On July 11-15 the University of Loughborough, UK has organized the 39th Water, Engineering & Development Center (WEDC) conference held this year at Kumasi, Ghana. Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) was invited for the first time to present a paper regarding the issue of Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) and management of water utilities in public and private. Also, MoWR has participated the 4th International Water Summit (IWS) which took place in Abu Dhabi on January 18-20, 2016 for the water arid region.
This is the second year Hargeisa Water Agency (HWA) has participated the WEDC conference.
39th WEDC Conference is one of the leading global conference and exhibition where companies show case their products and develop solutions for water sustainability in the low, middle & fragile countries. The second week of July 2016, WEDC has brought together government leaders, policy makers, academics, entrepreneurs, and technology companies to rise to the challenges faced by WASH in low and middle income countries, including Somaliland. 45 countries has participated the WEDC symposium this year.
Water is scarce resource in Somaliland especially in the urban & pre-urban areas. The rainy seasons are Gu (April-June) and Deyr (September-October). Somaliland is a drought prone country. The average precipitation is 300mm. Due to El Nino and the pattern of the climate change has resulted two years of below average rain fails in Somaliland. MoWR and its partner Somalia Water & Land Information Management (SWALIM) are predicting, the country will experience near or below normal Deyr rain fail. The prediction will push many pastoral and agro-pastoral communities into the category of needing urgent humanitarian assistance, especially Water, Hygiene & Sanitation (WASH).
In general, Somalia has missed the target set for meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of 2015 for water and sanitation, including Somaliland according to the latest KAP survey commissioned by UNICEF in 2015. UNICEF and WHO report of 2012 has indicated only 29% of Somalia’s population has access to improved source of water and 23% has access to sanitation facilities.
Therefore; events such as the 39th WEDC may bring the solutions to this kinds of challenges. Personally, it was an eye opening conference for me and the government of Somaliland may participate this kind of forums to find sustainable solutions for the water scarcity.
What have attracted me to the conference was to find out the latest technology and know-how of the water sector to improve the water scarcity of the country.
We hope Somaliland government & together with the private sector can meet and exceed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the future so that the population of Somaliland may be part of the global community in terms of sustainable development. Thanking to my sponsors: UNICEF & WEDC.
MoWR EC Focalpoint