ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Oct. 12, 2022) – The effects of climate change are intensifying across Africa, with prolonged drought, famine conditions, and severe weather events all on the rise. It’s an issue that country leaders and international partners have been seeking to address for decades, but without significant and consistent global intervention, the nation’s agriculture, economic development, and national security will remain at risk.
Recently, partners gathered to collaborate with six Malagasy ministries and government agencies on the development of sustainable, practical steps Madagascar can take to improve its water security in a two-day workshop in Antananarivo, Madagascar. This event was sponsored by the United States Africa Command, and included representatives from the U.S. Embassy/Department of State (DOS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), UNESCO International Hydrologic Program (IHP), United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the World Bank.
In her remarks to the group, U.S. Ambassador Claire Pierangelo stated, “Access to clean water is a critical human need and essential to the commercial and agricultural needs of the nation.”
Maria Lantz, the acting director of IWR’s Collaboration and Public Participation Center of Expertise, facilitated the workshop with Garth Anderson, AFRICOM’s chief of Environmental Security, and John Heaton, USACE’s liaison officer to AFRICOM. Ravi Ajodah, USACE North Atlantic Division ’s chief of Interagency, International and Environmental Division, presented USACE capabilities to support water security and disaster preparedness, and Will Logan, IWR’s director of the International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM), presented the Climate Risk Informed Decision Analysis (CRIDA) tool.
“The United States has an unwavering and longstanding commitment to Africa,” Dr Logan said. “The water-related ministries at the meeting were kind enough to share their most critical needs and priorities related to modeling, data and information, climate adaptation and disaster forecasting and response. We plan to continue collaborating in those areas that intersect with USACE’s strengths, especially given the ongoing challenges Madagascar faces with alternating droughts and cyclone-driven flooding.”
USACE SMEs are expected to return to the region to implement key actions sometime in the short term. Meanwhile, USACE will continue collaboration with USAFRICOM, U.S. Army attaché and U.S. State Department liaisons on the strategic plan.
According to the U.S. Embassy, the workshop is a part of the U.S. government’s broader commitment to improving water and sanitation in Madagascar. In addition to the ongoing efforts of the U.S. Department of Defense and USAFRICOM, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided $46 million in water and sanitation assistance since 2017, improving access to clean water in both rural and urban areas throughout the country.