The right to water
At the occasion of the presentation and diffusion to the public, in the Silverbird Abuja-based movie theatre, of the film entitled “A Thirsty World”, by Yann Arthus-Bertrand (a French well known photographer and film director), the French Embassy and the French Development Agency (AFD), in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, have organized a round-table on the theme :
‘’The effective implementation of the right to water - The financing and the roles and responsibilities of the actors’’
The round-table was officially opened by H.E. the Honourable Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Reng Ochekpe and H.E Jacques Champagne de Labriolle, Ambassador of France in Nigeria.
The event brought together major stakeholders of the water sector, at large: representatives of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, regulatory commissions, regional and national water authorities, research institutes, academics, NGO and donors.
This gathering paved the way to substantive discussions and exchanges of views among participants who addressed, inter alia, the following:
The government’s perspective on the right of all to drinking safe water and the way it is implemented,
The NGOs perspective on the rights of poor people to have access to water and how this is implemented in NGO’s programmes,
The civil society perspective on the right to water,
The legal aspects of the right to drinking water,
- The donors’ response to the right to water.
The following was also addressed during exchanges between the keynote speakers and the public:
The rights to water and sanitation have formally been recognized in 2010 by the United Nations general assembly and by the Human Rights Council. They are also encompassed in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in a very ambitious way tackling the right to quality water, availability of water resources, physical accessibility, affordable access to water sources and absence of discrimination.
However, this opportunity and right are far from being effective. It is estimated that the number of people without access to water would be over 2 billion.
The main question to be addressed is how to implement effectively the right to water.
This implies strong political will and commitment, clear strategies at both State and local levels, financial mobilization etc.
The challenge is high : in the process of the Sustainable Development Objectives - post-2015 agenda (following Rio + 20 conference), the aim is universal access to water by the year 2030.
The convergence of the various agendas for poverty alleviation with development ones is crucial. It is also necessary to address the issue of preservation of water resources. The management of water resources, in particular when they are shared between several countries, is crucial.
H.E. Mrs Sarah Reng Ochekpe, Honourable Minister of Water resources, and the French Development Agency team.
FRENCH COOPERATION: Despite the economic and financial crisis, France remained in 2012 the fourth contributor to ODA (ODA - Official Development Aid) declared to OECD/DAC with almost 12 billion USD.
France hosted the World Forum of Water in March 2012, in a “perspective solution-oriented" and encouraged commitments by all stakeholders, from policy until practitioners and civil society. France wishes to continue to actively promote access to water on the international agenda, particularly in Nigeria. With its research institutes, its cooperation capacity and its enterprises, France has an internationally recognized expertise in the ‘’water and sanitation’’ sector.
AGENCE FRANCAISE DE DEVELOPPEMENT (AFD) is a public development finance institution that has been working to fight poverty and support economic growth in developing and emerging countries. AFD implements the development policy defined by the French Government.
AFD is present on four continents where it has an international network of 70 agencies and representation offices. AFD finances and supports projects that improve people’s living conditions, promote economic growth and environmental protection: schooling for children, maternal health, and support for farmers and small businesses, water supply, tropical forest preservation, fight against climate change, among other concerns.
In 2011, AFD approved nearly USD 9 billion to finance activities in developing and emerging countries including USD 3.5 billion for sub-Saharan African countries. These funds will help get 4 million children into primary school and 2 million into secondary school; they will also improve drinking water supply for 1.53 million people. Energy efficiency projects financed by AFD in 2011 saved annually 3.8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
In Nigeria, AFD has a portfolio of projects amounting to USD 900 Million focusing on key sectors and financing Nigeria’s most needed infrastructures: urban development, water supply, energy, transport and agriculture.
Agence Française de développement
French Development Agency
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(234) 703 249 47 71