Draft Communiqué of a One Day Public Interest Dialogue On Water Governance Organised by Change Managers International Network in Collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Held At the British Council, Maitama, Abuja on the 17th November, 2011.
Recognising the importance of water and sanitation in the achievement of National Development, the Change Managers International Network organized a one day public interest dialogue on water governance on the 17th of November, 2011 at the British Council, Abuja. The programme brought together the Country Director of WaterAid Nigeria, Mr. Timeyin Uwejamomere; Representative of the Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Bello Tunau, Deputy Director, Urban Water Supply of the Ministry, Engineer B. A Ajisegiri and Director of Water Quality and Sanitation, Dr. O. A. Agada who was also one of the presenters, Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, the Assistant Clerk of the Committee on Water Resources, House of Representative, Mr. Edem Bassey, Representatives of Civil Society Organizations working in the area of access to water, members of the press, Resource Persons and staff of Change Managers International Network.
The objective of the dialogue was to look at ways in which the civil society can contribute meaningfully, to ensuring water and sanitation is given priority along with other water resources programmes in Nigeria. The forum featured seven presentations on: Poverty and Water in Nigeria; Politics of water resources in Nigeria; Budgeting and Alternative Financing; The role of Media in water governance; water, health and sanitation; water, sanitation and education and water & Gender.
The participants at the dialogue observed as follows:
- That the Ministry of Water Resources under the leadership of the Honourable Minister, Mrs. Sarah Reng Ochekpe, be commended for their intellectual input and support towards the conduct of the dialogue .
- That water is central to National Development and to the achievement of the MDGs in Nigeria, hence must be given high priority by government and stakeholders;
- That water plays a key role in development and sustainable livelihood and lack of it has led to hardship, health hazards, poverty and even death especially among women and children.
- That corruption is a major constraint towards the achievement of most development projects in Nigeria including water and sanitation which must be addressed;
- That there is a lack of adequate collaboration and information flow between the Ministry of Water Resources and the CSOs with regards to water and sanitation issues and programmes;
- That there are gender issues in the administration of water and sanitation programmes which must be addressed through mainstreaming of gender into development policies, planning and projects;
- That the Ministry of Water Resources needs to acquaint CSOs on their roles in the developed framework by the Ministry to enable CSOs articulate its involvement in the Ministry’s plan.
- The need for the CSOs to develop strategies to engage with the Ministry of Water Resources and advocate for a unit in the ministry to deal with issues of partnership of CSOs and the Ministries;
- The need for the Ministry of Water Resources to understudy best practices from other ministries in relations to partnership with CSOs and other stakeholders in delivering on its mandate;
- The need for preparatory meetings by the Ministry in partnership with CSOs on modalities of attending and reporting at international events;
- The need for development partners such as Water Aid to provide technical support to NEWSAN such as strategies for mobilization of resources;
- The need for the involvement of local communities and NGOs, CBOs and FBOS in sensitization, advocacy, awareness, monitoring and evaluation of water and sanitation projects;
- The need for massive education and attitudinal changes in value system to be sponsored by the Ministry of Water Resources;
- That policy advocates should link water issues with other development issues such as power, corruption to get the government and the public attention;
- The need for stakeholders to work together and advocate for policy makers to give legal backing to water and sanitation issues;
- That corruption must be tackled for us to be able to achieve the various development issues in Nigeria including the issue of water and sanitation;
- That the media should go against the traditional way of reporting and see themselves as advocates to raise issues of development concerns such as water and sanitation as human rights issues;
- The need for CSOs to get involved in the review of budgets at the executive level before it goes to the National Assembly;
- The need for the various Ministries particularly the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development/ Water Resources/ Environment /Agriculture to link up in planning interventions and mainstreaming gender in their programmes;
- It was agreed that a team be set up a team to develop a framework for CSOs intervention in Water Resources Management, Monitoring and Evaluation.
In conclusion, participants recommended that a follow up meeting should be held before the Durban conference with the Minister of Water Resources to discuss Nigeria’s position which would be presented at the meeting.