UNU-INWEH Workshop Examines Capacity Gaps & Needs for Water Security in Africa

  • 2018•08•01     Hamilton

    On 22 June 2018, the UNU Institute for Water Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) jointly organised a day-long workshop to map the “Africa2030WaterSecure — Capacity Gaps and Needs for Water Security” as part of its Water and Climate Dialogue Series.

    The collaborative workshop organised by UNU-INWEH, McMaster University, the African Center for Aquatic Research and Education (ACARE), and the Sustainable Water Future Programme of the Future Earth.

    Africa2030WaterSecure stemmed from 2030WaterSecure, a global joint initiative of Water Future and UNU-INWEH) to develop capacity by combining state-of-the-art water knowledge with modern, personalised communication tools in order to tackle the 21st century water challenges and facilitate effective implementation of the 2030 Water Agenda. 2030WaterSecure outlines capacity gaps and needs of water security and water-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ties closely with the Water Security and Nexus project of UNU-INWEH.

    The workshop welcomed multiple stakeholders, including experts from 7 African countries.

    The first session included presentations by UNU-INWEH Director Dr Vladimir Smakhtin and UNU-INWEH Senior Researcher Dr Hamid Mehmood. UNU-INWEH Capacity Building Coordinator and Senior Researcher Nidhi Nagabhatla moderated the session and launched 2030WaterSecure for the African experts. Dr Nagabhatla explained the multidisciplinary perspective on water-focused sustainable SDGs and water security risks.

    The second part of the session was moderated by Dr Ted Lawrence, Executive Director of ACARE, who explained ACARE’s goal to create a long-term, highly collaborative centre of excellence dedicated to increasing local capacity of African freshwater scientists, managers, and scholars. Participants agreed that UNU-INWEH and ACARE could jointly liaise with regional and national agencies to create a living 2030AfricaWaterSecure programme. Experts from the region then gave presentations on the vulnerability of freshwater ecosystems in the region, pointing to various direct and indirect drivers including the impacts of exploitation, climate change, overfishing, and other anthropogenic pressures on these resources.

    Dr Anik Bhaduri, Executive Director of Sustainable Water Future (SWF) explained in a skype address how SWF, a core programme of Future Earth is aiming to equilibrate the human and ecosystem needs to ensure a sustainable “water world” through the provision of solutions that are multidisciplinary. He also explained how the outcomes of the Comprehensive Water Assessment programme, a core partner in 2030WaterSecure, can facilitate knowledge needs for water security-related capacity building.

    The closing discussions reiterated the lack of feasible and scalable mechanisms to channel capacity building for water security and water-related sustainable development agenda, including online courses.

    For more, see “Africa2030WaterSecure — Capacity Gaps and Needs for Water Security” on the UNU-INWEH website.