DWS signs cooperation MoUs with two European countries

27th March 2023 By: Natasha Odendaal - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

A new memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between South Africa and Finland, while a standing MoU has been renewed with the Netherlands during the United Nations 2023 Water conference, held last week in New York.

The move aims to establish and sustain collaborations with global partners with common interests and further enhance measures to ensure water security in South Africa.

Signed by Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu and Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland Dr Jaana Husu-Kallio, the MoU between South Africa and Finland aims to promote water security and is focused on integrated water resources and river basin management.

This includes the management of groundwater/aquifer and surface water and river basins and the adaptation to and the mitigation of the impacts of climate change in water resources management, as well as hydrological extremes, including floods, drought, water quality, waterborne diseases and other water-related risk management, besides others.

Finland has considerable expertise in water resources management and protection as well as in water-related technology, planning, construction and research, Mchunu said in a statement post the signing.

“Integrated water resources management is the dominant paradigm in contemporary water resources management. Finland has implemented such an approach for decades, aiming at win-win partnerships. It has also been the guiding principle in Finnish water legislation. Signing this MoU is a much-needed boost the sector requires back home,” he says.

Meanwhile, the MoU with the Netherlands has been renewed for an additional four years to collaborate on inspiring and capacitating young talents in water, climate and sustainability in South Africa and internationally.

South Africa’s relationship with the Netherlands on water was formalised through the signing of an MoU between the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the DWS in July 2014.

The renewed MoU was officially signed by Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) director-general Dr Sean Phillips and Wetskills Foundation manager Johan Oost, with obligations that include addressing skills gaps in the water supply value chain and in technical areas within the water sector as well as to develop professional water ambassadors that can protect and manage future water resources.

In addition, the two governments are obligated to organise various activities for students and young professionals in the water sector, creating innovation and empowering young people and integrating young and established professionals in the water sector.