UNESCO African Regional Training Workshop on Effective Water Quality Management and Emerging Pollutants in Water and Wastewater

When :

from Tuesday 25 September, 2018
to Thursday 27 September, 2018

Type of event :

Category 7-Seminar and Workshop

Where :

Oak Plaza Hotel – East Airport, Accra, Ghana, Accra, Ghana

Contact :

Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa (s.zandaryaa@unesco.org); Gbemi Omoloju Yaya (omime93@yahoo.com); Grego, Simone (s.grego@unesco.org); Boateng, Melody (m.ocloo@unesco.org)

The UNESCO African Regional Training Workshop on Effective Water Quality Management and Emerging Pollutants in Water and Wastewater will take place in Accra, Ghana, from 25 to 27 September 2018. The training workshop is organized collaboratively by the UNESCO-IHP International Initiative on Water Quality (IIWQ), UNESCO Offices in Abuja and Accra and the Regional Centre on Integrated River Basin Management (RC-IRBM), under the auspices of UNESCO.

Good quality water is essential for sustaining human well-being, livelihoods and a healthy environment. The United Nations 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize the central importance of improving and protecting the quality of world’s freshwater resources for sustainable development. The SDG 6 “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” calls for immediate, oriented and global action (SDG Target 6.3) to “improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally”. The potential threat of the increasing water pollution by hazardous chemicals to human health and ecosystems is emphasized also in other SDGs—in particular, in SDG 3 (health) and SDG 12 (sustainable production and consumption)—which stress the urgent need to significantly reduce the release of hazardous chemicals to air, water and soil to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.

The main objective of the training workshop is to build capacity for effective water quality management for the SDGs implementation, with particular focus on enhancing scientific and policy capacity on managing emerging pollutants, which include a wide range of new pollutants found in our water resources such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products, agricultural pesticides, microplastics, and household and industrial chemicals.

The specific objectives of the workshops are:
• To raise the importance of improving water quality and addressing emerging pollutants for the SDGs achievement on national and regional agendas;
• To provide the state-of-the-art scientific knowledge and information on emerging pollutants;
• To enhance understanding and awareness about emerging pollutants among stakeholders;
• To provide a platform for countries to build a regional collaboration network for sharing of experiences, lessons learned and good practices on emerging pollutants;
• To promote collaboration on emerging pollutants at the regional level, including opportunities to develop joint scientific programmes and research projects.

For this purpose, the training is designed to be holistic and comprehensive in terms of the content and depth of knowledge offered and covers a wide-range of topics, including: emerging pollutants in the context of the SDGs; sources and pathways of emerging pollutants; monitoring and assessment; technical solutions to reduce and control of emerging pollutants in wastewater; policy approaches to managing emerging pollutants; the socioeconomic dimension; and future research and policy priorities. In addition, the training is complemented by UNESCO-IHP International Initiative on Water Quality Case Studies on Emerging Pollutants, as well as by case studies from countries and regional organizations.

The workshop will start with the participation of H.E. Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Honorable Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources of Ghana, and bring together 61 mid- to senior-level participants from 41 countries from West, Central, East and Southern Africa and eight regional organizations in Africa. The participants, with a balanced gender ratio, represent government organizations (30); universities and research institutions (11); regional basin organizations (5) and other water-related stakeholders (22) such as water utilities and professional organizations, NGOs, the private sector.

This training workshop is organized in the framework of the UNESCO-IHP International Initiative on Water Quality (IIWQ) flagship Project on “Emerging Pollutants in Wastewater Reuse in Developing Countries”, funded by Sweden. The project aims to support UNESCO Member States to strengthen their scientific, technical and policy capacities to manage human health and environmental risks caused by emerging pollutants in water and wastewater. The strengthening of these capacities of Member States will help improve water quality and wastewater management, including safe reuse of wastewater, and enhance water and food security. The UNESCO-IHP International Initiative on Water Quality Regional Training Workshops on Emerging Pollutants will be organized in other regions such as in Asia (Jakarta, Indonesia – 27-29 November 2018), Arab States and Latin America.

The workshop, co-organized and supported by RC-IRBM (Nigeria), also demonstrates the active contribution of UNESCO category 2 water centres to UNESCO’s objectives and activities.