UNESCO agencies have organized an African regional workshop on water quality and emerging pollutants in waste water in Accra, Ghana during 25-27 September 2018. The core organizing agencies were UNESCO International Hydrological Programme - International Initiative on Water Quality (IIWQ), Regional Centre for Integrated River Basin Management (RC-IRBM), under the auspices of UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office in Abuja, UNESCO Office in Accra, and UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP).
The objectives of the training workshop were to:
i) strengthen water quality governance in the region, with a special focus on emerging pollutants;
ii) strengthen/build capacity on water quality and emerging pollutants management in water and wastewater; and the safe reuse of wastewater in the Sub-Saharan Africa;
iii) raise awareness on emerging pollutants management in water and wastewater; and the safe reuse of wastewater;
iv) increase the knowledge about SDG 6 at the global level and engage in the Public Dialogue for SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2018.
The 3-day workshop received 71 participants comprising of quality experts, researchers, and policy makers in the water sector from 27 African Countries from Western, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa.
The training sessions were organized under the following themes:
- Session 1: Water Quality for the Achievement of the SDGs in Africa
- Session 2: Emerging Pollutants; Definition, Types, Sources and Pathways to the
- Session 3: Monitoring Emerging Pollutants
- Session 4: Emerging Pollutants: Potential Risks to Human Health and Ecosystems
- Session 5: Approaches to Managing Emerging Pollutants in Water and
- Session 6: Emerging Pollutants: Research Priorities and Filling the Knowledge
- Session 7: Water Quality and Emerging Pollutants Management; Capacity
Building, Awareness Raising and Socioeconomic Dimension
- Session 8 Improving Water Quality and addressing Emerging Pollutants:
Opportunities and Challenges
The summary of the SDG 6 Synthesis Report was also presented by the UNESCO World Water Assessment Programmer (WWAP).
The Executive Director of Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for the African Region (BCCC-Africa), during session 3, gave a presentation titled: “Assessing Emerging Pollutants in Wastes and the Environment: Role of the Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for the African Region in Nigeria” focusing on generating awareness of studies conducted by the Centre on emerging pollutants in wastes and waters, and of the facilities available at the Centre’s Geo-Reference Laboratory for analysis of samples for emerging pollutants.
Premised on the training presentations and the group roundtable and plenary discussions, the participants agreed on the following recommendations and future action plans.
- -Establishment of a regional network of Laboratories than can handle Water Quality Analyses and those of EPs;
- -Establishment of Water Safety Plan;
- - Implementation of National Workshops to cascade the training at communities and national levels in the various countries
- -Preparation and publication of policy briefs to give feedback for decision making;
- - Establishment of cross-sectoral partnerships and collaboration; which is necessary in tacking the challenges of water quality; especially with respect to EPs;
- -Establishment of the African Network of the UNESCO IIWQ to be known as African Initiative for Water Quality and domiciled at the RC-IRBM;
- -Create a data sharing platform on water quality and emerging pollutants for scientific information dissemination;
- -Inclusion of Emerging Pollutants in the existing course content of all levels of education
- -Encourage applied research in water quality studies and EPs
- -Establishment of partnership and strategy for Synergy
- -Inventory of accredited Water and Wastewater Quality Analyses Laboratories in the Region to provide relevant information on available analytical skills and services.