Statement by Mr. Mebrahtu Iyassu Mehari
Director General of Water Resources Department of the State of Eritrea
Conference on the Midterm Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of
International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development
22-24 March 2023, New York
Ladies and gentlemen
On behalf of the Government of the State of Eritrea and on my own behalf, I feel honored to deliver this brief remark to the Conference on the issue of the Midterm Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028.
At the outset, I wish to take this opportunity to extend my appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands as well as to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs as the conference secretariat, with the support of the UN Water for hosting the Conference.
Recognizing that water resources are essential for domestic use, agriculture/irrigation and industrial purposes and the issue of Water for Sustainable Development, Eritrea has been working hard for the last three decades in mitigating the effects of drought, climate change and environmental degradation by surface and ground water development.
The need for decisive actions to ensure an adequate supply of water is necessary. Therefore, my government has laid out an enabling environment to sustainably improve water management, for instance, by increasing the efficiency of water consumption rather than increasing the supply. Additionally, to ensure that projects are sustainable, committees are organized, trained and gradually have taken full responsibility of maintenance. As a result of our sustainable water project plans, the quality of drinking water has increased, which in return has a significant impact on the overall public health of our communities.
Eritrea believes that water for sustainable development can be achieved by developing a national water road map and through collective actions of all parties. Water resources, if conserved and managed properly, can play a significant role in increasing socioeconomic development. However, it requires effective national, regional and international partnership, which is of paramount importance in the international endeavor to mitigate water related disasters.
Eritrea is committed to the achievements of the ultimate objectives of water for sustainable development acknowledging that water, sanitation, health, ecosystems, food systems and nutrition are interlinked and that the rising trend of losses caused by water related disasters, such as drought, floods and salinity intrusion must be addressed.
In view of this, Eritrea’s water roadmap and action plans present concrete measures and steps that need to be taken in the implementation of the water projects and programs that include integrated water resources management, water strategic plan, WASH strategic plan, capacity building, technology transfer, financial support and partnership with national, regional and international agencies involved in water for sustainable development.
The immediate development priority of Eritrea is to meet the basic needs of its population through achieving economic stability, rehabilitating and expanding infrastructures that will contribute to improving the living conditions of our people. In order to withstand the impacts of water scarcity and land degradation, adaptation activities commonly carried out in some parts of Eritrea include surface and ground water development, soil and water conservation, afforestation, reforestation and area closure. We have adopted a Climate smart water use system, which reduces flooding through maintaining groundwater recharge; sustainable use of river basins; introducing new technologies in irrigated agriculture and dissemination of knowledge in the protection of water resources. Furthermore, we have introduced policies and related programs aiming at promoting drought-resistant breeds of livestock and focused at ecosystem enhancement, drought resistant crop varieties, integrated pest management and disease control with other cultural practices.
Eritrea has mobilized a substantial amount of resources to develop and enhance the enabling environment for achieving goals under the Water Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028. It has also issued a number of water laws, directives, legal notices and standards, as well as the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) plan, Water Strategic plan and WASH Strategy and Investment Plan to address water sustainability issues. Eritrea is also committed to international endeavors for sustainable use of water.
Having full regard to the objectives of International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028, my delegation expresses its full support and remains committed, in this regard, to all types of cooperation in terms of the water related conventions, agreements and agendas that it had acceded to and signed to ensure water for sustainable development.
To conclude, Eritrea will continue to undertake effective measures in mitigating the effects of water related disasters, climate change, combating desertification, environmental restoration and sustainable use of natural resources. For Eritrea, improving the livelihood of its people and ensuring water for sustainable development, is not an option but an obligation and a matter of necessity, owing to the country’s location in a drought prone geographic location of the African region.
My delegation gives a thumbs up to the “Water Action Agenda” which is also consistent with the goals set out in SDG 6, and expresses its sincere hope that the global community will come together to take concrete actions on water for sustainable development.
Thank you for your attention!