January 27, 2022 (ENTEBBE, Uganda): The Executive Secretary of IGAD, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, yesterday inaugurated the 2nd IGAD Water Forum Dialogue in Entebbe along with the Minister of Water and Environment of Uganda, Hon. Sam Cheptoris, and Minister of State for Regional Affairs of Uganda, Hon. John Mulinbwa.
Cabinet Ministers, Permanent Secretaries from the IGAD member countries attended the opening ceremony which was held on Day 2 of the Forum.
The 2nd IGAD Regional Water Dialogue Forum is the opportunity to share experiences and make political commitment on the issues surrounding water. Online and physical participants to this hybrid Forum include Member States’ Ministers and High-Level Decision Makers, Government Officials, Sector specialists; academia at a regional and global level; development partners; International Agencies including UN Organisations, the media and Civil Society Organisations.
In his opening statement, Dr Workneh reminded participants that 75% of #IGAD region was “constituted of Arid & Semi-Arid Lands, & are the most reliant on groundwater as the largest source for the communities living on the edge of survival; hence the importance of this Forum”.
“The ‘water gap’ is bigger than the ‘digital divide’ where a lot of effort has been made to bring important telecommunications infrastructure to the remote parts of our region, but at the same time not enough effort has been made to bring similar life-saving water infrastructure to vulnerable communities. In an environment of water scarcity, both natural & transboundary groundwater resources are uniquely placed to play a fundamental role in addressing major development challenges in the region”, he added.
The three-day forum is to discuss the key water development challenges of the IGAD region with a major focus on building joint knowledge, development strategies and potential projects requiring groundwater development.
It will cumulate into the initiation of joint knowledge gathering and sharing among the member states, proposals for joint transboundary projects dependent on the development of groundwater resources and surface groundwater resources, inclusion of a wider network of development partners and stakeholder.
The Forum is to consider six main areas:
- Groundwater for Peace and Stability;
- Groundwater for Climate Change and Drought Resilience;
- Capacity Building in Groundwater;
- Groundwater for Socio- Economic Development;
- Innovation in Groundwater Financing and Technology Development; and
- Financing Water Sector.