The African Union Commission (AUC) and Global Water Partnership Southern Africa and Africa Coordination (GWPSA-Africa) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate to mobilise resources to implement water programmes and projects in Africa, and to strengthen capacity to coordinate water policy across the continent.
The memorandum of understanding was signed on 21 September 2023 at the African Union Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, on the margins of the 78th Ordinary Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Strengthening water policy and programmes across the continent
The purpose of the MoU is to facilitate cooperation and collaboration between AUC and GWPSA-Africa to ensure effective cooperation. The objective is to strengthen the capacity of the AUC Water and Environment Unit’s policy coordination function on continental water security and sanitation, climate change, disaster risk reduction, blue economy, and gender equality programmes and initiatives; including the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa.
GWPSA-Africa serves as the secretariat of the High-Level Panel and the African Union’s Continental Water Investment Programme – AIP, which aims to transform the investment outlook for water security and sustainable sanitation and mobilise an additional US$30bn per year by 2030 for water related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets.
The partnership will accelerate ongoing collaboration on the High Level Panel and AIP; and in addition scale up support in implementation of climate resilient and gender transformative water security and sanitation programmes on a continental, regional, and national level in close collaboration with Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Member States.
Mind the Gap – Invest in Water
The MoU was signed following the launch of the High Level Panel Campaign, Mind the Gap-Invest in Water which will support the mobilisation of at least US$30 billion annually by 2030 to close the water investment gap in Africa.
The formalisation of the partnership will also enhance implementation of the AIP High Level Panel water investment action plan and respond to the call for urgent action on water security as expressed during the launch Mind the Gap-Invest in water.
During the launch of ‘Mind the Gap-Invest in Water’, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson, African Union Commission said, ‘We have reached a stage where the AU Commission, in collaboration with the International High-Level Panel on Water, is embarking on the Water Investment Action Plan for increased investment in the water sector by the AU Member States. Mind the Gap-Invest in Water campaign will contribute immensely towards mobilising these investments, which are critical for resilient water security and sustainable sanitation in Africa. This move aligns with the outcome of the Africa Climate Summit held recently in Kenya in early September 2023.”
At the signing ceremony, H.E Jakaya Kikwete, Board Chair of GWPSA-Africa and Former President of United Republic of Tanzania, commended the AUC’ leadership on the High Level Panel and affirmed GWPSA-Africa’s on-going technical assistance to the AUC’s policy mandate on water security.
H.E. Josefa Sacko, African Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment expressed satisfaction on the partnership with GWP Africa said: “We are pleased by the technical assistance and expertise provided to the AUC on water security, climate and gender transformation. We look forward to continue our partnership on the AIP High Level Panel, Mind the Gap-Invest in Water campaign, and convening of a water investment summit.”
The campaign is championed by the African Union Commission and High-Level Panel, as part of the AIP. Mind the Gap – Invest in Water will raise awareness, influence change, and ultimately – prompt mobilisation of investments across continental institutions and organisations.