King bemoans state of African water sources

 

Calls for mobilisation of US$30 billion a year to close water investment gap

STAFF REPORTER

MASERU – King Letsie III is troubled by the ever-deteriorating state of water sources in Africa, and has called for urgent and immediate action from all stakeholders.

In a recorded video message to the High-Level Panel (HLP) meeting of conveners for the mobilisation of water investments in Africa held at a side event in Sweden, the King said it is critical for world leaders to make a concerted efforts to preserve water and mitigate all factors be they man-made, natural, or otherwise, that jeopardise water and its sources.

The King was among several high-level world leaders that graced the just-ended World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, where he also implored delegates to make the issue of water and water investments a top priority for the world’s development agenda.

The high panel level meetings in which the King made the remarks commenced online from August 29 to 31, as part of the World Water Week which began on August 23 and ended on September 1.

World Water Week is a conference for tackling several challenges that often start with water, delving into a broad range of topics from food security and health to agriculture, technology, biodiversity and the climate crisis.  Each year has its own theme which is explored from many different perspectives.

King Letsie III urges for these stronger ties among world leaders to raise water investments for Africa at a time when SADC is convening a three-day multi-stakeholder dialogue on water, energy and food security in Maseru. The gathering is aimed at bolstering capacities for water energy, food security and eco-systems resilience and sustainability in the SADC region.

The dialogue will deal with topics such as enhancing productive resources from water, energy, and food (WEF) security; share lessons learned in the WEF Nexus approach; and the key issue of mobilising resources and entrepreneurial capacities to bolster WEF and eco-systems in the SADC region.

“I would like to make a plea to the international community, philanthropic establishments, development organizations and all participants who have the means, to seize the opportunity presented by the High-Level Panel on Water Investment in Africa to support efforts that elevate the issue of water and investments in water to the highest level possible of the world’s development agenda,” the King said.

In commending the work of the HLP, King Letsie III said: “It is our hope that the HLP will provide the necessary political leadership and impetus to create a well-coordinated plan of action, creative partnerships, and secure financing mechanisms for restoration of ecosystems.

“We would, therefore, like to make a clarion call to development partners to pledge and fulfil their pledges to increase the level of investments for water resources in Africa.”

He highlighted that the ever-deteriorating state of water sources in Africa calls for urgent and immediate action from all stakeholders, adding that to remedy this situation, water investment gap estimates between US$11 (about M180 billion) and US$19 billion a year has to be reduced or even eliminated, meaning that all partners have to come forward to erase this gap to ensure that the initiative to mobilise $30 billion a year becomes success.

He made reference to the challenges of land degradation and soil erosion as well as drying up of water catchments areas in Lesotho, that pose a serious threat to the security of clean and fresh water to the country and other Southern African countries which benefit from its 40 percent water supply.

The King’s presence at the international gathering of water resource management, development experts, technocrats, and captains of industry, was key, considering Lesotho’s prowess in the provision of water to her neighbour, South Africa, through the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP).

The LHWP involves an intricate network of tunnels and dams which divert water to neighbouring South Africa, earning the country financial resources and hydroelectricity for its citizens.

With only eight years to go before the deadline to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, (SDGs) the momentum has picked up with the international community working hard to galvanise public and private resources, policy shift and partnerships, to enable the attainment of the Goals.

Ensuring adequate resources to achieve SDG6 on universal access to clean water and decent sanitation was top on the agenda in Stockholm. Key milestones were shared, on developing the Investment Action Plan and potential pathways for mobilising US$30 billion a year by 2030 to close the water security and sanitation investment gap in Africa.

The World Water Week programme is co-created with leading international organisations to give access to the latest trends and insights from many different fields.

It is a leading conference on global water issues, held every year since 1991. The week attracts a diverse mix of participants from many professional backgrounds and every corner of the world. Together they develop solutions to the planet’s greatest water-related challenges, such as poverty, the climate crisis, and biodiversity loss.

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