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26-07-2017, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in partnership with the World Bank this morning opened a two-day workshop aimed at considering The role of Groundwater in Drought Resilience in the IGAD Region under the chairmanship of the Director of Boundary and Transboundary Rivers Affairs Directorate of Ethiopia, Mr. Teshome Atnafi, the Programme Manager of Natural Resources and Renewable Energy, Mr Daher Elmi, and Senior Water Resources Management Specialist-World Bank Washington, Mr. Marcus Wijnen.

The objective of the workshop is to inform Member States’ ministries in charge of water resources management of the World Bank Regional Groundwater Initiative (RGI) developed under the Regional Initiative in Support of the Horn of Africa (2014), and in view of adjusting the RGI initial steps in coordination with the most relevant experts in the IGAD region. Also, the participants are to debate on the potential solutions and ways forward to improve the status of both the groundwater knowledge base and the capacity to manage the resources in a way that optimizes the benefits of the resource in building resilience.

Mr. Fred Mwango, Regional Water Expert-IGAD, noted that Groundwater resources management has not attracted lots of resources in proportion to the importance of its utilization in a region largely arid and semi arid in size. That is why he thanked the World Bank for showing interest in supporting IGAD, “a region that is repeatedly visited by drought”. “We are glad of the high turn-out of officials from IGAD Member States which shows a strong commitment in a collaborative work, and the very significant presence of water Experts from inside and outside the region”, he said.

“The World Bank suggests an approach that combines different funding sources to advance components of a regional groundwater agenda in the IGAD region that would strengthen ongoing efforts in the region in the field of drought resilience and water resources management by regional and global partners”, were the words by Mr. Marcus Wijnen for the World Bank.

Mr. Teshome, as Chief Guest of Honour and Chair for the opening session, welcomed the audience and declared the workshop officially open. He highlighted the importance of cooperation in regional matters.

The objective of the World Bank Regional Groundwater Initiative (RGI) is to assess the potential of the regional groundwater resources, considering their variability in space and time, to strengthen drought resilience and contribute to poverty reduction.

The IGAD region covers 12 rivers basins, either entirely or in part. The proposed RGI project will focus on the whole IGAD Region.

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