CLOSING STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR. KAMAL ALI MOHAMED, MINISTER OF IRRIGATION AND WATER RESOURCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE SUDAN, CHAIR OF THE GROUP OF 77, AT THE FIRST GROUP OF 77 MINISTERIAL FORUM ON WATER (Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, 25 February 2009)
1. We have come to the end of our Meeting. We have had an extremely useful and intense Interactive Session at both round tables and we have listened to statements from all delegations at this forum. Allow me to express our deep satisfaction on seeing this G-77 Ministerial Forum on Water concluding successfully its deliberations.
2. The outcome has been extremely successful. We have all agreed that water is the engine of economic growth and that not a single human being or any other form of life can exist without it. Access to drinking water should be a human birthright, as much a birthright as access to clean air. Since about one billion people in the South lacks access to safe water supplies and two billion do not have access to adequate sanitation, it is vital that our countries increase their efforts in order to facilitate access to drinkable water and better sanitation services for their populations.
3. We have also recognized the fact that technologies are now available for making water both potable and safe, for saving and redistributing its supplies for reducing the demand for water and securing new sources of water. Many southern countries have accumulated varied degrees of these technologies for water treatment capacities that can be shared with other challenged developing countries.
4. We also pointed out that the United Nations system plays through diverse mechanisms, an important role in addressing the issue of water and coordinating numerous interventions in order to better support the efforts of countries and institutions to accelerate progress in water resources management. Not only that progress is insufficient but not even. The socio-economic development of many countries is still affected by limited access to water and sanitation services.
5. We have stress the vital importance of South-South Cooperation as a key element to support countries of the South in their efforts to improve the management, conservation, and sustainable use of water resources and promote social and economic growth. We pointed out the need for water policy to be inclusive embracing the environment, economic considerations and water as a social good.
6. We acknowledged therefore the need for our countries to explore new ways and avenues among ourselves to tackle basic needs in terms of water resources. We must be active both in management and development of water resources infrastructures in order to increase access and effective use to safe water for the populations of the South.
7. We have agreed that a commonly shared vision and a unified execution of our visions would inspire self-reliance and strengthen partnerships among our countries. Strengthening existing multilateral funding mechanisms for South-South Cooperation and promoting regional, inter-regional and sub-regional sectoral cooperation in water resources management will greatly impact our progress in that endeavor.
8. In sum, this Forum calls upon all G-77 countries to make safe drinking water available to all our people by adopting new methods and community practices and available technologies towards this goal. In addition, we recommend intensification of efforts to devise new and cost effective technologies for the provision and the purification of water for the southern populations. Our overall goal is to promote efficient and sufficient development and utilization of water resources in accordance with socio-economic and environmental needs for present and coming generations.
9. These contributions are all extremely useful and they deserve our careful consideration with a view to take appropriate follow-up action. I wish to congratulate all of you for your active participation.
10. In conclusion, allow me to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to his Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said and to the Government and the people of the Sultanate of Oman for hosting this Forum and the warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to us.
11. I also wish to express our most sincere appreciation to His Highness Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for Cabinet Affairs for his able leadership. Let me also express our sincere thanks to His Excellency Mr. Abdullah bin Salim Bin Amer Al-Rawas, Minister of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources of the Sultanate of Oman and the Organizing Committee for the excellent preparations and the facilities made for the Forum
12. Let me also thank very sincerely Mr. Mourad Ahmia, Executive Secretary of the Group of 77 and his competent team for the excellent arrangements made for the success of this Forum. My thanks also go to all the local staff and the interpreters, as well as the media and press, who have contributed directly or indirectly to the success of the Forum.
I wish to all of you a safe return trip and thank you.