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Agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein said Namibia’s experience in the water sector had been heavily impacted by climate variability and climate change, causing greater water and food insecurity.

Schlettwein said this in Cairo where he is leading a delegation attending the Cairo Water Week 2021 that is running from 24-28 October 2021.

Cairo Water Week (CWW) is an annual event organised by the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation in collaboration with national, regional and international partners, including Global Water Partnership Mediterranean.

The 4th edition of CWW started on 24 October and will end on 28 October. The water week is running under “Water, Population and Global Changes: Challenges and Opportunities”.

CWW is discussing population issues and the impact of overpopulation on common management of transboundary rivers and climate change for the first time in this series as they directly impact the water sector.

According to Schlettwein, African countries are off track in achieving Sustainable Developmental Goal (SDG) 6.1 and 6.2 targets.

SDG 6 is about ensuring access to water and sanitation for all by 2030.

According to the UN, while substantial progress has been made in increasing access to clean drinking water and sanitation, billions of people—mostly in rural areas—still lack these essential services.

The UB also says that worldwide, one in three people do not have safe drinking water.

Two out of five people do not have a primary hand-washing facility with soap and water.

The 2021 edition also has five sub-themes:

  • Water and global changes
  • Advances in water management
  • Water and society
  • Regional and sectoral cooperation for water security
  • and innovation in hydro-sciences

Schlettwein said the Cairo Water Week 2021 (CWW 21) is a collaborative cross-sector platform that seeks to create the opportunity to bring together governments, the private sector, civil society to promote knowledge sharing, innovation promotion and generate further policy discussions on water, climate change and the sustainability of the planet for future generations.

The minister said the event this year focused on challenges and issues on the impact of over-population on the scarcity, management of water resources and the multiplier effect of climate change on water security for countries across the planet.

The Namibian delegation also met with their Egyptian counterparts from the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation and the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation to further strengthen cooperation between Namibia and Egypt in several sectors of mutual interest. Furthermore, the five-day conference and exhibition featured keynote addresses by world-renowned leaders in academia and water technology industries focusing on the latest significant developments and scientific advancements related to various water issues to promote better use and management of water resources globally.

Julia Heita

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