On the occasion of the 30th World Water Day on 22 March 2023, a conference at the United Nations in New York in the United States of America will echo the message of an Africa thirsty for sustainable development, particularly south of the Sahara where up to 76% of the population still lacks access to drinking water.
“Water is essential for the health of people and the planet. But our progress on water-related goals and targets remains alarmingly slow, putting the whole sustainable development agenda at risk. This statement by António Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), comes in the context of the UN Water Conference, which takes place from 22 to 24 March 2023 in New York, USA.
The event will take place in a context marked by water stress exacerbated by heat waves in Africa, where the scarcity of water resources undermines food security and public hygiene particularly in the sub-Saharan region, including Niger, Botswana, Somalia and Kenya.
Faced with this situation, which persists and is hampered by the lack of facilities, particularly in rural areas, water professionals, political leaders and civil society will discuss at the UN the mechanisms needed to strengthen access to drinking water, as recommended by the sixth development goal (SDG6). Between debates and advocacy, the issue of border waters, the preservation of the resource or water in gender policy will be on the agenda.
Indeed, gender inequalities related to access to water are real in some African countries. This is particularly the case in Tunisia where “the difficult access of women to clean water in rural areas illustrates this”, says the French Development Agency (AFD) in its booklet “Water, promise of emancipation” published in 2021. In 15 pages, the financial institution proposes to strengthen water supply. In 2020, Tunisia’s Société Nationale d’Exploitation et de Distribution des Eaux (SONEDE) drilled wells in the governorate of Kasserine. These wells operate with two pumping stations that provide 2,160 m3 of water per day to 2,500 families.
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