To enhance measures to ensure water security in the country, water, and sanitation minister Senzo Mchunu has set the wheels in motion to establish and sustain collaboration with global partners at the UN’s 2023 Water Conference in New York.
Mchunu and director-general Dr Sean Phillips signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Finland and renewed another with the Netherlands on the sidelines of the conference which took place from Wednesday to Friday.
“The MoU between South Africa and Finland aims to promote water security and is focused on integrated water resources and river basin management, including management of groundwater/aquifer and surface water, river basin, and adaptation to, and mitigation of the impacts of climate change in water resources management, as well as hydrological extremes, including flood, drought, water quality, waterborne diseases and other water-related risk management, among others,” said department spokesperson Wisane Mavasa on Saturday.
Finland has considerable expertise in water resource management and protection as well as in water-related technology, planning, construction, and research.
“Integrated water resources management (IWRM) is the dominant paradigm in contemporary water resource management. Finland has implemented such an approach for decades, aiming at win-win partnerships. It has also been the guiding principle in Finnish water legislation. Signing this MoU is a much-needed boost the sector requires back home,” Mchunu said.
Meanwhile, the MoU with the Netherlands has been renewed for another four years and is aimed at collaborating on inspiring and capacitating young talents in water, climate, and sustainability in South Africa and abroad, Mavasa added.
“Its obligations include addressing the skills gap in the water supply value chain and in technical areas within the water sector, as well as to developing professional water ambassadors that can protect and manage future water resources.”
In addition, the two governments are obligated to organize various activities for students and young professionals in the water sector, creating innovation and empowering young people, and integrating young and established professionals in the water sector.
“South Africa and Netherlands have a long relationship on water and this relationship was formalized through the signing of an MoU between the Dutch ministry of infrastructure and water management and the South African department of water & sanitation in July 2014.
“Minister Mchunu has reiterated his stance on partnerships in the water and sanitation sector and has committed to ensure accountability and transparency when implementing the MoUs.
“The minister also met several other countries’ leaders on the sidelines of the conference to discuss possible forging of bilateral partnerships on water and sanitation for the benefit of the respective countries. These include India, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Denmark, Egypt, Palestine, and Belgium,” Mavasa said.
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