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IGAD Prioritizes Groundwater Management for Regional Peace, Security and Stability

John Mulimba, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Regional Co-operation) notes that geo-water gaps in the region are being compounded by the ever-increasing human population, which requires an integrated policy approach to address the demand for freshwater.
27 Jan 2022 17:09
A panel of officials under the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development - IGAD discussing Groundwater for Resilience at Imperial Golf View Hotel in Entebbe . Photo by Dominic Ochola

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The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development - IGAD is conducting a regional water dialogue forum to endorse groundwater management protocol to promote peace, security, and stability.

With its headquarters is in Djibouti City, IGAD is an eight-member trade bloc that includes governments from the Horn of Africa, Nile Valley, and the African Great Lakes that include Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, and Uganda. 

Being an arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid region, it is endowed with 12 transboundary river basins and several acquifer systems good for spurring socio-economic development. 

The Forum is discussing among other things the impact of climatic change on groundwater and drought resilience, capacity building, innovation, financing, and technology development in groundwater management.

The three-day high-level meeting is organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Environment under the theme “Groundwater for Resilience” at the Imperial Golf View Hotel in Entebbe started on January 26, 2022.

While making reference to River Nile among others, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, the Executive Secretary of IGAD notes that disagreements over water resources have in the past emerged and still continue to threaten the future harmonious co-existence of member states. 

Dr. Gebeyehu pointed out that a conflict analysis conducted in 2021 by the IGAD Conflict and Early Warning Mechanism established that there is a strong link between vegetative cover due to lack of water and incidents of conflict.

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John Mulimba, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Regional Co-operation) notes that geo-water gaps in the region are being compounded by the ever-increasing human population, which requires an integrated policy approach to address the demand for freshwater. 

Currently, the combined population of the seven countries in the IGAD region is estimated to be 230 million people and the number is projected to rise up to 400 million people by 2050 which shall consequently affect the demand and supply of water.

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Speaking at the opening of the dialogue, Sam Cheptoris, the Minister of Water and Environment noted that groundwater is a key resource that provides half of all domestic water needs of 225 billion people on earth. 

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Also, attendance is high-level decision Makers, government officials, sector specialists – in academia at a regional and global level, development partners, UN Organizations, the World Bank, the African Union, media, and Civil Society Organizations among others.

The first IGAD Inland Water Resources Management Program (INWRMP) was conducted on 8 December 2014 at the Kenyatta International Conference Center in Nairobi. The Programme was initiated to harness the region’s water resources in a sustainable and all-inclusive manner.