BEIJING - Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said Namibia has made significant strides in ensuring its population has access to clean potable water and can safely manage sanitation, especially for rural agrarian communities. She stated the country has prioritised and enshrined the water and sanitation sectors into key strategic areas of policy planning.
“We have recorded progress in providing safe water to the majority of our citizens. Our statistics indicate that about 97% of citizens in urban areas have access to potable water. In rural populations, the figure stands at 87% access to potable water,” she said.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila was speaking at the United Nations conference on the mid-term comprehensive review of the implementation of the objectives of the international decade for action for water for sustainable development (2018-2028) in New York.
“The link between access to sanitation for all and human dignity remains a priority for the Namibian government. We have identified the need to improve universal access to sanitation and hygiene in informal urban settlements and rural communities,” said the prime minister.
Namibia recently adopted the revised National Sanitation and Hygiene Strategy (2022-2027) to provide strategic direction for a coordinated approach to the implementation of sanitation and hygiene activities.
The premier said access to water for all requires bigger investment and coordination among sectors and different development partners. There is thus a strong need for the global water community to engage and share technological expertise to accelerate efforts towards meeting water-related sustainable development goals (SDGs) beyond the UN’s 2023 Water Conference.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila added that at the national level, government’s funding to water for the next five years has been strengthened to address critical water infrastructure development and the rehabilitation of pipelines at coastal areas. This includes the development of feasibility studies for a desalination plant and a Master Plan Study for the North- Central Areas.
“In our quest to achieve SDG 6 and our national development objectives, Namibia has prioritised and enshrined the water and sanitation sectors into key strategic areas of policy planning,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila shared.
She suggested: “To ensure that water stays permanently high on the political agenda, we reiterate the call for the appointment of a UN Special Envoy on Water. There is a need to adapt the UN Water Structure to become a member state-driven structure, making it more responsive to present-day realities and better-suited for posterity”.
She reiterated that Namibia will continue to support and implement programmes that will lead to the achievement of access to water and sanitation by 100% of the Namibia population for social and economic development activities.
At the same conference, executive director of the agriculture ministry Ndiyapuki Nghituwamata said many countries solely rely on groundwater, noting a need to advocate for the sustainable management of this water source. She added that capacitating the younger generation will also come in handy, and they should not be left behind.
“There is a further need to develop the capacity of our youth in groundwater management, governance, financing and investments. Data collection is key in developing monitoring networks and strengthening institutional capacity to protect groundwater from possible pollution,” highlighted Nghituwamata.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) states that to achieve water security, vulnerable water systems must be protected. Furthermore, there is a need to mitigate the impacts of water-related hazards such as floods and droughts, safeguard access to water functions and services, and manage water resources in an integrated and equitable manner.