Zambian Government and stakeholders attach great importance in the water agenda

The Zambian Government and numerous stakeholders have attached great importance to the water agenda as evidenced in its participation in the SDG Consultation on Water held on 5th March 2014 at Cresta Golfview Hotel, Lusaka, Zambia.

Speaking during the official opening of the meeting, the Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development. Honourable Christopher Yaluma reaffirmed Zambia’s past and future commitments between 2000-2015 to meeting the Millenium Development Goal target for water, of reducing by half the population without access to safe water, and the sanitation target of reducing by half the population of people without access to adequate sanitation.

It was noted that the proposion of population with access to safe water supply in rural areas is 66% and in urban areas is 82% respectively, while proportion of population with access to adequate sanitation in rural and urban areas stands at 51% and 60% respectively.

The Minister emphasized that the Governments vision is that these percentages will be increased to over 80% for both water and sanitation by 2016. This can be evidenced by the programmes that are being implemented like the National Urban and Rural Water Supply and Sanitaion  Programme and Water Resources Infrastructure Development Programmes. Current programmes such as the Establishment of an Integrated Water Resources Management Information System (IWRMIS), gave evidence of the amount of support the government is receiving from stakeholders to improve water management in the nation.

Highlighted as a past achievement was the development of an Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Efficiency Plan for Zambia. The plan, developed in 2008 set out to achieve equitable and sustainable use, development and management of water resources for wealth creation, socio development and environmental sustainability. The Minister stressed the need for Government to begin to plan for development in an integrated manner with other key actors in the sector.

The Minister further stated that Government had created an enabling environment by the development of the revised national water policy (2010) and the water resources management act (2011) which provides the legal and institutional frameworks for the water sector. Development actors were encouraged to work closely with government and embrace existing policies in order to move forwards in the development of the sector.

Speaking during her presentation on the role and process of the SDG Consultation process, the Global Water Partnership Southern Africa’s Executive Secretary Ms Ruth Beukman reaffirmed GWP’s support to the SDG Consultation Process.  Stakeholder also called upon UNDP to continue supporting the consultation process on the Sustainable Development Goals to catchment areas in Zambia so that the Final Document has water at the Centre of Post 2015 Goals.

Forty cross-sectoral participants came together in a consultative meeting to firstly reflect on Zambia’ s achievements of targets set out in the National Development Frameworks and the Millenium Development Goals for Water and Sanitation, and secondly to agree to country needs and priorities regarding the post 2015 agenda for water and sustainable development. The consultation, which was facilitaed by the Zambia Country Water Partnership was used as a platform to rethink the water agenda for Zambia.