August 1, 2021

The EU must improve water management in Africa "in its own interest"

The EU must improve water management in Africa "in its own interest"

Water scarcity is one of the triggers of mass immigration from Africa to Europe, so the EU must improve water infrastructure and management "no longer by conviction or solidarity but by their own political interest," as he warned in an interview with Efe Peter Glas.

Glas is the president of the Water Governance Initiative (WGI) of the OECD, and has participated as a speaker at the recent VIII Forum on Water Economics, which brought together national and international experts from the sector in Madrid.

This Dutch expert has insisted on the need to improve this type of international cooperation, especially with a view to the three years of work from here to the next World Water Forum, organized by the World Water Council (WWC, for short) in English) and whose next edition will be held in 2021 precisely in African territory: in Senegal.

By then, Glas considers it essential to have been able to "move from vision to action", with investment actions both internally and through cooperation between regions.

"The OECD is very good at producing reports, but then it is necessary to make them operational" and apply concrete initiatives to improve the problems analyzed, said the specialist.

In Africa, the lack of supply guarantees in much of the continent is due to factors such as lack of infrastructure, irregular water cycles in some areas and local conflicts, although it has been aggravated in recent times by droughts .

The last edition of the World Water Forum took place last March in Brasilia and ended with a report that includes 36 indicators or measures that countries, regions and cities can apply to their territory, "as a voluntary exercise of self-evaluation".

In the case of Spain, Glas recalled that he suffers from a "habitual" context of water pressure and "great fragmentation" of managerial competences, for which reason he has recommended "availing himself of already existing tools" to "open a dialogue" between administrations and certify, especially, "if the scale at which things are being done is the right one".

In his opinion, "it is necessary to talk about technical issues, such as tariffs and costs, but also about that scale of governance" to analyze "at what level can be effectively compromised citizens and institutions" to optimize Water management

This process should be approached in an "integral manner", so that it includes not only technical but "environmental, economic, social and cultural" aspects, in what Glas has described to Efe as the application of "a holistic perspective" of this resource.

The administration of water, which "is already a human right" according to his words, is "at risk" and it is necessary to do what is necessary to reduce it.

According to the data of the World Economic Forum that Glas included in his speech during the VIII Water Forum, the liquid element "is in the 'top ten' of the risks with the greatest potential for economic and social impact on the planet.

World Bank estimates also warn against the reduction of guarantees of this resource, which "is a real problem" increasingly important and that will lead to losses and reduction of GDP in different countries.

According to the calculations of this institution, by 2030 the availability of this resource will be reduced to less than 40% and the financing needs to take advantage of its reserves will amount to at least 6.7 billion dollars worldwide.


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