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06.12.2012

Official AWASLA Press Release

The Africa Water and Sanitation Local Authorities (AWASLA) Network was officially launched yesterday, 4 December 2012, during the opening day of the Africities 6 Summit in Dakar, Senegal.

 

AWASLA is a dynamic, innovative and powerful platform for local governments to connect, exchange knowledge and good practice, to inform decision making and empower advocacy - ensuring that the local government voice is heard at both the regional and international level. The Network is open to all local and sub-national governments, and their associations in Africa, committed to achieving more sustainable and effective urban water and sanitation practices in African cities.

The launch was presided over by Mayor Ousmane Drame from the City of Nioro du Rip, Senegal, in his official capacity as Chair of the ICLEI Africa Committee. Mayor Drame welcomed participants to his home country of Senegal and noted that the launch was an opportunity for local governments to consolidate momentum in seeking a more sustainable and resilient urban water and sanitation future in Africa.

With the pressures of rapid urbanization and population growth cities are experiencing increasing demand at the local level for basic services such as water and sanitation. Mayor Drame recognized that local governments, as the sphere of government closest to the community, must identify innovative strategies and practices in order to meet this growing demand.

The three founding partners of the AWASLA Network ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability-Africa, host to the AWASLA Secretariat, the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA) and International Water Association (IWA) invited local governments to endorse the Network and demonstrate their commitment to improving urban water and sanitation practices on the continent.

During the launch, Charles Patsika of the UCLGA (who spoke on behalf of Taraiya Ole Kores, President of UCLGA) said “We require deliberate, focused and persistent effort directed towards resolving this challenge - we must as Africa address our challenges in a more coherent manner; one that links research and theory to practice and solutions development… AWASLA has the potential to achieve that goal.”

The launch also saw the participation of founding partner IWA, who was represented by Christophe le Jalle of Programme Solidarité Eau (pS-Eau). Le Jalle emphasised the need for working with city level actors to improve the quality of urban water supply and sanitation service delivery and recognized the AWALSA Network as an opportune platform for this: “IWA sees the launch of the Africa Water and Sanitation Local Authorities Network as an excellent opportunity to engage with local authorities in different cities in Africa and influence the development of strategic plans for different aspects of urban water supply and sanitation service provision which relate closely to IWA’s existing programmes. We believe that together we can make great strides to attain resilient water and sanitation services and sustainable urban water management practices.”

Partnerships, collaboration, knowledge exchange and innovation are the basic principles African local governments need to adopt and apply in order to address the urban water and sanitation challenges and opportunities on the continent. AWASLA aims to engage regional and international organisations, non-governmental organisations, research institutions and individuals as Associates to the Network, towards building a platform for the exchange of knowledge and best practice for urban water and sanitation in Africa.

The AWASLA Secretariat will shortly be launching its online platform which can be accessed at www.awasla.org. For more information on the official launch or about the Africa Water and Sanitation Local Authorities (AWASLA) Network please contact email: awasla@iclei.org or via telephone at +27 21 487 2312.


 
 
 
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