The availability and distribution of water resources in the Horn of Africa region is uneven and irregular both in space and time. The situation is further exacerbated by periodic serious droughts that affect the region with serious and devastating human, economic and ecological consequences.
Water resources are an important trans-boundary issue in the region. With particular reference to the IGAD sub-region, approximately 60% of the surface, area is occupied by international basins. It is foreseen that by 2025, all countries in this sub-region would be water scarce. With climate change and increasing populations, management of water resources becomes a high priority in the region. In order to pre-empt future inter-state conflicts and political tensions, this calls for judicious consideration in the co-operative and equitable development and management of shared water resources, particularly between upstream and downstream countries. Even within individual countries, lack of information and mismanagement of available water resources has been observed as a source of intra-state conflicts and localized wars and conflicts.
There is urgent need to build capacities to manage water and land resources in order to meet the needs of the rapidly growing population. Among the major factors perpetuating poor management of water resources, is the lack of sufficient capacity in the countries to package correct and appropriate information in a form that is understandable by decision and policy makers. While the renewable water recharge within countries is constrained by continued land degradation and effects of climate change, the countries suffer due to weak water institutions, lack or scanty information, inadequate policies and poor water infrastructures. The region lacks either water management protocols or even a platform to discuss water resources issues.
IGAD developed the INWRMP to assist its member states to address the water issues. The INWRMP aims at the strengthening of national and regional capacities and their links to provide water, on a sustainable basis, for household, food, agriculture, and environment, municipal and industrial services; and to develop regional co-operation and collaboration in sustainable water resources management.
On 28 March 2010, a Financing Agreement, with an execution period of five years was signed between EU and IGAD in which EU contributes EUR 14,700,000 to finance the implementation activities of INWRMP. The programme is being implemented by IGAD to address diverse problems. The specific objective of the programme is to strengthen regional and national capacities in the sustainable management of water resources in the region for peace and security, stability and integration and improved water governance.
The programme has identified four result areas for implementation. These result areas comprise:
- Regional cooperation in sustainable water resources management established and institutionalized.
- Policy and legal frameworks in water resources programme improved.
- Regional and national institutions for water resources management in the region are strengthened.
- Regional water resources management information systems and observation networks is developed.