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Regional Steering Committee on the Project “Implementing the Integrated Management of Water Resources and Waste Water in SIDS

United Nations, Praia, June 30, 2014 -Today marked the start of the 2nd  Meeting of the Regional Steering Committee on the Project “Implementing the Integrated Management of Water Resources and Waste Water in Small Insular Developing States in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans” – (GIRH/PEID/OAI) – resulting from a partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (PNUD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Ministry of Environment, Housing and Territorial Planning, acting through the Directorate-General for the Environment.

The goals set for this meeting consist in assessing the progress achieved in the implementation of the project at the level of the partner countries; discussing the running of the project at the regional and national levels; analysing the annual reports and budgets (national and regional); recognizing the lessons learnt from Participative Planning GIRH and the project’s System for Monitoring and Assessing, with the purpose of enhancing knowledge of all parties regarding the implications of the project and establishing and strengthening contact between all parties involved.  

At the opening session, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Cape Verde and PNUD Representative stated that this meeting constituted an opportunity to assess the progress that has been achieved following the first meeting, held in Seychelles in October 2013; to discuss ways to overcome identified obstacles and, above all, to contribute towards enhancing the effectiveness and the relevance of this project in face of the different realities experienced by different participant countries, as well as tackling common challenges shared by SIDS.

According to Ulrika Richardson, from the strategic point of view of areas such as agriculture, livestock or biodiversity and ecosystems conservation, water is and will always be a source of life and a constraint in the development of these sectors. In a country with a Sahelian climate, affected by the Elysian winds, such as Cape Verde, the fluctuation of the water table level is a fundamental factor in the supply of water for the domestic use of populations. Of equal importance is the process of desalination, through renewable energies, in order to ensure clean water supply in all the national territory.

“Embracing the practise of sustainable development means ensuring water supply to agricultural and industrial activities, which will boost the success of all small insular countries, benefiting both present and future generations. This is a belief shared by us all.” concluded Ulrika Richardson.

Presiding to the opening ceremony, Antero Veiga, Minister of Environment, Housing and Territorial Planning (MAHOT), claimed that “Cape Verde has made significant advancements in the areas of clean water supply and sanitation.” Nevertheless, for the Minister, “the aspiration to universal clean water supply and sanitation compels us to double our efforts, to be persistent and coherent, in order to reach, as soon as possible, a condition of environmental sustainability, for the benefit of our future generations.” He added that “the policies and reforms currently underway in Cape Verde are adjusted to the strategies of the project and it is the Steering Committee’s responsibility to ensure its implementation and monitoring, through a wide range of technical, economical, financial, legal and institutional mechanisms, in order to put into practice strategies of sustainable development in the matter of water and river basins management, towards a more rational exploitation, treatment and re-use, whenever possible, therefore avoiding waste.”

The meeting is being attended by representatives of the island nations of Cape Verde, Comoros, Maldives, Mauritius, São Tomé and Príncipe and Seychelles.

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