A partnership has been launched to convene an international high-level panel to mobilise international commitment for water investments and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa.
The partners include the African Ministers’ Council on Water (Amcow), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), African Union Development Agency (AUDA-Nepad), African Development Bank (AfDB), Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA) and Global Water Partnership (GWP).
The International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa, expected to be launched in the last quarter of 2021, will drive global political mobilisation and international engagement to narrow the water investment gap in Africa and meet the socioeconomic needs for water on the continent.
The panel aims to improve the investment outlook for climate-resilient, gender transformative water security and sustainable sanitation and address the twin challenge of climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.
It will also support the Africa Water Investment Programme’s (AIP’s) goal of leveraging $30-billion a year in climate-resilient water investments by 2030, which was adopted by African Union Heads of State as part of Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa’s (Pida’s) second Priority Action Plan in February 2021.
“The water investment gap is largest in Africa, with sub-Saharan Africa requiring most urgent action, as delivery of water investments is lagging behind economic and social needs to meet the 2025 Africa Water Vision of Water Security for All, the 2030 SDG 6 on water and sanitation, and related targets,” explained Amcow acting executive secretary Thomas Banda.
Current water and sanitation sector investment in Africa stands at between $10-billion and $19-billion.
The AfDB estimates that $64-billion should be invested each year to meet the 2025 Africa Water Vision.
Serving for a 12-month period, the 15-member panel will develop a high-level report and investment plan for the United Nations and African Union Heads of States with recommendations for countries to mobilise $30-billion worth of investments each year towards closing the water infrastructure gap and the requirements of $64-billion a year to meet the Africa Water Vision 2025 and contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.
“The GCA will leverage the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme that was recently jointly launched with the AfDB and which commits to mobilise $25-billion in climate finance by 2025, of which at least 50% ($12.5-billion) will support climate adaptation and resilience building,” said GCA CEO Professor Dr Patrick Verkooijen.
Further, the panel’s work will contribute to and elevate ongoing efforts by AUDA-Nepad to accelerate the implementation of transboundary water projects under Pida, said AUDA-Nepad economic integration head Dr Towela Nyirenda-Jere.
The panel’s work will be supported by a joint virtual secretariat, hosted by the AIP Technical Support Unit at the GWP Africa Coordination office in Pretoria, South Africa, and will include focal points at convenors AMCOW, UNDP, Unicef, GWP Africa, GCA, AfDB, and AUDA-Nepad.
The budget for the panel’s work had been mobilised with contributions from the convenors, said GWP Africa Coordination Unit executive secretary and head of the joint secretariat for the panel Alex Simalabwi.
“The adoption of the resolution paves the way for the founding convenors to proceed with establishment of the panel.”
In their resolution, the convening partners called upon UN agencies, development finance institutions, heads of government, international organisations, private sector, civil society and other stakeholders in Africa and globally to support the partnership for the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa.