NDPC identifies water security as priority area for focus
As part of its efforts to ensure a purpose driven vibrant national socio-economic development, the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), has now incorporated water security and climate resilience its priority areas for focus. The NDPC now recognizes water as an essential resource that requires careful planning and management, since all other sectors directly or indirectly depend on water to thrive.
This posture of the NDPC follows its interaction with the Water, Climate and Development Programme (WACDEP) in Ghana. Hitherto, water security and climate resilience did not feature prominently in the Commission’s priority list.
WACDEP is an African initiative that seeks to promote water as a key part of sustainable regional and national development, and contribute to climate change adaptation for economic growth and human security.
Water Security in the National Development Agenda
In an interview, the NDPC’s Director for Planning Coordination, Dr. Isaac Frempong Mensa-Bonsu said, “in my Division we have been preparing guidelines for plan preparation, and in the guidelines we never had a focus attention on water security, but as a result of our interaction with WACDEP, we realized the need to inset a section in the guidelines that focuses attention on water security.”
Consequently, water security issues and the need to improve water resources management in the country, are captured in the four year Medium Term Development Plan – The Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda Two, 2014 to 2017.
Dr. Mensa-Bonsu explained that the guidelines provide a section for Districts to analyse their water security situation and how that is affecting socio-economic activities. The analysis should highlight the issues, what needs to be done as well as make relevant proposals to improve upon the situation. To this end, the NDPC with the support of WACDEP initiated a nationwide training programme to build the capacity of the District Assemblies to conduct appropriate water security analysis of their districts.
Additionally, water security is one of the major components of the long term – National Development Plan for the nation, the preparation of which was initiated by the NDPC in August 2015. Dr. Mensa-Bonsu said: “that is going to be a 40 year development plan starting from the year 2018 to the year 2057…”
He added: “as you’re aware 2057 should ring a bell – by that time Ghana would have been independent for 100 years. So we want to start thinking about the kind of country we want to build, the kind of country we need. At the time we’ll be celebrating our hundred years of independence, what would be there for us to celebrate…”
He reasoned that the 50 years ago the population was small, so the impact of human activities on vital resources such as water was negligible. Dr. Mensa-Bonsu elaborated that “now rapidly rising population, urbanization, intense competitive uses for more lands, unsustainable exploitation of natural resources are exerting unjustifiable pressure on water resources.” He stated: “unless this trend changes, by 2057, Ghana will be a country without adequate water resources to meet the growing needs of the population.”
“For these reasons, we are not not just looking at securing water for the immediate future, but we’re looking ahead into the distant future to plan for water availability for all sectors of the economy,” he added.
As part of the preparatory process for the long term development plan, sub-groups of experts’ are discussing key issues for major infrastructural development of the nation. Dr. Mensa-Bonsu said, “one of them is on water supply and the experts are addressing the issue of water security, water for transportation, water for power supply, water for domestic use, water for agricultural development and indeed water for all sectors.” The NDPC is therefore expecting these experts to produce a report on how to improve upon water supply and ensure water security in the country.
The Importance of NDPC’s Current Stance
WACDEP’s Programme, Manager Maxwell Boateng Gyimah has welcomed this stance of the NDPC as a very crucial step in the nation’s development since it relates to water security upon which all other sectors of the country’s socio-economic development hinges. He expressed concern about the current destruction of the country’s water bodies especially through illegal mining popularly known as “galamsey. “
Mr. Gyimah noted: “if we fail to guarantee the security of our water bodies, we can’t even talk of sustaining the water service delivery that has improved of late … and if we should couple that with open defecation among other practices, then certainly we will in no time lose the resource that we have, not even to talk about posterity.” He said “it is therefore important that the NDPC maintains water security in the four national development planning cycle.”
Mr. Gyimah, who is also the Executive Secretary of the Country Water Partnership Ghana (CWPG), the implementing agent of WACDEP, said his organization will continue to engage the major players in the development planning processes for an effective pooling of efforts to ensure water security in the country.
WACDEP is an African initiative through partnership of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) with the Global Water Partnership (GWP). The WACDEP initiative recognizes that water resources is one key medium through which climate change affects humans. It therefore seeks to improve the resilience of countries to the increasing threat of climate variability and change to water resources. It was developed in response to the African Heads of States and Governments 2008 Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration on Water and Sanitation.
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