African countries and the international community adopted the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nation Millennium Summit in September 2009, through which water scarcity and related insecurity were identified as one of the main reasons for the continent’s underdevelopment and increasing economic decline.
The first African Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology (AMCOST), held in Johannesburg in 2003, decided on water science and technology (S&T) as one of the main flagship programmes of NEPAD. Within the framework of the NEPAD the leaders committed themselves to ensure sustainable access to safe and adequate clean water supply and sanitation, especially for the poor. They emphazised that S&T plays an important role in water development, supply and management and that S&T are crucial for assessing, monitoring and ensuring water quality. The flagship programme will strengthen the continent’s capabilities to harness and apply S&T to address challenges of securing adequate clean water as well as managing the continent’s resources to become a basis for national and regional cooperation and development.
The Southern Africa Network for Water (Water CoE) is one of the African regional networks as decided at the “Consultative Workshop on Establishing the Southern Africa Network of Centres of Excellence in Water Science and Technology” held in Johannesburg in April 2009.