West Africa ready for the United Nations (UN) Water Conference in New York

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, through the Commission's Water Resources Management Centre (WRMC), organised from 13 to 15 March 2023 in Lomé, Togo, the Regional Preparatory Concertation for the United Nations (UN) Water Conference of March 2023 and on the Strengthening of West African Cooperation on Water-related Issues

The meeting aimed at developing relations between States, River Basin Organisations (RBOs) and regional organisations in order to ensure a concerted, integrated, sustainable and peaceful management of West African water resources and to strengthen the region's participation in international debates on water. It also enabled the participants to:

  • Exchange on the stakes of the 2023 United Nations Conference in New York and share the results of the African consultations organised in order to complete the said results with the West African specificities and priorities for the formulation of commitments;
  • Strengthen the capacity of representatives of ECOWAS Member States and West African institutions to formulate clear commitments for the Conference;
  • Identify and formulate West African commitments in relation to the priorities of the Africa Water Investment Programme (AIP) and other regional initiatives;
  • Make recommendations for strengthening regional cooperation and synergies for effective implementation of IWRM to ensure water security and address other water-related challenges in West Africa and to implement the outcomes of the Conference.
  • The Regional Concertation brought together the representatives of ECOWAS and UEMOA Member States as well as the Focal Points of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in ECOWAS Member States, the representatives of River Basin Organisations (RBOs) of the West African region, the representatives of West African and continental regional and sub-regional institutions of the water and climate related sectors

The meeting was marked by several presentations, the first of which on "The International Decade for Action, Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028: West Africa's perspective for the global agenda" was made by the President of GWP-WA, Mr. Abdoulaye SENE.

At the end of the three-day meeting, the participants formulated recommendations related to the five (5) themes of the New York Conference on Water. Proposals for commitment were also formulated by the regional consultation on each of the 5 themes with the specification of potential actors including the Governments of the Member States, the RBOs, the UEMOA and ECOWAS Commissions, the Development Partners, the Financing Structures and Development Banks, the Research Structures, the NGOs.

The participants urged the Member States and other stakeholders to enhance the results of the Regional Concertation by registering their commitments on the dedicated website before the opening of the UN Water Conference. The objective is to ensure a good visibility of the priorities of the West African region in the Water Agenda of the Global Agenda, which will emerge from the UN Water Conference.

The participants recommended the holding of a meeting of ECOWAS Ministers in charge of water with the participation of UEMOA, GWP-WA and CILSS, to adopt the roadmap for the implementation of the Global Agenda for Action on Water for the achievement of the objectives of the International Decade for Action, "Water for Sustainable Development" 2018-2028" in West Africa following the New York Conference. A Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government could be organised thereafter to take the necessary decisions to bridge the investment gap to ensure water security in the countries of the region by 2030.

The official opening ceremony of the Regional Concertation was presided over by Mr. Bolidja TIEM, Minister of Water and Village Hydraulics who expressed, on behalf of the Government of the Togolese Republic, his feelings of gratitude to the Commissioner in charge of Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalisation of the ECOWAS Commission.

Download the summary outcomes of the meeting