On 22 November 2006, the African Ministers responsible for science, technology and water (AMCOST and African Ministerial Conference on Water, AMCOW) met in Cairo, Egypt. By resolution, the delegates committed themselves to establishing an African Network of Excellence in Water Sciences and Technology Development. The Ministerial Mandate, as instituted in Cairo (2006), provides the NEPAD SANWATCE with the following executive mandate:
- Facilitate , and where applicable, conduct selective research on water issues;
- Serve as a Higher Education (PhD; Post-Doc; staff exchange) soundboard to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region on regional water matters;
- Collaborate with other networks and institutions in specialised areas;
- Set the SADC water research agenda;
- Establish a continental water research agenda which is based on / derived from the SADC regional water agenda.
The SANWATCE regional hub and Secretariat is currently being hosted by Stellenbosch University (SU) in the Republic of South Africa. Membership to the network is open to all countries in the Southern African sub-region and current members are: Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia.
In the past decades the EU has developed a wide cooperation network through Aid, Development Cooperation and Technical and Scientific Cooperation. By adopting in 2002 the Communication on water management in developing countries, a paper setting out EU priorities for development cooperation on water, the EC recognised the crucial role of water resources management for sustainable development.
The management of water resources is fundamental to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for which the European Union (EU) has undertaken many commitments to help accelerate progress in reaching these ambitious targets. In the framework of these commitments the EU Water Initiative (EUWI) was launched in 2002 with the aim of improving water management in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) region and providing access to clean water and sanitation through the creation of partnerships between water related bodies (aid donors, governments, NGOs, universities etc…).
In 2009, in line with the EU Water Initiative mission, the EC decided to support the NEPAD SANWATCE Network in Southern Africa in order to find a solution to the fact that in Africa, at present, research and development in the water resource sector is highly dependent on developed countries aid and expertise both in terms of knowledge and human resources (technical assistance/consultants). The EC is funding, through the JRC these networks in order to enable Africa to exploit the diversity of institutions and programmes available across the continent for south to south capacity development with the final aim of strengthening the link between policy and research and higher education.
The EC, through this support, aims also to recognise these Centres of Excellence as reference for regional development fostering south to south cooperation and hence sustainability of technical support actions. These actions are in line with the overall political framework of the EU Water Initiative and in particular, the JRC plays an important role in terms of knowledge management, technological support and technology transfer.
Through its global network of Centres of Excellence in Water Science and Technology, and in collaboration with the EU Water Initiatives, the JRC invites to exchange good practises in water resources management with the Network of Centres of Excellence.
A consortium of some NEPAD SANWATCE Network members have an agreement with the European Union Joint Research Centre (EU JRC) to deliver on specific deliverables, one of which is the e-conference with the following objectives:
- Generation and dissemination of knowledge,
- Plan joint actions for water knowledge management,
- Identify new challenges of information management in the internet age,
- Develop a sustainable knowledge strategy.
To this end we are inviting you to join us at the free e-conference on Knowledge Management in the Water Sector.