NATIONAL STATEMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA
AT THE THE 8TH WORLD WATER FORUM IN BRASILIA
PRESENTED BY MR ANDRIES NEL, DEPUTY MINISTER OF COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS, ON 20 MARCH 2018
Excellency Minister JosÃ© Sarney Filho,
Members of the Presidium
Ladies and gentlemen,
Em nome de sua Excellencia Cyril Ramaphosa, Presidente da Republica de Africa do Sul, felicitamos e agradecemos ao governo e ao povo brasileiro por hospedagem com Ãªxito, com uma calorosa hospitalidade brasileira, o 8Âº FÃ³rum Mundial da Ãgua sob o tema: “Compartilhar Ã¡gua – um apelo urgente para uma aÃ§Ã£o decisiva“.
(On behalf of His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, We congratulate and thank the government and the people of Brazil for successfully hosting, with warm Brazilian hospitality, this 8th World Water Forum under the theme: â€œSharing Water – an urgent call for decisive action.â€)
We congratulate our brothers and sisters, Senegal, for being chosen to host the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar in 2021. We pledge to work tirelessly, in partnership with all members of the African Union, to ensure the success of this event.
On 18 July this year South Africa will celebrate the centenary of the birth of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, first President of a democratic South Africa, international statesperson, icon of the struggles for freedom and justice everywhere.
During the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, President Mandela gave delegates the following powerful message:
â€œWhen I return, as I often do, to the rural village and area of my childhood and youth, the poverty of the people and the devastation of the natural environment painfully strike me.
And in that impoverishment of the natural environment, it is the absence of access to clean water that strikes most starkly.
That our government has made significant progress in bringing potable water nearer to so many more people than was previously the case, I rate amongst the most important achievements of democracy in our country.
Amongst the many things I learnt, as a president of our country, was the centrality of water in the social, political and economic affairs of the country, continent and indeed the world.
I am, therefore, a totally committed “water person”.â€
By coming together under the theme: â€œSharing Water – an urgent call for decisive actionâ€ at this important gathering we to are recommitting ourselves to being, â€œwater people.â€
South Africa was honoured to serve on the High Level Panel on Water (HLPW) that was co-convened by the United Nations and the World Bank following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015. South Africa was represented by former President Jacob Zuma, who was requested to champion the initiatives on Water and Sanitation Services; Integrated Urban Water Management; Transboundary and Domestic Governance. HE President Cyril Ramaphosa is committed to continuing the championship of this work.
This demonstrated a high level commitment to ensure effective and immediate action towards overcoming water and sanitation challenges and achieving the water related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), SDG in particular, and especially on the African Continent.
We are pleased that the High Level Panel on Water, through the partnership between the governments of South Africa, Senegal and Mauritius, commissioned the Global Water Partnership (GWP) to develop a water legacy initiative for Africa.
The Africa Water Investment Programme has been developed in collaboration with the African Union and the African Development Bank (African Water Facility).
The African Investment Programme will go a long way in serving as a vehicle to cultivate the leadership to champion a comprehensive, inclusive and collaborative way of developing and managing water resources and improving water and sanitation related services.
Through the collaborative efforts and partnership at this forum, the AIP will transform and improve the investment outlook for water security and sustainable sanitation for the prosperous, peaceful and equitable society on the African Continent outlined in the African Union Agenda 2063.
We call upon all industrial partners and international financial institutions to rally around the Africa Water Investment Programme (AIP) and to partner with African countries in mobilising by 2039 at least US$ 30 billion of investments towards water security, sustainable sanitation, climate resilience, SDG 6 implementation and the preparation of bankable projects as instruments to stimulate transformative economic growth.
South Africa shares 60% of its fresh water resources with its neighbours in Southern Africa, SADC.
Therefore, and our relations with our riparian partners remain a key element of economic development.
Our cooperation is driven by our common vision of contributing to water security in our respective countries and to further position water as a driver for regional economic integration in Southern Africa. South Africa continues to share best practices and experiences with watercourse institutions through twining arrangements, visits and workshops.
At the national level, South Africa is also fostering the equal sharing of water through mechanisms such as compulsory licensing and review of the water use authorisation to ensure that all South Africans have an equal opportunity to apply to use water, that water is shared equally, that everyone who wants to use water to improve their livelihoods, or for commercial purposes can get a chance to do so, that our water resources are protected, and kept clean and healthy.
Indeed, this work affirms what Nelson Mandela referred to as, â€œthe centrality of water in the social, political and economic affairs of the country, continent and indeed the world.â€ It confirms that we are, indeed, â€œtotally committed “water person(s).â€
We thank you.