Windhoek – African governments have been urged to provide citizens with potable drinking water, sanitation services and rural amenities in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
This was said by African ministers of environment, water and agriculture at a virtual meeting this week, which was held to find solutions to Africa’s development challenges.
About 30 percent of SADC citizens do not have access to potable water and sanitation facilities, especially in rural areas.
Namibian Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Calle Schlettwein emphasised the need for financial and technical support for his country in its quest to improve availability of potable water and sanitation.
“In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, over 400 million people still do not have access to basic water services. The situation is even more alarming for sanitation as over 767 million Africans do not have access to basic sanitation and hygiene services and over 250 million people still practice open defecation,” he said.
Minister Schlettwein continued, “The water sector is further challenged by climate change, inadequate policies and regulatory frameworks, weak coordination among actors, weak institutional and human resource capacity and weak monitoring, reporting and learning systems.”
He called for international collaboration to accelerate progress towards achieving SDGs associated with water, sanitation and rural amenities by coming up with innovative financing and technical support.
“Despite these challenges, financial flows to the sector are not adequate and indeed declined sharply from US$3.8 billion in the year 2000 to US$1.7 billion in 2017. The current financial flows are but a fraction of the actual need and must be significantly enhanced without pushing already vulnerable economies into debt crises. In addition, the water sector is further challenged by climate change, inadequate policies and regulatory frameworks, weak coordination among actors, weak institutional and human resource capacity and weak monitoring, reporting and learning systems,” Minister Schlettwein said.
He highlighted that there was an exponential demand for water in Africa due to population growth, socio-economic development and large-scale industrial and agriculture requirements.
“We call for a global water monitoring alliance, an integrated water and climate stocktake, cooperative water and climate adaptation action across boundaries and long-term financing arrangements to respond to the needs. Water action is the best answer to climate change,” he said.