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Country Water Partnership launched

Dec 23, 2011, 1:13 PM | Article By: Abdou Rahman Sallah

The Gambia Country Water Partnership (GCWP) was recently launched at a ceremony held at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi.

The GCWP is a partnership comprising government institutions, the private sector, civil society organizations, development partners in the country, women, local councils and other decentralised structures across the country.

Speaking on the occasion, Fatoumatta Sosseh Jallow, deputy permanent secretary, said the need for new approaches to the assessment, development and management of water is paramount, especially freshwater resources.

According to her, all the above sessions re-iterate the critical role of water in the global socio-economic development process and in environmental protection, and it is for these reasons that West African countries including The Gambia participated in the West Africa Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) launched in 1998 in Ouagadougou.

She said that the ECOWAS heads of state and government meeting in 2000 in Bamako paved the way for the adoption of the IWRM Regional Action Plan and the establishment of the organization Water Resources Coordination Center (WRCC) in Ouagadougou, and in 2008 ECOWAS heads of state and government adopted the West Africa Water Resources Policy as a general framework and guidance for the cooperation between ECOWAS member states in the field of water resources.

DPS Jallow added that the Government of The Gambia is committed to the global and regional agenda to move away from traditional (mostly sectoral) to an integrated approach to water resources management.

“As a result of the increasing and competitive demand for water and of the increasing number of actors in water resources management, this has become necessary to improve the mechanisms for effective governance of water,” she said.

“This will ensure the harmonious consideration of various demands, while ensuring a rational resource management, in order to ensure equity in access, in maintenance of environmental functions and efficiency in resource development.

“The Gambia is in the process of promoting the adoption of the IWRM in all national development policies and has begun the creation of the enabling environment through the elaboration of the National Water Policy and the updating of the 1979 Water Act.”

The roadmap identifies a set of 13 priority actions that should ensure the transition from the current unsatisfactory management practices to the full-fledge IWRM, which is grouped under five themes as follows: facilitation of reform process, stakeholder engagement, rejuvenation of stakeholder engagement, capacity building and action plans and project development.

Pa Ousman Jarju, director of Water Resources, revealed that The Gambia adopted an IWRM roadmap comprising activities, targeting outputs and timeline for establishment of IWRM in water sector.

“Upon validating of the IWRM roadmap, The Gambia requested for support from the Global Water Partnership West Africa to set up a country water partnership,” Mr Jarju said, adding that in September this year a team of consultants visited The Gambia to discuss with government the feasibility study on the establishment of a country water partnership undertaken by experts.

According to him, the study highlighted the feasibility of Country Water Partnership (CWP) and its role, governance, influence on implementation of IWRM and development of statutes and by-laws with recommendations for review.

Mr Jarju stressed that some of the roles of the CWP are planning and coordinating the national work, and implementing the national programmes of Global Water Partnership (GWP).

They would also prepare periodical technical and financial reports, conduct work on mobilization of resources for implementation of its activities and keep regular contact with GWP and its development partners, he added.

According to him, in 2010 government secured funding from the African Water Facility of the ADB to the tune of €2.09 million to assist The Gambia advance the establishment of the IWRM in the country to facilitate sustainable and effective management of the national water resources.