Vulnerable populations in the Sahel region are faced with a number of challenges related to difficult access to water resources. A workshop, involving environmental experts, technicians and professionals from the water sector is being held in Bamako, Mali, from September 1 to 9, 2014. In total, 21 participants from Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Mali and Senegal will benefit from this training.
Organized by UNESCO offices in Dakar and Bamako, the workshop aims to promote the proper management of surface water and more notably groundwater resources, these being the main sources of perennial water in that they are less vulnerable to pollution, evaporation and climate variability.
A major issue for countries of the Sahel
“A lasting solution to water issues in the Sahel must necessarily involve the knowledge, evaluation and monitoring of water resources and especially groundwater, subject to the adverse effects of climate change”, said Mr. Attaher Ag Mohamed, Representative of the Malian Minister of Environment, Water and Sanitation. He emphasized the need to master the latest techniques for sustainable and peaceful management of water resources in arid and semi-arid areas of the Sahel.
Indeed, with the accelerated population growth, economic pressures and climate change currently prevailing in countries of the Sahel, the goal of this training is primarily to promote capacity building of local experts on groundwater recharge assessment methods as well as artificial recharge management techniques, so that they can in turn share this knowledge with the relevant authorities. Thus, viable solutions could be reached in the future to resolve the crises that affect rural populations and foster the region’s socio-economic development.
A sustainable and integrated management of water resources
“Our hope is that following this workshop, the lessons learned will have a significant impact on the way groundwater resources are treated in each participating country and that your contributions, as participants, will support the management of existing water resources, and lead to a sustainable and integrated management of water” added Mr. Lazare Eloundou, UNESCO Representative for Mali, as part of his welcoming address.
In addition to the Representative of the Malian Minister of Environment, Water and Sanitation and the UNESCO Representative for Mali, the workshop was launched in the presence of representatives from the Japanese Embassy and the Malian National Commission for UNESCO. Experts from UNESCO Dakar and UNESCO Bamako are providing animation and facilitation of the workshop.
This 8-day training will also be punctuated by practical examples such as the visit of a gravity dam and 18 large-diameter wells at the site of Soninkeni, approximately 35 km from Bamako.