- Water has been placed high in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) agenda as key issue for development. Lesotho government official, Maieane Khaketla, said at the SADC Multi-Stakeholder Water dialogue in Maseru today that "awareness is critical at this stage if we could make appropriate decisions to confront water challenges in our region."
Mr Khaketla said Lesotho like the rest of the region had been experiencing erratic rainfall, late raining seasons which in the end devastate the agricultural sector. "Water scarcity in the region results to poor access to water for basic needs. This is a daunting challenge for Lesotho to meet the Millennium Development Goals," he added.
Acting Chief Director for SADC Secretariat, Remmy Makumbe said SADC member states had adopted Integrated Water Resource Management as a critical tool to water resources management. "This has been done to ensure that water is adequately contributing to poverty eradication, regional integration and socio-economic development," he said.
He said the principles of this water management are geared towards maximising the water sector activities for economic and social welfare without compromising the ecosystems. "This task is getting complex given the reality that global climatic change is significantly altering the hydrological cycle," he added.
Mr Makumbe further said that climate change would add up to vulnerability of people due to water related disasters like drought, floods and cyclones. He said Southern Africa thrives on the activities of climate sensitive sector, like agriculture, therefore called upon on all stakeholders to enhance disaster management strategies.
"It is increasingly becoming evident that climate change is no longer a story about the future, but it is the story of today, adding that climate change effects were evident on the slowly shrinking livelihood opportunities, threatening biodiversity and food security, and up-scaling water related disasters.
"While region has made advances in formulating, reviewing and developing policies, there is a need to reflect on how climate change has been mainstreamed into these policies, Mr Makumbe held.
Senior Advisor to the Global Water Project, Professor Torkil Jonch Clausen said water is elementary toward the attainment of Millennium Development Goals, adding climate change also adds to strain.
"Change in temperatures and unprecedented heavy rains and droughts leading to poor agricultural output, increases vulnerability of the poor in the region," Mr Clause said. He added that, unless communities are empowered on water management, attainment of these goals would not be visible.
The first dialogue was in Maputo Mozambique in May 2007 and it was a result of an Awareness creation initiative of SADC Water Division.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.