African Ministers Pledge to Develop the Continent’s Water Resources for Agriculture and Energy

Water for Agriculture and Energy in Africa: the Challenges of Climate Change

17 December 2008: During the ministerial conference “Water for Agriculture and Energy in Africa: the Challenges of Climate Change,” held from 15-17 December 2008, in Sirte, Libya, ministers from 53 African countries adopted the Sirte Declaration, in which they pledge to promote water development throughout the continent to fully exploit Africa's agricultural and hydroenergy potential.

Organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Government, delegates recognized that the challenges faced by the continent concerning food security, the Millennium Development Goals, increased energy demand and climate change required all countries to move together. Delegates agreed that implementing integrated water, agriculture and energy programmes to enhance sustainable development in Africa should be considered a priority.

In the Declaration, delegates pledge, among other actions, to: adopt sound policies and reforms for water development at all levels to fully exploit the potentials of the agriculture and energy sectors; approve a framework for investment in water development that considers small scale water control, improvement of existing water infrastructure and the development of large river basins; establish or enhance early warning systems at the regional level as well as their coordination at the continental level to avert the negative impact of

drought, desertification, floods, natural disasters and pests; and foster research and development in renewable energy and agriculture to increase the continent's resilience and adaptation to climate change. [FAO Press Release] [Conference Website] [Draft Declaration]