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Enhancing national capacities for better management of water resources in Eastern Africa

FAO provides training on monitoring of SDG 6.4 indicators


As part of its ongoing efforts to support countries to make water use in agriculture more efficient, equitable, and environmentally friendly, FAO held a training course on monitoring Sustainable Development Goal 6.4 indicators that focused on water use efficiency and water stress from 15 to18 October 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

The training, which aimed at raising capacities of countries in proper monitoring and implementation of SDG 6, targeted water specialists working in ministries, government agencies and relevant technical institutions. The participants, drawn from eight Eastern African countries, are involved in the monitoring of SDG 6 in their respective countries. 

Agriculture, particularly crop production and livestock, accounts today for about 70% of global freshwater withdrawals. In many developing countries, this proportion is often much higher, as water policies in such countries focus on the expansion of irrigated land as well as the intensification of agricultural production. FAO has put in place a Global Information System on Water and Agriculture called AQUASTAT. The trainees have been nominated by their counties as focal persons to provide timely data for this system.

State Minister for Natural Resources and Food Security, Ministry of Agriculture for Ethiopia, Kaba Urgessa in an opening statement noted the importance of SDG target 6.4 as it addresses the important issue of water scarcity, aiming to ensure there is sufficient water for the population, the economy, and the environment by increasing water-use efficiency across all sectors of society. He said that his country is pleased to host this training as “the Government of Ethiopia has for long recognized the importance of collecting accurate information on water use and we are currently partnering with FAO in a project to establish a web-based national irrigation database and water management system which will generate monitoring data.”

In her remarks on behalf of Chimimba David Phiri, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Eastern Africa, Abisola Alaka highlighted that management of water resources is an essential part of the efforts and actions needed to ensure sustainable and equitable development for all. She stressed, “A better knowledge of water resources and their use is fundamental to have the instruments for defining and implementing appropriate policies.”

In the Eastern African sub-region, the data collected so far indicates that water-use efficiency is higher than in sub-Saharan Africa overall. However, differences among countries remain high, while at the same time water stress is higher than in sub-Saharan Africa overall. These data indicate that while water is overall sufficient, variations of availability in time and space need to be managed to avoid serious problems in the future.

SDG 6 recognizes the need for holistic approaches, to ensure sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, it is essential to look at the water cycle in its entirety, including all uses and users. This training was designed to enhance the knowledge and experience in collecting, reporting and analysing data of the indicators. The data in the long term will transform into knowledge that informs decision-making in countries towards improving water-use management efficiency. 

Background

AQUASTAT is the FAO global information system on water resources and agricultural water management. AQUASTAT plays a key role in the monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goal 6 that sets out to "ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all", and in particular indicators of target 6.4 on water stress and water-use efficiency.

To support the monitoring of SDG 6, UN-Water has established a multi-agency initiative, GEMI project, aimed at ensuring, by 2030, a coherent monitoring framework for water and sanitation to contribute to the country progress through well-informed decision-making on water, based on harmonized, comprehensive, timely and accurate information. FAO, as the custodian agency for SDG indicators 6.4.1 and 6.4.2, has joined this project, adding its resources to ensure that support can be provided to all countries.

FAO developped e-learnng courses on SDG 6.4.1 on water use efficiency and SDG 6.4.2 on level of water stress.

More information on AQUASTAT and SDG 6.4 indicators.