Former Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has formally started work as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Special Envoy for Water in Africa.
A certificate for the appointment was presented to him on Wednesday at his private office in Nairobi by Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa who picked it up on his behalf in Paris, France.
The former Head of State welcomed the appointment and stressed the need for stakeholders in the water sector to work together to realise effective management of the resources in the continent.
“Water has been the source of numerous inter-community and trans-border conflicts in Africa. It is therefore imperative that the office of the Special Envoy promotes the cause of water for peace and people’s development in Africa,” Kibaki stated.
The former President expressed hope that the initiative will ensure proper water governance processes in Africa.
“In discharging the mandate of UNESCO’s Special Envoy for Water in Africa, we recognise the role of the African governments, the private sector, citizens of each African country, and international partnerships. We are keen to work closely with all relevant institutions in the water sector in Africa,” he said.
He noted that progress in the sector will unlock Africa’s potential for faster job-creation, poverty eradication, and socio-economic growth and development.
“As you may be aware, water has been the source of numerous inter-community and trans-border conflicts in Africa. It is therefore imperative that the Office of the Special Envoy promotes the course of water-for-peace and people’s development in Africa,” he said.
Wamalwa described the appointment as a breakthrough in creating the much needed awareness of the scarce commodity not only in the region but in the whole continent.
“This objective to be achieved through expansion and construction of water supply schemes in urban and rural areas will ensure that all Kenyans are better served,” he said.
“His Excellency Mwai Kibaki’s role will among other goals entail drawing attention of Heads of State of governments and civil societies to the importance of sustainable management of the available water resources,” he explained.
Council of Governors Chairman Peter Munya who was also present assured Kibaki of governors’ support in all the counties.
“May I on behalf of the Council of Governors pledge my support. We would like to work closely with you in pushing this agenda of making water accessible to everybody in Africa a reality and water provision being largely a devolved function, we think your appointment will give that agenda impetus as we continue in this struggle of realising the dream of everybody,” he said.
UNESCO Regional Director Mohammed Djelid called for stronger cooperation among all water actors in the continent in order to tackle various challenges affecting water management in Africa.
He noted that his organisation was ready to work with all partners to see that water issues were effectively managed in the continent.
The function was attended by other key players in water matters including the Millennium Water Alliance, Water Services Trust Fund and diplomats among others