Developed as one of the outputs in a partnership between UN-HABITAT, the Zanzibar Water Authority, and the African Development Bank, the plan will complement efforts by the Government of Zanzibar to achieve the Millennium Development Goals for water and sanitation.
Speaking during the ceremony held in State House Zanzibar, President Karume thanked Mrs. Tibaijuka for the support UN-HABITAT has accorded his Government in its efforts to improve access to water and sanitation, particularly for marginalised and vulnerable groups in Zanzibar. He urged UN-HABITAT to strengthen its support for capacity building within the water sector to ensure that the gains made are sustainable. The president also noted the need to scale up joint efforts to protect water sources, including wetlands and forests, improve urban planning, slum upgrading, and urban waste management.
The African Development Bank has approved funding for a water and sanitation project for Zanzibar with the support of UN-HABITAT. Among components to be addressed by the US $ 65 million project are institutional development in the water and sanitation sector, improvements in urban water supply and sanitation, and water resource management. President Karume noted that this enhanced level of cooperation would require a more visible presence for UN-HABITAT in Zanzibar, and more direct participation by Zanzibar at global events such as the World Urban Forum.
Congratulating President Karume on his able leadership, which she said has resulted in accelerated economic growth for Zanzibar, Mrs. Tibaijuka assured him that UN-HABITAT will support the participation of the Ministry of Water, Construction, Lands and Energy at the forthcoming World Urban Forum. Impressed by the conservation efforts of the Government in Zanzibar Stone Town, Mrs. Tibaijuka said UN-HABITAT will facilitate exchange programmes with the city of Barcelona to enable officials from Zanzibar to learn more about the preservation and management of ancient sites.
Under the Water for African Cities Programme, UN-HABITAT will undertake pilot initiatives in rainwater harvesting, and support the energy sector in Zanzibar to identify alternative sources of energy in order to reduce the cost of pumping water. Under the partnership with the African Development Bank, UN-HABITAT will also offer the Zanzibar water sector technical assistance for procurement and project management, support for the development of a water demand management strategy and a sanitation concept design for Ugunja and Pemba, and the development of a water resources monitoring strategy.
Mrs Tibaijuka presented autographed copies of her book Building Prosperity to the President and to the Minister for Water, Construction, Lands, and Energy, Mansoor Yussuf Himid.