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The new water architecture in southern Africa: reflections on current trends in the light of ‘Rio+10’

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Abstract:

UN Secretary–General Kofi Annan has identified water and sanitation as a principle area of focus for the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). It is fitting that this meeting is being held in Johannesburg, as water resources management issues are of primary importance to the southern African region. There is a new water architecture being developed in the region, one that hopes to correct abiding structural inequalities of access between and among states, communities and peoples. Part of this new water architecture includes an enhanced role for the private sector and ‘the market’ in the provision and management of this crucial resource. This is a role that many feel will exacerbate rather than alleviate historically derived problems of underdevelopment. It is a role, therefore, that may undermine many of the positive developments that have taken place in the region over time. If regional leaders are interested in sustainable and equitable water resources management, they must be prepared openly to debate this issue with all interested parties not only at the WSSD, but also in the region and beyond.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Botswana and Coordinator of a Ford Foundation/South African Water Research Commission–funded project

Publication date: July 1, 2002

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