International Hydrological Programmes contribution to the 7th Africa Water Week

When :

from Monday 29 October, 2018
to Saturday 3 November, 2018

Type of event :

Category 8-Symposium

Where :

Libreville, Gabon

Contact :

UNESCO's International Hydrological Programme (IHP) is contributing to the 7th Africa Water Week in Libreville, Gabon (29 October-2 November 2018) with sessions devoted to issues such as gender equality in integrated water resources management (IWRM), capacity development in Africa’s water sector, transboundary water cooperation, youth engagement, climate change, specific, measurable, achievable and time-bound (SMART) water management and a stronger role for IWRM in cooperation mechanisms in Africa. IHP closely cooperates with UNESCO’s World Water Assessment Programme as well as regional and country offices for this major event.
Monday 29 October

16:00-17:30: Integrating Gender Equality and Female Empowerment in IWRM as a Strategy to Achieving Water Security
Gender inequality in the access to, management, and use of water remains a critical issue in many countries, and continues to result in harmful socio-economic consequences for women and girls. For this reason, gender equality continues to be one of UNESCO’s global priorities and cuts across UNESCO-IHP’s Eighth Strategy targeted at achieving water security. The UNESCO Water Family is an important part of UNESCO’s work toward achieving this strategy. Among the water family include the UNESCO Chair in Water, Women and Decision-making of Côte d’Ivoire, which will share with other African countries, its experience on gender mainstreaming in water management in rural areas. The UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) will also launch its updated Toolkit on Water and Gender for mainstreaming gender considerations into policies on water, which will include relevant new gender responsive indicators for water assessments in light of the Agenda 2030 and SDG 6 targets.

Tuesday 30 October

9:00-10:30: Fostering scientific and technical capacities and competencies in Africa’s Water Sector through the AU-NEPAD Water
Centres of Excellence (ACEWATER)
The Session will introduce the ACEWATER Programme currently being implemented by the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa's Development (AU-NEPAD) Water Centres of Excellence (CoEs) and coordinated by the EC Joint Research Centre and UNESCO IHP. The ACEWATER Programme fits well into the Sub Theme of Governance, especially in terms of IWRM and cooperation with its activities on transboundary river basins. Currently, three large research programs are addressing Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) nexus challenges and features across large river basins in Africa (Zambezi, Senegal, Niger and Nile). Sessions addressing this topic contribute to creating enabling environments for regional cooperation on shared water bodies and aquifers. To address Key Actors and Stakeholders more specifically, sessions will also introduce activities building regional cooperation in both research and educational institutions with the AU’s NEPAD Networks of African Water CoEs, the Regional Economic Commissions and the African Ministers Council of Water (AMCOW). Finally, to address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal for Water and Sanitation, SDG 6, the session will present the NEPAD CoEs activities of Human Capacity Development in Africa’s Water Sector, which aims to identify Human Capacity Gaps in both the Water Sector and the capacity of educational Institutions.

11:00-12:30: The role of science in building peace and international cooperation in transboundary waters

The peaceful management of transboundary waters requires the balancing of social, economic and environmental priorities, which may differ vastly across country borders. UNESCO-IHP has worked for several years developing tools and programmes to enhance knowledge and understanding of the needs of Member States in managing transboundary basins and the impacts of activities on these resources. UNESCO recognises that such knowledge provides a crucial foundation upon which to build consensus on how such resources should be sustainably managed. IHP is strengthening its program to better respond to the needs of UNESCO Member States, with priority in the African region. The session will feature presentations of the secretariat and representatives from UNESCO’s expert group on water diplomacy on UNESCO’s enhanced vision for water cooperation, followed by experts from UNESCO’s field office working on its programme in Lake Chad on promoting peace and sustainability. A panel discussion on science in water cooperation will follow.

