The President of Zanzibar and Chairperson of the Revolutionary Council, Dr. Hussein Ali Mwinyi, has urged experts to come up with innovative and holistic approaches to combat the pressing water challenges afflicting Eastern and Southern Africa.
President Mwinyi said this at the 24th WaterNet/WARFSA Symposium, hosted by the University of Dar es Salaam, and which was recently convened in the Spice Island of Zanzibar, drawing together several water experts from Eastern and Southern Africa.
He explained the vast water challenges, stemming from environmental shifts, climate change, population expansion, and urbanisation that have collectively exerted immense strain on water resources in Africa.
“The degradation of water sources, pollution, biodiversity loss, and environmental health deterioration are matters of pressing urgency. They necessitate sustainable water resource management, ensuring access to clean water for both present and future generations”, President Mwinyi insisted.
He emphasised the importance of collective responsibility in safeguarding water resources, underlining the imperative need for up-to-date technology, knowledge, and skills to mitigate the deleterious consequences of climate change and other threats looming over our precious water sources.
He also lauded the symposium, which brought together policymakers, academics, researchers, and industry leaders, for furnishing a platform to share knowledge, experiences, and inventive solutions to these critical water issues. The symposium theme was "Accelerating Change: Fostering Innovation and Integration for Sustainable Water Resources Management”.
Championing Water Investment Programmes
In addition, President Mwinyi expounded upon Zanzibar's proactive stance in ensuring water security. He revealed the Water Investment Programme for 2022-2027, an initiative that seeks to mobilise investments for the long-term sustainability of water supply, encompassing both basic and economic needs.
"This programme comprises a water investment record, climate resilience, gender equality, strengthening institutional arrangements, and promoting the blue economy and sustainable water resource management”, he said.
The programme facets are beautifully aligned with the symposium's theme encompassing the evolution of hydro-climatic patterns, water ecosystems, innovative approaches to affordable water supply and sanitation services, effective water governance, and the intricate interplay between water, land, energy and agriculture.
As the symposium brought together diverse water experts from an array of disciplines to deliberate on scientific issues and ongoing policy initiatives, Hon. Omary Kipanga, the Deputy Minister of Education, Science, and Technology of the United Republic of Tanzania, hailed the University of Dar es Salaam for the resounding success of this pivotal event.
He commended the University's role in addressing societal challenges and championed the innovative spirit underpinning the symposium. “The success of this event is a testament to the determined efforts of the Local Organising Committee from the University of Dar es Salaam, in collaboration with the WaterNet Secretariat, the Ministry of Water, the Water Institute, and Water Research Commission”.
“Their dedication to ensuring a successful symposium, which includes a blended model to allow virtual participation, is truly commendable”, said Deputy Minister Kipanga.
Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dar es Salaam, Professor William A. L. Anangisye informed participants about the university's active role in the water sector, and its partnership in the Regional Masters Programme in Integrated Water Resources Management – an initiative that has produced over 200 graduates making substantial contributions in the field.
Professor Anangisye urged delegates to actively engage and relish the enchanting ambiance of Zanzibar, underscoring the shared responsibility in safeguarding water resources. “This symposium which has brought participants from around the globe should indeed be a clarion call to action for a sustainable water future in Eastern and Southern Africa”.
Dr. Augustina Alexander, Chairperson of the Local Organising Committee for the symposium, expressed profound gratitude for successfully securing the opportunity to host this prestigious event in Zanzibar. She hailed the 24th Symposium as a critical juncture for stakeholders to chart the course for sustainable water resources management, addressing grand societal challenges.
The Minister of Water, Energy, and Minerals of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, Hon. Shaban Ali Othman, acknowledged the significant efforts of the government, particularly under the visionary leadership of H.E. Dr. Samia Suluhu Hassan and H.E. Dr. Hussein Ali Mwinyi, in eradicating water challenges affecting the local population.
On the international front, while commending Dr. Mwinyi for substantial and strategic investments in water resources, Water expert, Prof. Nnenesi Kgabi highlighted that the conference was a pivotal opportunity for sharing experiences and fostering collaborative efforts, with participants hailing from every corner of Africa, as well as friends from the Netherlands.
In a captivating symphony of expertise, innovation, and cultural appreciation, the 24th WaterNet/WARFSA Symposium has painted a canvas of hope and collaboration for sustainable water resource management in Eastern and Southern Africa, with Zanzibar as its resplendent backdrop.