African pre-conference
4 - 6 November 2004, Addis Ababa


The Government of Ethiopia, the African Union, FAO and the Government of the Netherlands jointly organise the African pre-conference, for which around 100 participants are expected. The conference will formulate recommendations based on African experiences (cases) with water resource management that integrates and balances the requirements for food production and for healthy ecosystems.


The conference will provide a platform for participants to identify practical approaches on the basis of the analysis of real life experiences. The lessons learned relate to field level implementation, promising methodologies and the necessary enabling environments. Focus of the discussion is on water management for the harmonisation between food production and ecosystem functions. The conference will build on ongoing activities like the Dialogue on Water, Food and Environment.


The core body of the Conference exists of working group sessions around the three themes that have been formulated for the Conference in The Hague in January 2005. The themes are mentioned below. The working groups will identify elements of successful processes and promising methodologies in relation to each of the three themes. This will be done through the analysis of case studies of actual initiatives that are taking place in Africa.
The recommendations will be discussed in plenary and be presented at the International Conference in January 2005.

The three themes of the conference are

1 Fostering implementation: know-how for action
Focus will be on addressing consultation processes and dialogues to involve stakeholders effectively. Question is also how to integrate and apply knowledge of the complex relations between water, food and ecosystems at the water basin level.

2 The new "economy" of Water for Food and Ecosystems
This theme will deal with valuation principles and methodologies and decision support systems that will lead to a new prospect, a new "economy" of Water for Food and Ecosystems. Valuation models have been developed, but how do these work in practice? Can the methodologies balance water use and needs for agriculture and for environmental functions?

3 The enabling environment
This theme will focus on promising institutional arrangements and successful actions, at all levels, by all stakeholders to provide opportunities for effective implementation of water management for food and ecosystems in particular for poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

Expected outcome

The analysis of practical experiences will offer more insight in opportunities and constraints with the implementation of integrated water resources management. Recommendations will be formulated with respect to promising approaches and necessary complementary actions. These recommendations should be of help both a practical level for water managers as well as providing input for further policy development.

Input in The Hague conference

The results of the African pre-conference will be presented at the conference in The Hague and serve as an input to its discussions. The final outcome will be presented at CSD13 (April 2005) in New York.

Contact the Secretariat of the African Conference

The Secretariat of the African Conference is based in the FAO Office in Addis Ababa. For further information, please email to, or call 00251-1-517233.