Water is central to Africa's development. To implement the climate change commitments in the Sharm el Sheikh Declaration and address the threat of climate change in Africa, the management of water resources must move to the top of the development agenda. This is the overall goal of the Water, Climate and Development Programme for Africa, that runs from May 2011 to April 2016.

The African Union Heads of State and Government adopted the Sharm el Sheikh Declaration on Water and Sanitation in July 2008, emphasizing their political priority for water and sanitation. The Declaration commits countries to put in place adaptation measures to improve the resilience of countries to the increasing threat of climate change and variability to water resources.

In November 2010, during the 3rd Africa Water Week, the extra-ordinary session of the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW) adopted a decision recommending that the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and partners operationalise the Water, Climate and Development Programme (WACDEP). The programme supports the implementation of climate change commitments in the Sharm el Sheikh Declaration and is part of AMCOW’s work programme.

The Water, Climate and Development Programme aims to integrate water security and climate resilience in development planning processes, build climate resilience and support countries to adapt to a new climate regime through increased investments in water security.

Adaptation to climate change converges on the goal of water security for all: harnessing water’s social and productive potential and limiting its destructive force. Water security provides a focus for adaptation and a framework for action.

The future resilience of human communities to climate change-related impacts depends on the success of water management interventions.

Initial funding will be through GWP’s Financing Partners. AMCOW and GWP will commit to grow the funding base by engaging additional partners. The programme is initially expected to cost Euro 12.7 million.

Programme implementation will be led by governments in collaboration with Regional Economic Communities, River Basin Organisations and AMCOW, and facilitated by GWP with other partners. A GWP programme team will oversee day-to-day management. An advisory group will be established from key African bodies and partners, including the AMCOW Technical Committee and Regional Economic Communities.