São Tomé, São Tomé and Príncipe – In December 2016, a team of 5 water experts from Cabo Verde travelled to São Tomé and Príncipe for 5 days to meet national representatives from the water sector and exchanges best practices in the field of water management. The initiative was organised by the Atlantic and Indian Ocean Small Island Developing States Integrated Water Resources Management Project (so called “IWRM AIO SIDS Project”) in partnership with the Agency for Water and Sanitation of Cabo Verde (ANAS) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment of São Tomé and Príncipe.
The government of Cabo Verde recently reformed its national institutions and policies in a bid to make water and wastewater resources management more efficient. Coincidentally, the government of São Tomé and Príncipe is currently kick starting a similar process and expressed interest in learning more about successful cases of reforms.
In this context, an exchange programme was organised by the IWRM AIO SIDS project and resulted in substantive improvement of the Water Act that the government of São Tomé and Príncipe is preparing. Representatives from both countries also discussed how to improve gender balance and mainstreaming in the water sector, taking the development of the “Gender Strategy for Water” in Cabo Verde as a good example to replicate. During the session on gender, the Agency for Water and Sanitation of Cabo Verde also proposed to assign its gender specialist to help develop a “Gender Strategy for Water” for São Tomé and Príncipe .
Thanks to the exchange programme, the 5 experts from Cabo Verde realised they could replicate some ideas implemented in São Tomé and Príncipe such as the creation of river basin committee and the construction of small targeted water catchment systems to provide water to isolated communities.
In total, 75 people participated to the various sessions and field trips organised in the framework of the programme. Both countries were very pleased with the successful outcome of the initiative and suggested to plan a second exchange programme in March. The event in March will target high-level policy makers from São Tomé and Príncipe and Comoros and will take place in Cabo Verde.
Promoting south-south cooperation between Small Island Developing States (SIDS) facing similar challenges, or susceptible to learn from each other, is one of the goals of the IWRM AIO SIDS project.
Click here to see the pictures from the event.