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The African Ministers’ Council on Water

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Formed in 2002 in Abuja Nigeria, primarily to promote cooperation, security, social and economic development and poverty eradication among member states through the effective management of the continent’s water resources and provision of water supply services. In 2008, Heads of State and Government of the AU agreed on commitments to accelerate the achievement of water and sanitation goals in Africa and mandated AMCOW to develop and follow up an implementation strategy for these commitments. AMCOW has also being accorded the status of a Specialised Committee for Water and Sanitation in the African Union.

Mission and Objectives

The Mission of AMCOW is to provide political leadership, policy direction and advocacy in the provision, use and management of water resources for sustainable social and economic development and maintenance of African ecosystems and strengthen intergovernmental cooperation to address the water and sanitation issues in Africa.

Our Mission

The African Ministers responsible for water having noted the establishment of the African Union, the launch of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) with the overall objective of encouraging new approaches to Africa’s sustainable development challenges, and being aware of the challenges posed by the Millennium Declaration and the regional intergovernmental responses essential for translating the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on Water and Sanitation into reality in Africa, decided to establish the African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW). AMCOW was formally launched in Abuja, Nigeria on April 30, 2002.

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AMCOW’s major functions are to facilitate regional and international co-operation through the co-ordination of policies and actions amongst African countries regarding water resources issues, and to review and mobilize additional financing for the water sector in Africa, and to provide a mechanism for monitoring the progress of implementation of major regional and global water resources and water supply and sanitation initiatives. AMCOW aims to develop mechanisms that will promote best practices for water policy reforms, integrated water resources management, food security, water supply and sanitation. AMCOW will, also, enhance and solidify intergovernmental and regional cooperation in the management of shared waters, including surface and groundwater

AMCOW also provides a forum for dialogue with UN agencies and other partners on water issues, and promotes participation in regional studies regarding climate changes, development of observation networks, facilitates information exchange and aims to develop policies and strategies for addressing the water issues in Africa.

AMCOW engages in dialogue and consultations with UN agencies, regional economic groupings and with regional and global financial institutions on financing and other issues relevant to the water and sanitation sector in Africa.

Institutional Framework

The AMCOW institutional set-up consists of a Full Council of Ministers (the minister responsible for water from each member country), an Executive Committee with a President/Chair (presently Uganda). The Executive Committee is composed of three representatives/water ministers from each of the 5 sub-regions (AMCOW member states are divided into five sub-regions: West Africa, Eastern Africa, Central Africa, North Africa and Southern Africa). Each sub-region has a sub-regional Secretariat (usually housed in the respective Regional Economic Community) for co-ordination of sub-regional activities. Each sub-region is headed by a Vice President. The main AMCOW Secretariat is in Abuja, Nigeria and is headed by an Interim Executive Secretary and support staff. The Executive Committee is advised by a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).

The Executive Committee ensures that decisions of the council are implemented and is responsible for the development of work programs/budgets for approval by the council, mobilizes the necessary financing and supervises the work of the secretariat.

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