The United Nations General Assembly meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has declared March 22nd as World Water Day (WWD). This important day was first proposed on Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Commemoration of this day has begun and gained popularity ever since. United Nations member states recognize WWD as a day of implementing UN recommendations and promoting other activities.
The Ministry of Water Resources in Somaliland celebrates and acknowledges each year World Water Day commemoration. MoWR uses the day to focus public attention on water issues. Water is a scarce resource in Somaliland. The rainy seasons are Gu (April-June) and Deyr (September-October). Somaliland is a drought prone country.
Since the current government come to office in July of 2010, the roles and responsibilities of the Ministry of Water Resources has grown significantly. Therefore, the President Mr. Siilaanyo acknowledged the need to have a special ministry for water resources. Then in June 2013, MoWR was separated from the former Ministry of Mining, Energy and Water Resources.
The MoWR has attracted many donors including the Somaliland Development Fund (SDF), European Commission (EU), Al Khalifa Foundation of United Arab Emirates, Islamic Development Bank, African Development Bank and World Bank just to name a few. In addition, the MoWR has increased its partners both locally and internationally. These partners include; UNICEF, which has the water sector lead in Somaliland as well as the Food and Agriculture Organization, Somali Water & Land Information Management (FAO/SWALIM), CARE International, CARITAS Switzerland, Somaliland Beverage Industry (SBI) & Terre Solidali etc.
MoWR has increased the capacity of the water sector. It has well established structure and trained employees. MoWR has regional and district offices throughout the country. It has decentralized its activities and celebrates WWD event each year.
This year’s theme is: “Water and Sustainable Development”. In that case, we need to be aware of the importance of water in our country. Also, we have to think about how to sustain the new or/and old water points. Sustainability is the model this year. MoWR has a vocational training center here in Hargeisa, and the aim is to produce professionals, technicians and plumbers who are in a position to carry out the day to day activities of the regional water points. Also, MoWR is currently building another vocational training center in Burao for the eastern regions.
Under the new leadership of the recently appointed Minister Baashe Ali Jama, MoWR is at the forefront of researching, fund raising, designing, monitoring and advocating for new water points. Senior engineers and upper management staff are at all times looking for new ways to advance getting clean water for Somalilanders. MoWR Data Center utilizes new technology where one can click and find out the status of any borehole remotely. For example, the general condition, the water salinity, GPS location and beneficiaries both human and livestock. The Android mobile technology and the capacity building training is provided by our partner FAO/SWALIM.
For the first time last year, MoWR celebrated WWD in the town of Wajaale, which is one of the European Commission project funded beneficiaries. This year, MoWR has acknowledged the need to decentralize and raise more awareness at the community level. For example, Dhaboolaq is a small village near Hargeisa where UNICEF has implemented mini water system, school and health facility.
Finally, hope you will enjoy celebrating with the Ministry of Water Resources and the Director General, Dr. A/risak Jama Nour is glad to welcome you on World Water Day 2015 at MoWR compound.
European Commission Focal point.