9th World Water Forum in Dakar: on the way to 2023

Written by Marine Collignon, Head of the Water, Pollution and Transversal Affairs Unit, Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs

and Eugénie Avram, expert in water, sanitation and integrated resource management (DGM/DDD/CLEN), MEAE

Kick-off meeting of the 9th World Water Forum @WWF

The World Water Forums, organized every three years, are major events on the international calendar. However, the 9th edition organized by Senegal and hosted in Dakar in March 2022 is of particular importance. The results of the 2022 Forum will contribute directly to the preparation of the 2023 UN Water Conference, the first to be organized under the auspices of the United Nations since 1977.

The 9th edition of the World Water Forum in Dakar is unique in many ways. As the first Forum to be held in sub-Saharan Africa, it will be an opportunity to focus on the specific problems encountered by African countries and to identify appropriate solutions. This edition will also be held in the context of the VIDC-19 pandemic, which has highlighted the consequences of the lack of access to hygiene, sanitation and drinking water, which affects 30% of the world’s population, 70% of which is located in Sub-Saharan Africa. This Forum is part of a multilateral sequence marked by the preparation of the mid-term review of the Decade for Water and Development and the first UN conference on water (New York, 22-24 March 2023) organized under the aegis of the United Nations since 1977.

The 9th World Water Forum is indeed the second of five preparatory milestones for the UN Water Conference, co-organized by Tajikistan and the Netherlands1 , after the Bonn Water Dialogues organized by Germany in July 2021. It will be followed by the Asia-Pacific Water Summit (Japan), the High Level Symposium on Water on the margins of the UN Conference on the Oceans (Portugal, June 2022) and the High Level Conference in Dushanbe (Tajikistan).

For France, one of the main challenges is to ensure that the international community takes ownership of the framework for accelerating the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6) launched in 2020 by UN-Water, particularly through the deepening and operationalization of the messages developed in the framework of the Bonn water dialogues. The coherence and complementarity of the various preparatory events are indeed one of the conditions for the success of the future UN conference on water. In this respect, the theme chosen by Senegal for the Forum – water and sanitation security for peace and development – and the particular attention paid to solutions on the ground, seem particularly relevant to embrace all the problems of the water and sanitation sector, for which the international community will have to make commitments commensurate with the stakes. For this is the challenge of this UN conference: to take stock, to commit and to act so that universal access to water and sanitation and sustainable management of resources are effective by 2030.

Fadimata Walet Alitini, utilise la latrine d’urgence que Solidarités International a offert au site des déplacés Dag wantada commune de Doukouria dans le cercle de Goundam au Mali Décembre 2021. @Solidarités International

We know that the strategies deployed so far are insufficient. Nearly 2.2 billion people remain without access to safe drinking water, more than half of the world’s population lacks access to adequate sanitation and handwashing facilities (WHO, UNICEF). At the same time, nearly half of the world’s population is affected by severe water shortages, a figure that would reach 5 billion by 2050 (UN). In this context, the UN estimates that it would be necessary to quadruple investments in the sector to achieve the 18 targets of the 2030 Agenda related to water, on which so many other issues depend, such as peace and security, public health, food and nutritional security, energy, economic development, the fight against climate change and biodiversity degradation. In light of these observations, it seems essential that the international community and all stakeholders mobilize.

This is why France, in line with its international strategy for water and sanitation (2020-2030)2 , is calling on the international community to seize this unique opportunity to strengthen multilateral dialogue and is encouraging political decision-makers and all stakeholders and sectors to make a firm commitment to the realization of the human right to water and sanitation and to strengthening integrated and concerted management at the scale of river basins, including transboundary ones. Improving governance of the sector at all levels, securing resources in the current context of climate change, and strengthening knowledge and resources dedicated to the sector are crucial issues that France is determined to address in the context of the 2023 conference and beyond.

