AU-NEPAD African Network of Centres of Excellence on Water Science and Technology (ACEWATER phase II)

Project name :


Budget :

more than 5M$
© European Commission

AU-NEPAD African Centres of Excellence on Water Sciences and Technology

Within the framework of the project "NEPAD African Centres of Excellence (CoEs) on Water Sciences and Technology (ACEWATER phaseII)", UNESCO implements activities to support the establishment of a Human Capacity Development programme in the water sector in Africa. The AU-NEPAD Water Centres of Excellence (AU-NEPAD Water CoEs) are African Networks of Higher Education and Research Institutions who conduct high-end scientific research on water and related sectors, in order to support informed decision-making and provide policy guidelines to governments. The ACEWATER II Project is funded by the European Union.


What is it about?

The Focus of the ACEWATER II Project is on:

1. Establishing National Human Capacity Development Programmes addressing junior and senior professional and technician level human capacity and skills challenges in the 13 participating AU-NEPAD CoE Countries;

2. Implementing the Human Capacity Development Programmes in these countries within three Regions in Africa, in collaboration with Government Authorities and relevant Higher Education and Technical Vocational Institutions to build capacity for sustainable development in the Water Sector.

Geographical scope: three Regions: Southern Africa, Western Africa, and Central/East Africa.

Overview of activities: Supporting the CoEs at national level in identifying needs and defining priorities in the Water Sector with national governments through a multi-stakeholder participative approach. This involves baseline studies, stakeholder mapping and sector needs analyses including consultations with national partners and stakeholders at all levels. National Dialogues will be organized and implemented around capacity building in the water sector with all stakeholders and partners in order to: define priorities from the needs assessments, design and validate a National Framework for human capacity building in the water sector and then to implement the National Frameworks with partners and stakeholders. This involves the design and implementation of new trainings, courses or modules addressing junior and senior professionals and technicians. A complementary action of a Regional Student and Staff Exchange to promote mobility and exchange of skills will also be implemented.

NEPAD Water Centres of Excellence


The ACEWATER II project is funded by the European Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO).


Implementation Partners

UNESCO: The United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization within UNESCO’s Water Division. The Water Division, which forms part of UNESCO Science, has a long experience and presence in Africa implementing water-related programmes and human capacity development.

European Commission's Directorate General Joint Research Centre (DG JRC): The JRC employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy including sharing know-how with EU countries, the scientific community and international partners

The AU-NEPAD Network of Water Centres of Excellence: The AU-NEPAD Networks of Water CoEs is a network of higher education and research institutions conducting high-end scientific research and capacity development in water and related sectors, in order to support informed decision-making and achieve impact in societies. They were launched in 2003 by the NEPAD Agency, which later became the Planning and Coordinating Agency (NEPAD Agency) in 2010 as an outcome of the integration of NEPAD into AU structures and processes. The NEPAD Agency is now the implementing agency of the African Union that facilitates and coordinates the development of continent-wide programmes and projects. One of their Core Areas of Work are Human Capital Development (Skills, Youth, Employment and Women Empowerment). Find out more about the new partnership for Africa's Development NEPAD

AMCOW Resolution - 2013

EXCO/11/2013/CAIRO/17: EXCO (Executive Committee) notes the growing human resources shortages to achieve water and sanitation goals in Africa and directs the Secretariat to work with the AUC and NEPAD Centres of Excellence to develop a Human Capacity Development Programme aimed at addressing junior professional and technician level capacity challenges in the water sector. (Decision of the 11th AMCOW Executive Committee of the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) on 6th June 2013 in Cairo, Egypt).

News articles

Explore the latest developments of the ACEWATER II project

Training new WASH professionals in Sudan

Sudan faces severe deficiencies in both water quality and quantity, leading to the spread of infectious diseases due to poor hygiene and inadequate sanitation systems. This is compounded by an insufficient number of adequately trained professionals in the Water Sector to provide adequate services. To address these serious sector challenges, UNESCO and the Water Research Centre (WRC) of the University of Khartoum launched a series of training courses for special Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) qualifications that educates young professionals and technicians in the African Water Sector.

Read more

The Sustainable Development Goals

The ACEWATER II project contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals:

Quality Education

Obtaining a quality education is the foundation to creating sustainable development. In addition to improving quality of life, access to inclusive education can help equip locals with the tools required to develop innovative solutions to the world’s greatest problems.

Find out more about SDG 4

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

While the world has achieved progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment under the Millennium Development Goals (including equal access to primary education between girls and boys), women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence in every part of the world.

Find out more about SDG 5

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in and there is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this. However, due to bad economics or poor infrastructure, millions of people including children die every year from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene.

Find out more about SDG 6

Decent Work and Economic Growth

Roughly half the world’s population still lives on the equivalent of about US$2 a day with global unemployment rates of 5.7% and having a job doesn’t guarantee the ability to escape from poverty in many places. This slow and uneven progress requires us to rethink and retool our economic and social policies aimed at eradicating poverty.

Find out more about SDG 8

Partnerships for the Goals

A successful sustainable development agenda requires partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society. These inclusive partnerships built upon principles and values, a shared vision, and shared goals that place people and the planet at the centre, are needed at the global, regional, national and local level.

Find out more about SDG 17

the ACEWATER II NEPAD Project Factsheet