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African states can benefit from Special Envoy on Water appointment: Schlettwein

Summary

The appointment of a Special Water Envoy to the United Nations (UN) is an important step towards enhancing dialogue and outreach, as well as reinforcing the voice of under-represented and vulnerable regions like Africa. This was stated by Minister of […]

The appointment of a Special Water Envoy to the United Nations (UN) is an important step towards enhancing dialogue and outreach, as well as reinforcing the voice of under-represented and vulnerable regions like Africa.

This was stated by Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Calle Schlettwein, during a high level virtual dialogue session with the Permanent Representatives of the UN in Windhoek on Wednesday.

As the current president of the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW), Schlettwein said

as AMCOW works to accelerate the achievement of water and sanitation goals in Africa, the proposal for a UN Special Envoy on Water was roundly supported by Africa during the 9th World Water Forum in Senegal in March 2022.

“Our expectations are for the incumbent to strengthen Africa’s voice at the global level on water issues and its cross sectoral linkages to climate resilience, agriculture biodiversity and industrialisation,” the minister said.

He said as a continent, Africa stands to benefit from the services of the envoy to draw attention to the nearly 430 million people on the continent that lack access to potable water, with the figure doubling for access to basic sanitation, where 870 million people are underserved.

The envoy, he added, can also draw attention to the fact that the underdevelopment of water infrastructure accounts for up to two per cent of Africa’s lost annual Gross Domestic Product growth and that land constitutes the most important factor of production and survival for the people of Africa.

“As we speak, Africa is enduring devastating flooding in some parts of Southern Africa and the worst drought in other parts of Africa. A looming food crisis and soaring food and commodity prices in all countries on the continent raise the spectre of social unrest and displacement of communities,” he said.

Schlettwein said AMCOW supports the appointment of the envoy in order to elevate water-related issues to one of the top priorities necessary to achieve the UN sustainable development goals.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

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