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Africa: EU Water Initiative

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress the EU Water Initiative in Africa has made; and what the role of the UK Government has been in developing proposals for its reform. (211807)

The EU Water Initiative has helped a number of African countries prepare their own water and sanitation plans and has played a key role on creation of the EU Water Facility that makes funds available for water and sanitation. The total fund contributed by the European Commission to the EU Water Facility is €500 million. This will enable 20 million people to gain access to safe water and 9 million to improved sanitation.

The EU Water Initiative Africa Working Group, which the UK Government’s Department for International Development currently co-chairs with France, Austria and the African Ministers Council for Water, (AMCOW) aims to improve coordination between donors, developing country governments and civil society organisations. The Africa Working Group has also played a key role in mapping member state contributions to water and sanitation in Africa. Through our involvement in the Africa Working Group, we have improved the EU’s relationship with the AMCOW, to the extent that water will be a specific focus at the next meeting of the African Heads of State in July 2008.

A number of key policy reforms recommended in a DFID/German funded review of the EU Water Initiative were approved in August 2007. These reforms will result in greater focus on delivery in Africa and setting clear and measurable targets, which will help the EU Water Initiative to add real value and become more accountable to its stakeholders.