09:30-10:00 A Broader Discussion about SDG6 “Clean Water and Sanitation” in Africa

Presenter: Dr Jean Albergel
Presenter: Prof Akissa Bahri

Dr Jean Albergel

Senior Scientist in hydrology. Dr Albergel joined IRD (the French Research Institute for Sustainable Development) in 1979 and spent most of his working life in Africa; especially in semi-arid countries where he addressed four related scientific topics: (1) infiltration processes, runoff, erosion and fluxes transfers at the scale of cultivated catchments, (2) impacts of climate variability on water resources, (3) water and land management and ecosystem services under threat from climate change, (4) nexus water,  energy, food security.

He has held the following positions in research management: (1) laboratory director at the Montpellier Agricultural School (2001-2006), (2) representative of the French Research Institute (IRD) for East Africa, posted in Nairobi (2006-2012), (3) director of European affairs at the IRD headquarters (2012-2013), and (4) representative of the French research institutions in Southern Africa and director of the IRD-CNRS-CIRAD joint office in Pretoria (2013-2017). He is now posted in Montpellier as Special Advisor to Prof. Jean-Paul Moatti for the UN Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR 2019).

Prof Akissa Bahri

Professor at INAT (The National Agronomic Institute of Tunis). Former Coordinator of the African Water Facility (AWF) at the African Development Bank, Director for Africa at the International Water Management Institute, and Director of Research at the National Research Institute for Agricultural Engineering, Water, and Forestry in Tunisia Prof Bahri has also been involved in policy and legislative issues regarding water reuse and land application of sewage sludge. Her experience includes substantial achievements in research, research management, and capacity building. She has assisted her country, Tunisia, in supplementing its scarce water resources with reclaimed water, and providing environmentally safe and useful means of sewage sludge recycling through land application.

She is a member of different international scientific committees and has received international honours from the Guinness Foundation (1984), the International Foundation for Science (1993), the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (1996), and the 2009 “Prof. C.N.R. Rao Prize for Scientific Research”. She was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of California at Davis from January to June 2005.

Access to safe water and sanitation, as well as sound management of water ecosystems are recognized as some of the main drivers to human health and to environmental sustainability and social and economic well being. Given the various water crises in Africa in recent years, including the water shortages in the Western Cape and, in particular, the challenging water supply of large cities like Cape Town, this science talk would like to draw public attention to important water-related issues and show how science can address them.

How can the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for water and sanitation and their results in Africa be assessed? How can the Sustainable Development Goal for water and sanitation (SDG6)and its targets, in particular,be evaluated? What can be learned from the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)’s recognition of the right to drinking water and sanitation as a human right?

How can the current state of research and knowledge of water resources be assessed? How can this knowledge be better disseminated to decision-makers at different levels? What are the challenges, opportunities and best practices for supporting knowledge, governance, resilient investments, preparedness and response capabilities to water-related risks, mainly flood and drought risks?