Uganda hosted the 2nd Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Water Dialogue Forum in January, which ran under the theme ‘Groundwater for Resilience.’
The three-day forum discussed the key water development challenges of the IGAD region with a major focus on building joint knowledge, development strategies and potential projects requiring groundwater development.
The forum, which was organized by the IGAD Department of Agriculture and Environment discussed the axis of groundwater for peace and stability, groundwater for climate change and resilience to drought, groundwater for social and economic development, innovation in groundwater financing and technological development, and capacity building in groundwater.
In a statement the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uganda noted that: “It should be recalled that the 1st Water forum was organized by the IGAD Inland Water Resources Department in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2014. The Nairobi forum focused on the urgent need for regional cooperation in the management of water resources, and highlighted the need to enhance dialogue and understanding, increasing cooperation in all water management programs, engaging development partners in these initiatives as well as building consensus on regional water management.”
IGAD and its predecessor entity were formed following recurring and severe drought and other natural disasters between 1974 and 1984 that caused widespread famine, ecological degradation and economic hardship in the Eastern Africa region. Although individual countries made substantial efforts to cope with the situation and received generous support from the international community, the magnitude and extent of the problem argued strongly for a regional approach to supplement national efforts.
IGAD’s main objectives include: promote joint development strategies and gradually harmonize macro-economic policies and programmes in the social, technological and scientific fields; harmonize policies concerning trade, customs, transport, communications, agriculture, and natural resources, and promote free movement of goods, services, and people within the region; create an enabling environment for foreign, cross-border and domestic trade and investment.
Other objectives include: promoting peace and stability, as well as creating mechanisms for the prevention, management and resolution of inter-State and intra-State conflicts in the region through dialogue; mobilize resources for the implementation of emergency, short-term, medium-term and long-term programmes within the framework of regional cooperation; facilitate, promote and strengthen cooperation in research development and application in science and technology; and promote and realize the objectives of the African Economic Community.