H.M. King Letsie III of Lesotho said that it is critical for world leaders to make a concerted effort to secure Africa’s water supply and mitigate all factors that jeopardise water and its sources. H.M. Letsie III was addressing the International High-Level Panel for Water Investments in Africa Event during on World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden on 30th August.
The event was convened by the Government of Senegal, African Union Development Agency-NEPAD, African Union Commission, and other partners. Discussions brought together development partners to discuss the High-Level Panel for Water Investments for Africa, comprised of current and former Heads of State, that will mobilise US$30 billion dollars a year by 2030 towards African water security.
H.M. the King’s presence was in the context of the small mountainous Kingdom’s role in the provision of water to a number of countries in Southern African through the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.
In commending the work of the High-Level Panel, H.M. King Letsie III said: “It is our hope that the HLP will provide the necessary political leadership and impetus to create a well-coordinated plan of action, creative partnerships, and secure financing mechanisms for restoration of eco-systems. We would therefore like to make a clarion call to development partners to pledge and fulfil their pledges to increase the level of investments for water resources in Africa”.
H.M. King Letsie III said that the ever-deteriorating state of water sources in Africa calls for urgent and immediate action from all stakeholders, adding that to remedy this situation, water investment gap estimates between $11-$19 billion a year has to be reduced or even eliminated, meaning that all partners have to come forward to erase this gap to ensure that the initiative to mobilise $30 billion a year becomes success.
H.M. made reference to the challenges of land degradation and soil erosion as well as drying up of water catchments areas in his Kingdom, that pose a serious threat to the security of clean and fresh water to Lesotho and other southern African countries which benefit from the 40% water supply run off from the Kingdom.
With only eight years to go before the deadline to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, (SDGs) the momentum has picked up with the international community working hard to galvanise public and private resources, policy shift and partnerships, to enable the attainment of the Goals. Ensuring adequate resources to achieve SDG 6 on universal access to clean water and decent sanitation was top on the agenda in Stockholm.
On the sidelines of the conference, the High-Level Panel’s Technical Expert Advisory Group held its first meeting on 28 August 2022 prior to its being formally inaugurated two days later on 30 August. The Expert Advisory Group meeting was a unique opportunity to formally establish coordination roles and responsibilities for invited experts to collectively join African Heads of States and global leaders in transforming the investment outlook for water security and sanitation in Africa.
This week, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) will hold a three-day multi stakeholder Dialogue in the capital of Lesotho, Maseru, aimed at bolstering capacities for water energy, food security and eco-systems resilience and sustainability in the SADC region.
The Dialogue will deal with topics such as enhancing productive resources from water, energy, and food (WEF) security; share lessons learned in the WEF Nexus approach; and the key issue of mobilising resources and entrepreneurial capacities to bolster WEF and eco-systems in the SADC region.
Photo credit: Lesotho Highlands by Tatenda Mapigoti via Unsplash