DR MALAL TOURE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF ENDA EAU POPULAIRE
"By 2025 we will have made a lot of progress on SDG 6 for water and sanitation"
(Enda Tiers monde) - Executive Director of Enda Eau-populaire, Dr Malal Touré shows his optimism for the achievement of SDG 6, relating to issues related to drinking water and sanitation for all, by 2030 The investments put in place by the Senegalese state lead it to believe that, soon, the tensions that arise over access to water will soon be nothing more than a memory.
ENDA THIRD WORLD: SDG 6 calls for "Ensure universal access to water and sanitation". Is Senegal in a position to achieve this goal?
MALAL TOURÉ: In Senegal, a lot has been done in terms of access to drinking water and sanitation. The state has invested a lot. When you drive around the country, you see boreholes and water towers everywhere that are financed under the program of the Office des Forages Ruraux (OFOR), and in urban areas many installations have been made by SONES as part of access to drinking water in urban areas. And I think that by 2025, even if we will not have achieved the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we will have made a lot of progress.
But does the Covid 19 pandemic not call for readjustments on the part of the government to improve water and sanitation policy?
I would say yes and no, because access to drinking water and the construction of infrastructure have nothing to do with the Covid 19 pandemic. This pandemic must not be a barrier to hamper all development. in Senegal. Access to drinking water can therefore continue on its way without thinking about this disease, which risks putting the brakes on many things. When we look at the investments for the urban sector, with the establishment of "Keur Momar Sarr 3" as part of the absorption of the water deficit in the city of Dakar (it is a pipe that must connect the Lac de Guiers in Dakar), it is in progress and should be operational by the end of the year. I think we will have eliminated a lot of the deficit by then. There is also a major program that is being implemented by OFOR inside the country. These are boreholes and water towers that are financed by the state. So I think we are on the right track to achieve these SDGs and I believe the Covid 19 pandemic cannot stop this momentum.
What is the situation like in the areas where Enda Eau Populaire operates?
We work in rural areas and there the problem does not arise. The problem is in urban areas, such as Dakar, where we find ourselves with a deficit of around 200 to 300 m3 of water per day. So it is especially in urban areas that the problem arises; especially in Dakar. With State funding, concerning KMS3 which will be operational by the end of 2020, but also with the implementation of the Mamelles desalination unit which is under construction, I believe, with these two infrastructures, which we can more or less absorb the deficit in the city of Dakar.
Multinationals are positioning themselves in the field. What do you think of this commodification of water which tends to become inaccessible to populations?
Multinationals are positioning themselves following calls for tenders that have been launched by the government of Senegal. It's a shame that we don't have national companies bidding, because the conditions aren't there. It takes a lot of resources to bid and it is true that it is the multinationals that come to us to do so. But in parallel, we have the National Water Company of Senegal which is there to control, evaluate and supervise everything that is done. So I believe that the problem will not arise at this level. Multinationals have Terms of Reference to respect and if they do not respect them there are remedies they will have to face.
What roles should citizens' initiatives play in resolving the issue of sanitation and access to water?
Two years ago, we set up the Platform of Civil Society Organizations for Sanitation in Senegal. This platform aims to dialogue with the State of Senegal and draw its attention to the shortcomings noted, to what has been done and what has not been, but also to what we can do. Today we are working in perfect harmony with the State of Senegal and we believe that we can give impetus to developments in the field of water and sanitation. All the actors who work for water and sanitation are gathered at this platform.
Along with Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania and Guinea, Senegal is in a well-watered region. Why is this raging water crisis being noted?
It’s true we are not immune to a water crisis. But this is not a water crisis because there is a lack, but a water crisis on the side of its management. I remember that a few years ago we had problems with Mauritania when we wanted to set up the Lac de Guiers project. Mauritania was opposed to taking water from the Senegal River to supply this lake in place. And so far we have not yet managed to solve this problem. These are the problems that will arise over time. But I think that with the establishment of the Organization for the Development of the Senegal River (OMVS) and the Organization for the Development of the Gambia River (OMVG), we have a framework for dialogue that helps overcome such difficulties.
The city of Dakar is preparing to host the 9th World Water Forum in 2021. How is Enda Eau Populaire preparing for it?
We are preparing for the World Water Forum under the Platform of Civil Society Organizations for Water and Sanitation. We are represented on the Steering and Monitoring Committee of the World Water Forum and I ensure the participation of civil society. This is where decisions are made, where is decided what needs to be done and what not to be done. Apart from that, I am a member of the Pilot Committee for Water and Transboundary Sanitation and we have other members who are in action groups, pilot groups to try to make their contribution to the success of the Forum. World of Water.
Isn't there a special preparation for Enda Eau-populaire?
No, there is no particular preparation because we were committed to the civil society orientation platform for Water and Sanitation of which we are a founding member. I am the vice-coordination and coordination is entrusted to Eau-Vive in Thiès. So wanting to prepare something apart is like betraying the platform. This is what we want to avoid. We did not want each NGO to go solo. We wanted to go there as a group because there is strength in unity.
Are there not thematic aspects that the Third World agenda could take care of in this summit?
There are a lot of thematic aspects that we can take care of as soon as we finish setting up action groups that are going to propose actions for the World Water Forum. We must complete the work by the end of July. Once these actions are on the table, everyone will be free to contribute somewhere.