vibrant participation and assured all the Malagasy stakeholders present that the thorough and relevant contributions will be taken on board when formulating the RSAP IV and that Madagascar will be given priority somehow to make up for the opportunities they could have missed due to the sanction. On behalf of the Minister of Water, sanitation and hygiene, Mr Harimanga R. Randrema thanked the SADC/GWP SA delegation as well as all participants and officially closed the SADC Water Week in Madagascar. Lastly, before all could leave, the laureates of the photovoice competition that was launched few weeks before the SADC Water Week were recognized and awarded prizes (smartphones, i-pads and vouchers).