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USAID WA-WASH holds its first international event

 For the first time, Africa hosted the 13th Water Information Summit, an opportunity which gathered, in the Burkinabe capital "Ouagadougou", on April 11-13, 2012, information specialists, web site managers, scientists, policymakers, and other stakeholders, to discuss the regional perspectives on water information, to present and discuss case studies of the implementation of international, national, regional, and local water information systems and to examine the use of the Internet to disseminate water information. The 13th Summit was organized by USAID West Africa Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (USAID WA-WASH) Program in collaboration with the Water Web Consortium, under the sponsoring of US Embassy to Burkina Faso and the patronage of the Minister of Agriculture and Hydraulics of Burkina Faso. The opening ceremony was presided by Dr. Sabné Koanda, the Technical Adviser of the Minister of Agriculture and Hydraulics, in the presence of Dr. Maria Donoso, Director of Global Waters for Sustainability Program at Florida International University (GLOWS-FIU) and Dr. Lakhdar Boukerrou, Regional Director of USAID WA-WASH.

 The Summit permitted to exchange of experiences from several regions of the world. More than fifteen speakers presented communications related to the issue of water information.

They therefore suggested that water information has to be collected and disseminated in an efficient way to beneficiate stakeholders. In Burkina Faso, the information produced by the National Water Information System is among others: analytical publications (technical reports, annual, monthly, weekly synthesis) destined to policy makers, managers, technical and financial partners, researchers, analysts.); national, regional and communal yearbooks, destined to research institutes; posters, brochures and online documentation.

The difficulties there are: the insufficiency of human financial resources, the lack of synergy in information management, the belated releasing of functioning budgets, the inadequacy of water resources monitoring procedures, the lack of motivation and encouragements as well as vandalism acts on equipment and tools of measure in some cases.

 In Africa, generally efforts have been made to develop a harmonized methodology for monitoring and evaluating the water sector, and to elaborate a report at the continent level. Challenges consist of how to improve the management of country data; how to assure a reporting mechanism which generates systematic and regular information; how to utilize existing efforts in the field of water and sanitation in the profit of Africa and finally how to utilize the pan African report for local pragmatic change.

 Participants recommended among others: more implication of governments and regional institutions in water resources management; the use of modern information technology and communication strategies in collecting and disseminating water information; the exchange of water information among sub regional institutions; the sensitization of populations; the development of collaboration programs between partners of the sub region and others from the rest of the world.