UN Environment through the wastewater programme of the GPA and its Regional Office for Africa (ROA) co-organized, together with the United Nations Office for Sustainable Development (UNOSD), and the Ethiopian Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity the “Workshop on Mainstreaming and Implementing the Water-Energy Nexus in Africa” that was convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 4-6 September 2018. The meeting saw the participation of more than 100 government representatives and relevant stakeholders working in the field of water and energy across the African continent and beyond, who gathered to identify gaps, challenges and the way forward with regards to mainstreaming and implementing the water-energy nexus in Africa. The meeting also provided a platform for enhancing capacity, knowledge management and strengthening advocacy on the water-energy nexus. The participants agreed upon the following way forward:
- It is paramount to see the water-energy nexus as an entry point to trigger the achievement of the SDGs.
- There is an urgent need to develop innovative financing mechanisms in partnership with global and local partners to address the issues related to water and energy in Africa.
- Supportive policies are needed to support the private businesses and local communities for water loans and innovative financing.
- There is a need to harmonize national policies with regional ones, as well as with the SDGs.
- Solid scientific knowledge, substantive data, technology transfer, capacity building, and sharing of best practices are needed to support the implementation of the water-energy nexus across the continent.
- It is also vital to strengthen or establish a monitoring mechanism with regards to the water-energy nexus at the national level.
- Partnerships and political dialogue are essential to implement and mainstream the nexus approach in Africa.
- It is critical to ensure that the gender dimension is adequately reflected in the mainstreaming and implementation of the nexus approach.
Overall, the workshop was also an opportunity to explore potential opportunities for future cooperation with representatives and organizations attending the workshop with regards to implementing the water-energy nexus and tackling land-based pollution.
From 17 to 19 September 2018, the wastewater programme of UN Environment/GPA organized a three-day meeting with the partner agencies of the project “Wastewater and Sanitation Provision in Africa: An Opportunity for Private and Public-Sector Investment,” namely the African Development Bank (AfDB) and GRID Arendal. On occasion, members of the Global Wastewater Initiative (GW²I), UN Environment staff members, and other local stakeholders joined the meeting and shared their experiences and work in the field of water and wastewater management. The meeting was convened at the UN Environment premises with the first two days dedicated to presentations and discussions on the progress made under the project during the year 2017-2018, and brainstorming sessions on the way forward. The discussions also served to create awareness on the achievements and goals, as well as to receive feedback on the project from the participants. On the third day, the GPA organized a field visit to the area of Kibera, Nairobi, to see good examples and challenges related to wastewater management. The participants had a chance to visit a local centre that provides access to water and sanitation to the local community and uses innovative technologies to treat wastewater on the spot. Also, the participants, including journalists, visited a local school regularly affected by pollution from wastewater originating from the nearby Nairobi River. To access the UN Environment story related to the event, please click here. Voice of America has produced a documentary on the field visit featuring the participants, and highlighting the challenges and good practices related to wastewater and sanitation in and around Kibera.
From 24 to 28 September 2018, the wastewater and nutrient management programmes of UN Environment/GPA, in co-operation with the Freshwater Ecosystems Unit, organized a technical exchange between experts from Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) of the Philippines, Chilika Lake Development Authority (CDA) of India and national stakeholders concerned with preserving the environmental and water quality of Lake Naivasha. This exchange was to facilitate the development of an Ecosystem Health Report Card (EHRC) in a replication effort for Lake Naivasha, based on work undertaken in India and the Philippines as part of the GEF-Global Nutrient Cycle Project, that is executed by the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of Marine Environment from Land-based Activities. On Monday 24 September, the experts and participants convened at UN Environment headquarters in Nairobi for a Symposium that marked the commencement of the activity, where they had a chance to meet various stakeholders, including UN Environment technical personnel, and representatives from Permanent Missions to UN Environment in Nairobi. This was followed by a three-day workshop with local stakeholders at Naivasha the day after when the participants discussed the water pollution challenges and key considerations related to the development of an Ecosystem Health Report Card for Lake Naivasha. The workshop agreed to a series of activities and next steps towards this goal over the coming months, including assembling a Technical Working Group and collecting the data necessary for the development of the EHRC. To access the UN Environment story related to the event, please click here.
4th Intergovernmental Review Meeting of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of Marine Environment from Land-based Activities
The 4th Intergovernmental Review of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA) was hosted by the Government of Indonesia in Bali, Indonesia over the 31 October to 1 November 2018. The review meeting was attended by more than 240 delegates, representing over 60 states. The meeting also saw the participation of UN partner agencies, intergovernmental organizations observers, experts, the private sector and the academia. The meeting considered the review of the work of the Programme since the last intergovernmental review held in the Philippines in 2012, the outlook on future work and strategic options for management of the Programme in relation to mandate and alignment to the UN Environment Assembly. The meeting concluded with a “Bali Declaration” where countries affirmed the need for continued focus on the priority marine pollution categories namely marine litter, nutrients and wastewater. The countries underscored the value of the work of the global partnerships associated with the three pollution categories with encouragement for strengthening. The meeting mandated the GPA Coordination Office complete the review of the future options of the Programme for presentation at the next UN Environment Assembly (UNEA4) for consideration by countries. For more information, please check here.
The Nairobi Convention Secretariat, executing agent for the GEF-funded 'Implementation of the Strategic Action Programme for the protection of the Western Indian Ocean from land-based sources and activities’ (WIOSAP) Project, in collaboration with UN Environment/GPA, hosted a workshop on the application of tools and approaches for the management of land-based pollution. Some 40 technical and policy experts from countries of the western Indian Ocean attended the workshop, held in Maputo, Mozambique over the 10 and 11 December 2018. UN Environment/GPA provided training on tools developed under the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM) and Global Wastewater Initiative (GW²I). Among the tools featured, the wastewater technology screening assessment tool developed by the Global Wastewater Initiative in association with the International Water Association (IWA), and the ecosystem health report card that has been applied in GPNM-supported projects in India and the Philippines. The workshop participants will apply the GPNM and GW²I tools in the development and implementation of on-ground interventions in participating countries in the GEF-WIOSAP Project.