Ethiopia’s Minister of Water and Energy, Abraha Adugna, has emphasized the need to “de-politicise” water issues. He also urged the formation of “genuine partnerships” to address common water challenges.
The remarks were made at Second High Level Conference on the Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028” 6-8 June 2021. The conference was convened by the United Nations in cooperation with the governments of Tajikistan and the Netherlands as a preparatory conference for a major UN water conference which will take place in New York in March 2023.
The minister reiterated Ethiopia’s commitment to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) which sets out to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. These objectives had been integrated into Ethiopia’s 10-year National Development Plan and partnerships with local and external development actors are already in place.
Adugna also indicated that the impacts of climate change and the disruption caused by COVID-19 have threatened the progress of the plan. Intervention is still required to address the needs of an estimated 50 million citizens who have no access to safe drinking water and the 80% of the population without adequate sanitation services.
The minister cited environmentally friendly and efficient hydraulic infrastructure development as crucial to the success of SDG6. He mentioned the Green Legacy Initiative and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project as important pieces of the government’s agenda that will restore wetland ecosystems and foster regional partnerships.
The Dushanbe conference has produced a final declaration that will consolidate the critical views of the stakeholders on key actions and partnerships necessary to take the water sector agenda forward globally. It will provide valuable inputs for the preparation of March 2023 water conference in New York