Mexico’s Water Advisory Council Welcomes Victor Lichtinger as New President

On June 20, 2018, Consejo Consultivo del Agua (CCA), Mexico’s Water Advisory Council, held a general assembly meeting. During the event, CCA’s President, Dr. Jesus Reyes Heroles, presented CCA’s annual activity report, and talked about several initiatives carried out by CCA. In particular, Dr. Reyes Heroles highlighted and acknowledged CCA’s cooperation with 2030 WRG. Dr. Reyes Heroles also took the opportunity to introduce his successor, Dr. Victor Lichtinger.

As part of his new mandate as CCA’s President, Dr. Lichtinger will be working to strengthen CCA’s work as an independent multi-stakeholder platform that was established in 2000 to support the Mexican government’s initiatives for sustainable water resources management and water security. Dr. Lichtinger was the former Secretary of State for Mexico’s Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources.  He was also the General Coordinator of Environmental Affairs under the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and the Executive Director of NAFTA’s Environmental Cooperation Commission. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Lichtinger had acted as an environmental consultant for the public and private sectors, as well as various international organizations.

Also in attendance at the event was Mr. Roberto Ramírez de la Parra, the General Director of the National Water Commission (CONAGUAs). Mr. Roberto Ramírez de la Parra congratulated Dr. Reyes Heroles on CCA’s achievements, and announced CCA’s integration into CONAGUA as a permanent member of CONAGUAs Technical Committee. Mr. Ary Naim, Head of IFC in Mexico, also attended the event as a special invitee.


Joint Study Mobilizes Action to Counter Water Stress in Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity (MoWIE) hosted the first Joint Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH) – Water Resource Management (WRM) Multi Stakeholder Forum in Addis Ababa on June 11 and 12, 2018.   

The event was attended by representatives from national, regional and local government agencies in Ethiopia, the United Nations, development partners, civil society, private sector, and academia. The cross-sectoral guest list was a testament to the government’s commitment to an inclusive multi-stakeholder strategy to address its water challenges.  

During a session chaired by Ato Abraham, MoWIE’s State Minister for Water Resource Management, the National Planning Commission (NPC) and 2030 WRG, jointly presented the findings of a hydro-economic analysis (HEA). The research team delivered a sobering fact—nearly all of Ethiopia’s basins are at risk of extreme water stress by 2030.   

Early Findings Indicate Extreme Water Stress by 2030 

Although the findings of the technical analysis indicate that most of Ethiopia’s basins currently experience low to moderate water stress, the research team cautioned that figures aggregated to the annual and basin-level scale can obscure more severe water stress that could be triggered by factors such as seasonality of demand, variability of supply, and a mismatch between water demand and supply. Indeed, despite a positive total water balance, the majority of Ethiopia’s twelve basins have water demand profiles that do not match supply distribution, leading to shortages as the spatial distribution of rainfall continues to change.   

Many water basins, particularly those along the southern and eastern edges of the country, have populations that are highly sensitive to any water stress.   

Looking ahead, Ethiopia’s growing population and economy, in combination with climate change, the depletion of groundwater reserves, and pollution of surface water will likely increase water demand and reduce supply. Without adequate and timely intervention by the public and private sectors, existing risks will most likely escalate.   

The implications of the analysis’ findings support the government’s messaging around the joint-conference—the cross-cutting nature of Ethiopia’s water challenges will require an integrated approach that involves actors from different sectors. The findings will feed into the 15-year perspective planning for Ethiopia, which aims to set the direction for the national policy towards 2030. This planning process is being led by NPC, and will be jointly implemented by several relevant line-ministries.   

Mobilizing Support for Coordinated Action  

To support the government of Ethiopia’s perspective planning exercise, the Ethiopia 2030 WRG team has been actively working to mobilize private, public, and civil society partners behind the inclusive vision set by the government, which aligns perfectly with 2030 WRG’s vision of sufficient safe water to support the needs of Ethiopia’s people, ecosystems, and economy.  

To complement the government-led Water Resource Management Joint Technical Review (WRM-JTR) process that aims to develop a clear and common agenda for Ethiopia’s water resources sector, 2030 WRG is collaborating with NPC on leveraging the HEA process to convene stakeholders and drive engagement in parallel.   

In addition to its role as active participants for the water quality and ground water work-stream under the joint technical review, Ethiopia 2030 WRG is convening key stakeholders from the private and public sectors to review preliminary findings from the HEA and begin the process of narrowing potential deep dive topics. The team has already held its second round of advisory group meetings with government and corporate stakeholders and anticipates their active participation in upcoming deep-dive meetings.    

The sessions were well-attended and the attendees actively debated the merits of the topics presented for a deep dive analysis as part of the HEA. An online survey has been sent out to decide on the deep dive areas. Decisions will be made based on: i) impact in closing water demand-supply gap; and ii) expressed leadership by advisory group members. Both advisory groups agreed to take some time to review 2030 WRG’s proposals and will reconvene in August.

Like Water, Knowledge That Flows Stay Fresh

Regional teams from 2030 WRG in Africa and the World Bank Water Global Practice gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for its Africa Learning Week event in May, 2018. The goal was to share knowledge and lay the foundations of collaboration necessary to deliver on the promise of sustainability at scale.

The joint-learning event— hosted by the Water GP—marked the first time that regional practitioners from both 2030 WRG and the Water GP convened since 2030 WRG’s transition from IFC to the Water GP in January 2018. For 2030 WRG’s Africa team, the event was an opportunity to introduce Water GP colleagues to its ongoing engagements in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania. The event also allowed the team to showcase Africa 2030 WRG’s capacity to convene diverse partners necessary to co-develop effective public-private solutions.

“The threats of water scarcity are urgent and real. For the people who have dedicated themselves to delivering on the goal of global water security, the scale of the task at hand can be daunting. Events like this give them the opportunity to share experiences and learn from each other. Perhaps more importantly, such events also give them the opportunity to witness the momentum and drive behind their shared vision,” said Karin Krchnak, 2030 WRG’s Program Manager.

Throughout the week, participants identified numerous areas of potential collaboration that hold promise for delivering outsized impact. Ideas that surfaced during the event include piloting innovative technologies—through existing water stewardship platforms established by 2030 WRG— to address enforcement challenges, scaling up farmer-led irrigation initiatives, and leveraging partnerships for the delivery of new catchment and watershed management initiatives.

Kenya 2030 WRG’s experience in crowding-in private sector participation in farmer-led irrigation featured prominently in several sessions on private sector participation in irrigation development. Kenya 2030 WRG’s convening power will no doubt open doors to greater cooperation in this area.

In her keynote presentation on Water GP’s Africa Strategy, Director Jennifer Sara recognized the instrumentality of 2030 WRG in shaping the evolution of the World Bank Group’s water agenda going forward. Her message spoke directly to the focus of 2030 WRG’s leadership on leveraging partnerships to develop commercial financing solutions that not only reach the poor effectively, but are also environmentally and socially inclusive and sustainable.

Africa 2030 WRG teams returned from the event eager to build on their freshly-acquired knowledge, as well as the spirit of collaboration forged during the week to harness partnership opportunities for greater scale and impact.