Senate president, Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo, has said that Africa should move faster in drawing concrete action plans against climate change.
He made the remarks at the ongoing third Nile Basin Development Forum that seeks to come up with measures to mitigate climate change in countries that share the Nile River.
“I call upon you to draw actions for better management and development of Africa’s Water Resources. These actions should be based on sound vision, political will and determination,” he said.
“I believe it is time for Africa to move vigorously with an agenda for action”. He added that it was time for Africa to overcome the fragmentation that exists at various levels of climate change management.
“In this region, there are many initiatives that are engaged in climate change matters. There is need for synergistic interventions that optimize and ensure beneficial use of the available resources.” Ntawukuriryayo observed.
He pointed out that Africa needs both technical and financial support to institute measures for climate change adaptation.
“It is time for the international community to respond in favour of such demand and provide the long waited financial and technical support towards that cause,” he said.
The Nile Basin Development Forum seeks to enhance and continue building confidence, common understanding and broad based dialogue among countries that share the Nile River.
The Executive Director of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), Dr. Wael Khairy, highlighted the importance of protecting the river from effects of climate change and called for a joint action by NBI members States.
“Although there is a relative promising economic growth within NBI, the region is challenged by population pressure and food security. One way of managing these issues is through climate change mitigation and adaptation,” he said.
The World Bank program manager for water resources, Gustavo Saltiel, re-assured the donors’ commitment in facilitating Africa overcome challenges of climate change.
“Climate change is a reality and is predicted to have adverse impact on the Nile Basin. To deal with this problem there is need for creative policy responses based on solid researches,” he said.
The Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi, said that climate change is one of the human challenges all over the world that require quick actions rather than unilateral or bilateral ones.
“Climate change is a reality and its impact in the region is predicted to be significant. The implications of the impacts of climate change on the efforts exerted by Nile Basin countries to manage and develop sustainably their water and water related resources need to be discussed,” he said.
Kenyan Minister for water and irrigation, Charity Kaluki Ngilu, noted that the Horn of Africa is currently experiencing famine caused by prolonged droughts and that the spill over effect is far reaching beyond the affected area.
She added that the region is faced with water insecurity and that for countries to address the problem there was need to establish a permanent commission of the Nile Basin though signing of the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA).
Ngilu pointed out that Egypt and Sudan have not cooperated in the signing of the CFA and urged them to move faster and ensure that the Commission is established.
Currently, about 200 delegates are attending the Nile Development Forum; among them are nine ministers charged with water resources in the basin.