14:00-15:30: Promoting Youth Engagement in Water Governance through Youth-Led Research and Innovation

There are 1.8 billion young people aged between 10 and 24, which is the largest youth population ever. They make up almost a quarter of the world's total population and ninety percent of them live in developing countries. The power of 1.8 billion people cannot be ignored and their engagement or lack thereof will determine if the SDGs are achieved and if the development agenda leaves no one behind. Additionally, Africa has the youngest population in the world and ‘ten of the world’s youngest countries’ are in Africa. Africa’s youthful population can be viewed as an opportunity for economic growth and/or a challenge if Africa does not plan for, or seize this opportunity. Africa is a global priority for UNESCO and youth is a priority group for the organization.

In keeping with UNESCO’s strategy of viewing Youth and Young Scientists not just as beneficiaries but as essential actors in finding solutions to the challenges they face. Youth are often just as active within their local communities as young water professionals; however, they sometimes face challenges with connecting with global networks. UNESCO-IHP recognizes youth and young water professionals as leaders, knowledge-holders (including indigenous knowledge) and innovators who can provide solutions for the achievement of SDG 6 and consequently, supports their participation in global water governance and decision-making processes.

Youth engagement in water governance is essential for water security and the achievement of SDG 6. However, it is now important to move beyond the recognition of the contribution of young scientists, to finding ways to mainstream the application of their innovation and the use of the knowledge and data they produced in policy processes at all levels. In this regard, the Youth Statement of the World Water Forum, called for increasing seed funding opportunities to support youth-led initiatives for scientific and technologically driven projects. It also recommended creating, “legitimate spaces for the representation, inclusion and participation of young people and youth groups in high level political, decision-making and organizational processes.’ The Africa water week presents a great opportunity to follow up on the decision of WWF and showcase youth research and innovation in Africa in the water sector.

14:00-15:30: Water Wise: The time is now to apply Smart Water Management (SWM)

Today's water resources management challenges are becoming more complex and interconnected. Water resource managers from local to global levels of government are finding new ways to cope with these changes, adapt to greater uncertainties and manage systemic risk. The key to addressing these challenges lies in gaining a better understanding of current water system operations, asset performance and what the future is likely to bring. This understanding leads advanced water management with ICT, appropriate technology, and data that is available, in exponentially its increasing volume and variety, from a multitude of sources including operating infrastructure, environment, customers, equipment providers, and many others.

In this regards, SWM as an integral part of the solution for water management challenges is becoming an area of increasing interest as governments from around the world integrate smart principles into their urban, regional and national strategies. The potential application of smart systems in water management is wide and includes solutions for water quality, water quantity, efficient irrigation, leaks, pressure and flow, floods, droughts and much more.

For effective and efficient SWM and applications of various ICT tools in the water sector, developing countries should develop and prioritize their policy actions and governance accordingly. Also, the need for cost-effective and efficient approaches to address these multiple challenges is evident. Water utilities and others are looking to SWM to deliver these needs. Regarding this, we should think about solution of economic growth in developing country and SDG’s realization through SWM with various ICTs.
In this session, invited experts will bring their knowledge and skills in water resources management, technology, engineering, planning and policy to share insights.

16.00-17.30: Hydro Climate Services for Water Security
The overall objective of the session is to improve our understanding about Hydro Climate Services and Water Security in Africa according to the current state of art, share experiences on climate risk management and adaptation, including available hydro climate services such as floods and droughts early warning system and build capacity on climate risk assessment methodologies, techniques and tools. The workshop will share best practices on climate risk management and adaptation through lessons learn from case studies, including disaster risk reduction and climate vulnerability assessment in Africa. The workshop will also improve the science-policy dialogue and develop a set of recommendations for an improved water security in the countries

Thursday 1 November

14:00-15:30: Promote sustainable groundwater resources management within the framework of IWRM in African Lake and River Basin Organisations and Regional Economic Commissions
This session aims at providing participants with elements to strengthen the coordination and collaboration capacity of African Lake and River Basin Organisations (L/RBOs), Regional Economic Commissions (RECs) and cooperative frameworks for transboundary groundwater management. It will do so through a moderated (panel) discussion with interactive involvement of the audience in order to share experiences from Africa and discuss current challenges such as development / integration of groundwater resources in institutional structures such as L/RBOs and RECs. This session will also be the launch of a Special Edition of the UNESCO-BGR WHYMAP River and Groundwater Basins of Africa Map.