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Blue Deal Programme enters second phase

24th November 2022

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online

     

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The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), in collaboration with the Dutch water authorities, on November 24 hosted a Blue Deal conference, which included the signing of an agreement for Phase 2 of the Blue Deal Programme.

This programme is a collaboration and partnership between the Netherlands Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Infrastructure and Water Management and all the Dutch water authorities to support local and national governments.

The programme is run in different countries worldwide, with a global goal to improve the water situation of 20-million people by 2030.

In South Africa, the programme focuses on elements of the National Water and Sanitation Masterplan. It is also aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The programme has also partnered with other entities in the sector, such as the Water Research Commission, the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency, the South African Logal Government Association, the Department of Cooperate Governance and Traditional Affairs and various water authorities in the country.

It aims to implement solutions that will assist in improving water resources and services in South Africa.

It also aims to strengthen water management and to advocate for cooperative solving of water-related issues at local government level.

The programme is part of the Dutch Blue Deal, which runs from 2018 to 2030.

The start of Phase 2 was lauded by various speakers, who also hailed the successes that Phase 1 enjoyed.

However, they also called for work to be bolstered and sped up, to ensure 2030 climate adaptation goals were met and climate change was mitigated, for implementation to occur expeditiously and for lessons from Phase 1 to be applied and built on in this next phase.

Speaking at the conference, Blue Deal Worldwide head Hein Pieper lauded the Blue Deal community, saying it had global significance and recognition.

He highlighted the growing importance of water globally, especially given the impacts of climate change already being felt.

Pieper said that, as a result of the pivotal role of water, the programme held the potential to find solutions to climate change and assist with climate mitigation. He emphasised the importance of collaboration in this regard, noting that this was where action occured.

In the next phase, he said the programme would seek to increase the speed of work and projects undertaken, with big actions needed before 2030.

South Africa's Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister David Mahlobo, meanwhile, commented that the programme had already benefitted the country.

He also lauded agreements to collaborate on research and development; as well as agreements for Dutch solutions to be brought into the country.

Mahlobo said a considerable challenge facing the country was that, while access to water was improved greatly, this was not done in a holistic manner that saw infrastructure being improved, maintained and expanded to accommodate the growing population and more people being provided with this service.

He emphasised that South Africa had to invest more in infrastructure.

In moving into Phase 2, speakers were united in calling for partnerships to be strengthened, for political leadership to be brought on board at a local government level, and for the programme to be made part of entities’ yearly plans and budgets so that they were analysed regularly and funded.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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