NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 23 – The European Union (EU) and its member states will continue supporting Kenya’s water sector in a bid to reach over 40 per cent of Kenyan’s lacking access to clean and adequate water.
Head of Development Cooperation for the European Delegation in Kenya Erik Habers said despite Kenya being elevated to a middle-income economy, the EU had no immediate plans to end support for water and development projects.
The elevation of Kenya to a lower-middle income economy has ramification on future donor support.
However, more than 80 per cent of funds to Water Services Trust Fund come from development partners and the EU said it’s premature to stop donor support.
He was speaking at a press conference by key partners to the water sector on the sidelines of the first Kenya Water Week at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC).
Speaking at the same press conference, the First Secretary of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Noeke Ruiter, affirmed that her country would cease all aid to Kenya by 2020 but added that they would work with the government to implement sustainable models to replace aid.
While acknowledging that aid to Kenya would eventually cease, Deputy Head of Mission of the Danish Embassy, Lars Bredal called for a more phased approach to the cessation of aid to ensure programmes remained on course towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals.
“County governments now face the challenge of being responsive to the needs of their electorates and to honour the constitutional obligation to progressively provide water services to all people. This will stimulate business and employment opportunities, trade, efficiency and capacity for water and sanitation providers,” the diplomats said.
The Principal Secretary for Water and Irrigation, Fred Segor said the government was cognisant of diminishing aid for development and was putting in place mechanisms to ensure sustainable funding to the sector as aid decreases.
On his part, Kenya Water Trust Fund CEO, Ismail Shaiye said Kenyans will take ownership of water programmes if they pool resources, and employ best practices and innovations developed both locally and internationally.
The Ministry of Water and Irrigation is for the first time in Kenya hosting the Kenya Water Week and Conference in Nairobi from 20th to 25th November, 2016.
The Water Week is providing a unique forum for the exchange of views, experience and practices between the scientific, business, policy and civic communities.
The conference is being held after the adoption of SDG’s globally and amid efforts to operationalise the 2010 Constitution which recognises that access to safe and sufficient water is a basic human right. The Constitution also assigns responsibility for water supply and sanitation to 47 established Counties.
The Water Act 2016 is aimed at streamlining the water sector especially between the national and county government.
The insights and conversation in the water week and conference will provide a critical cornerstone for the process to refine the building blocks for an implementation framework of the SDG development agenda in Kenya.