Over the past two decades, African countries water capacity downfall as rivers went dry and lakes shrunk. Estimation report that by 2025 the half of the population will live under water stress. The latter driving sustainability water management outputs.
COP27 Puts Focus on the half of the world population that will live under water stress by 2025 therefore the emergency to think twice over life conversations around the sustainability of water, acknowledging the connections between water resilience, economic resilience, and welfare concerns.
The nexus between water, energy and agriculture was also discussed broadly.
Drawing attention to the half of the world’s population that is estimated to live under water stress by 2025, the Egyptian presidency of COP27 launched Monday the Action for Water Adaptation and Resilience (AWARe) initiative to bolster water security in the face of climate change.
Asked about Burundi’s state of affairs, the General Director of IGEBU (Geographic Institute of Burundi) Augustin Ngenzirabona one of the officials who attended Cop 27 said that the country’s water resources lie in the balance threatened by the effect of climate change.
For him, water stress for Burundi in coming years is not a secret as today lakes shrunk well as rivers and marshlands went dry due to deforestation and human driven activities resulting from changing arable land to habitable one.
“In Western of Burundi, one out five rivers dried out in the past to five years while in the North, lakes lost their shape as water level decreased significantly,” said Augustin.
For him, it is paramount to rethink afforestation, he added as imminent solution to protect water reserves and adopt new methods to avail use available water responsibly.
Burundi’s access to clean water remains low despite the richness in water nationwide mainly due to climate change shocks according Burundian experts.
According to environmentalists, Burundi possesses over 3,000 mountains that hold around 30,000 water sources.
Sadly, according to Céléus Ngiwenubusa Lecturer at University of Burundi and Environment expert, 30% of the population is still deprived of drinking water.
“Despite the progress made in access to drinking water less than 40% have access to clean water while less than 60% of the population have access to a water source within 30 minutes as of 2022,” he said.
Back on the day, it recalled the attention to existing and emerging challenges related to water security as well as provide a forum to address sustainable water management by bringing together diverse voices including policymakers, scientists, researchers, civil society and governments.
Water issues are intrinsically linked to climate change, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The AWARe initiative will foster political efforts, practical action, knowledge sharing and field capacity development to place adaptive water management systems at the heart of the climate change adaptation agenda, establishing a pan-African hub for water.
Burundi belongs to two main basins Nile Basin and Congo Basin. Protecting its waters lakes and rivers is more than important according to the Director of IGEBU.
In view of AWARe initiative, major actions will be implemented according to him. First, he said with the Ministry of Agriculture and of Livestock we will avail law and documentations to protect water entities across the country.
The General Director of OBPE (Burundian Authority of Protection of Environment) Jean Berchmans Hatungimana and the General Director of IGEBU converge on revising the Burundian code of Environment and upgrade it to today’s climate status.
“There is a need to stress out prevention principles, precaution, polluter pays, sustainable water development and management, and subsidiaries prevention,” reported Hatungimana.
0n this is added repairment modalities of damages caused by environmental shocks, the fight against climate change, natural risks and catastrophes prevention, he concluded.
COP27 LIVE | Water Day
Water Day at #COP27 kicked off with the launch of #AWARe, an initiative which catalyses inclusive cooperation to address water as key to climate change adaptation, resilience and their co-benefits. #TogetherForImplementation pic.twitter.com/Ok1Rt8NTHf
— COP27 (@COP27P) November 14, 2022
During the launch ceremony, success stories from Africa were presented, highlighting how water systems have been successfully adapted in the face of severe climate change. These include smart irrigation, flood protection and rainfall harvesting.
Attendees examined how best to go beyond these accomplishments and scale their resilience in the short term to face worsening climatic conditions. Among points of discussion were public private partnerships, sustainable financing and increased community engagement.
“With water use increasing every year and 70 percent of the world’s freshwater used for agriculture, according to the World Bank, the stresses of climate change are felt more and more. Climate change is already limiting people’s access to water globally, as droughts, floods, and wildfires linked to warming temperatures impact supply,” said COP27 President Sameh Shoukry while speaking of the day.
“Monitoring and managing river basin ecosystems is becoming increasingly vital and initiatives like AWARe will provide for transformational collaboration across the continent,” he added
In addition to the Egyptian initiative, the days events also included sessions exploring how to develop climate resilient agriculture, mitigate the harm from floods and droughts through early warning systems and preserve water resources, especially drinking water.
Apart from that the World Health Organization has stated that by 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas, and issues related to water are intrinsically linked to climate change. COP27 Water Day provided a forum to address this with a focus on sustainable water resource management.
This article has been published with support from MESHA/IDRC grant for coverage of COP-27 by African science journalists.