Shared water resources: Opening of the NB-ITTAS regional project Steering Committee, Tunis, December 14, 2022

The Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS), in partnership with the Niger Basin Authority (NBA), UNIDO and UNESCO, is organizing on December 14 and 15, 2022 in Tunis, the third session of the “Improving IWRM, Knowledge-based Management and Governance of the Niger Basin and the Iullemeden Taoudeni/Tanezrouft Aquifer System / ITTAS” project Steering Committee.

The overall objective of this session is to monitor, supervise and guide the implementation of the project. The opening of the works took place with the presence of figures and representatives of the executing agencies and countries sharing the region's water resources, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.

In his speech, the OSS Executive Secretary, Mr. Nabil Ben Khatra reminded of the important water resources, mostly transboundary, of the African continent. He stated that these resources can only be managed through joint, coordinated and inclusive strategies and that they are at the heart of the global initiatives agenda.

“We have to promote consolidated dialogue, build synergies and reinforce sub-regional, regional and international solidarity in order to face the water challenges”, he said.

The NBA Executive Secretary, Mr. Abderahim Bireme Hamid, spoke of the constraints related to the surface water resources of the Niger River in a context of climate change, which call upon the sub-region to focus on mobilizing and rationally managing groundwater resources and to invest in the preservation and sustainable management of ecosystems, in addition to adaptation and resilience efforts.

The works of the two-day COPIL, should lead to the approval of the 2023 Annual Work Plan and Budget (AWPB) of the NB-ITTAS project and the definition of innovative solutions and actions to be carried out, which will make it possible to include the different plans and programs for investment and sustainable development of the two aquifer systems in the new GEF-8 phase.

For the record, the NB-ITTAS project aims to improve knowledge-based resource management, governance and conservation of the Niger Basin and the region’s aquifer systems for the benefit of the communities and the resilience of the ecosystems.

It contributes to achieving the SDGs on drinking water and sanitation (SDG 6 – target 6.5 dedicated to Integrated Water Resources Management at all levels, including the trans-boundary cooperation and climate change adaptation) and improving the livelihoods of local communities.

Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), it is implemented by the OSS, the NBA, UNIDO and UNESCO and operates in 11 countries, namely: Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Nigeria.