1 See resolution A/RES/75/212 adopted on 21 December 2020 by the United Nations General Assembly

2 eau_fr_web_cle07e783.pdf (diplomatie.gouv.fr)

Article published in the 2022 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Barometer published by Solidarités International. 

Barometer 2022 

Mali, the sustainable emergency of water !


Testimony of Mahamadou Ayouba Maiga, head of the “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene” program for SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL in Mali

Well of the village Zoueïne commune of Tilemsi in the circle of Goundam in Mali December 2021. @Solidarités International

I am a rural engineer and a graduate in “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene” humanitarian project management from the 2iE University in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. I recently joined SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL to take up the position of manager of the “WASH” program of the NGO in Mali. As part of this mission, I had the opportunity to coordinate and monitor the construction/rehabilitation of improved village water systems (VWS) in the Timbuktu and Segou regions of Mali. These projects are funded by the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA).

An IVHS is a rural water supply infrastructure for drinking water and water for animals. It usually consists of a borehole equipped with a pump, a power source (solar and/or electric), a reservoir, and a small distribution network via standpipes (and sometimes watering troughs for animals). To illustrate the relevance of the construction/rehabilitation of these systems in Mali, I will use a concrete example. The site of Boumodi, in the commune of Nampalari (less than 30 km from the Mauritanian border), is a village of about 1,500 inhabitants, most of whom are Peuhl and large-scale livestock breeders. Before SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’s intervention, the village had only one large-diameter pastoral well to meet the population’s need for drinking water and watering animals.

The NGO carried out a pre-targeting mission of water points to be rehabilitated during which the EAH team noted the presence of a non-functional and abandoned well on the site. Given the size of the population and the number of livestock, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL decided, in agreement with the local authority, community leaders and the technical services of the water authority, to pre-select this structure. Blowing operations, pumping tests and bacteriological and physico-chemical analyses were carried out. The “PROVIDE A CONCRETE, EFFECTIVE AND SUSTAINABLE RESPONSE TO THE POPULATIONS AFFECTED BY THE CONFLICT IN MALI” Testimony of Mahamadou Ayouba Maiga, in charge of the “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene” program for SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL in Mali 22 WATER BAROMETER 2022 8th edition, March 2022 WATER BAROMETER 2022 8th edition, March 2022 23 CHALLENGES TO BE MET The results of the analyses and the technical characteristics of the borehole proved to be very appreciable (flow rate of 25 m3/h) and of sufficient quality to carry out a SHVA.

Domestic animals drink from the water tower built by Solidarités Internationale in the village of Elgar, commune of Alzounoub in the circle of Goundam, Mali, December 2021.@Solidarités International

SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL, in collaboration with its partners, has equipped the borehole with a solar pump, a water tower with a capacity of 20 m3, four standpipes and two rectangular troughs to meet the acute needs of the population and facilitate the watering of animals. Our organization also participated in the establishment of a management committee for this water point. The infrastructures are maintained in good condition thanks to regular and periodic maintenance. The method of payment established by the committee in a general assembly is respected by the users.

This intervention was possible thanks to the active collaboration of the direct and indirect beneficiaries as well as the mobilization of community leaders, the local community and local and regional technical services. A framework of collaboration and partnership made it possible to define the roles and responsibilities of each party in order to guarantee an effective intervention.

It should be noted, however, that SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL and its partners faced several challenges in this intervention. The first is related to the deteriorating security context: the commune of Nampalari is not far from the border with Mauritania and is often confronted with incursions by armed groups. Thanks to a close dialogue with the actors on the ground and the strength and anchoring of its local employees, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL was able to mitigate the security risks. We also had to deal with damaged roads, making it difficult to transport equipment and materials to Nampalari. However, we were able to reduce these constraints through advance planning and close collaboration with local contractors.

These efforts have provided a concrete, effective and sustainable response to the populations affected by the conflict in Mali.

Article published in the 2022 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Barometer published by Solidarités International. 

Barometer 2022