Participants attending the meeting include; AMCOW-TAC Chair and TAC vice Chairs, representative of the Chair of ANBO, representatives of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), River and Lake Basin Organisations (R/LBOs) and Groundwater Commissions, AUC representative, AMCOW-Secretariat Focal Point on Groundwater Resources, representatives from GWP – WACDEP and representative from the NEPAD Water Centres of Excellence programme.
The validation meeting aims at; reaching consensus on the proposed key interventions; and, agreeing on the modalities and roadmap for the implementation of the WRM-PAP as one of the flagship programmes of AMCOW and the AUC. At the end of the workshop; a final draft of the WRM-PAP needs to be published and an agreed roadmap for facilitating the implementation of the WRM-PAP needs to be in place.
This meeting comes after a decision taken by the Heads of State and Government (HoSG) of the African Union (AU) at the 22nd Ordinary Session in January 2014, 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 RECs and R/LBOs relating to water resources development and management. The rationale being that:
(i) the bulk of the groundwater resources of Member States are part of shared aquifers;
(ii) 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,
(iii) 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.