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Africa Water Week Addresses Climate and Development

23 November 2010: In an opening statement to the Climate, Water and Development Segment of the Third African Water Week, Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union (AU), addressed the links between climate change, water, infrastructure and livelihoods.

She contrasted the situation of developed countries and emerging economies, for which she said climate variability is a manageable risk, with the situation of Africa, where she said climate change destabilizes entire economies, societies and livelihoods. She also stressed that, often, responses to economic demands and climate change result in unaffordable infrastructure and services that marginalize large sections of the population, and highlighted that the poor are the first to be hit by adverse effects of climate change and the last to benefit from remedial measures.

She also drew attention to the fact that Africa has by far the lowest water storage of any part of the world, and noted the role of dams and wetlands as buffer to floods and droughts. She recommended that benefits from large infrastructure be shared and concluded by calling for the rapid implementation at all levels of alternative technologies for rainwater harvesting, storage in the soil profile, and groundwater augmentation to accelerate access to water and food security. The Third Africa Water Week is taking place from 22-26 November 2010, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. [The Speech] [Third Africa Water Week Website]