THE CONFERENCE STATEMENT ON WATER RESOURCES MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT IN AFRICA

1. "An African Water Resources Assessment Strategy" was prepared by the WMO/UNECA Conference on Water Resources: Policy and Assessment, which was held in Addis Ababa, from 20 to 25 March 1995 and attended by senior representatives of water resources agencies from the African region.

2. The objective of the conference was to prepare a strategy to rehabilitate, build and/or adapt the institutional, financial, manpower and technological capacity of the relevant services of the countries and regional bodies concerned. The purpose of the strategy is to enable them to assess water resources within the context of the integrated and comprehensive development and management of water resources for socio-economic development on a sustainable basis.

3. The strategy has been prepared following the findings and recommendations of the UNDP/World Bank, Sub-Saharan Africa Hydrological Assessment Project and the UNESCO/WMO Evaluation of Water Resources Assessment.

4. The strategy has taken into account the principles of Chapter 18 of Agenda 21 of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) (1992) and the World Bank Water Resources Policy and the Water Resources Management Strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa which is under preparation.

5. The African Water Resources Assessment Strategy is based on a strong determination to overcome the problems, constraints and conditions that have, in the past, bedeviled water resources assessment on a sustainable basis. To this end, it is proposed that the water resources agencies improve their productivity and efficiency; that there be optimal use of human and financial resources; that external support agencies and UN organizations strengthen the co-ordination of their activities to support water resources assessment at different levels; that the demand for water resources data and information be based on the level of socio-economic development, and that there be a strong political will to co-operate at river, lake and groundwater basin levels.

6. The strategic actions recommended by this conference are in the areas of management capacity building, promotion and creation of awareness of the capacity of the hydrological services and the value of hydrological data, attainment of sustainable financial capacity, integrated water management, regional and sub-regional initiatives and responses, and a new role for external support agencies.

7. The strategy is recommended to:

  • Governments, sub-regional and regional organizations to incorporate it in their water resources assessment programmes towards sustainable development.
  • UN organizations involved in water resources to adopt it for use in their water resources assessment assistance programmes for countries and sub-regional and regional organizations;
  • External support agencies to incorporate it in the water resources assessment component of their programmes of assistance for integrated development and management of water resources at the country, sub-regional and regional levels.
8. The preparation of the strategy by the conference is part of a process for the assessment of the water resources of the African region. This process will also promote the strategy widely to appropriate authorities at the national, sub-regional and regional levels and also to the external support agencies. This strategy will be presented to the UNECA Conference of Ministers and WMO governing bodies for their endorsement.