JIS News

In three weeks, Jamaica will host hundreds of water experts and other participants from across the Caribbean and the Americas, at the Fifth Inter-American Dialogue on Water Management.
The water management dialogue, which is scheduled for October 9 to 14 at the Half Moon Conference Centre in Montego Bay, will provide the opportunity for the transfer of technology and knowledge and the “strengthening of local capacity to achieve global challenges” to more effectively manage and develop water resources.
Minister of Water and Housing, Donald Buchanan, while speaking at World Water Day celebrations earlier this year, noted that the selection of Jamaica as host for this event was a major accomplishment and would provide an opportunity for the creation of partnerships, networking and investment.
In an interview with JIS News, Basil Fernandez, Managing Director of the Water Resources Authority (WRA) revealed that this year’s Dialogue is being linked to the Fourth World Water Forum, which will be held in Mexico City in March 2006.
“The recommendations and the discussions from the Dialogue will go as the Americas’ position to the Forum, which will see all the gatherings from across the regions of the world, and where all ministers will be present for us to discuss issues related to water resources management, water supply and water quality,” Mr. Fernandez informed.
He pointed out that the themes that would form the basis of this year’s Dialogue included, ‘Water and Development’, ‘Integrated Water Resources Management and Governance’, ‘Water and Sanitation for All’, and ‘Disaster Risk Management’.
“There are many cross-cutting issues, which will be discussed at the Dialogue, and these will include finance and investment, capacity-building, monitoring (and) targeting.The idea is that we are going to try and bring all best-practices together. We are going to see how best we can live up to the theme of the Dialogue,” he added.
The WRA, which is responsible for the management and allocation of the island’s water resources, is charged with planning and ensuring the successful staging of this important hemispheric meeting. Other agencies and departments within the Ministry of Water and Housing will also play integral roles in the staging of the event. These include, the National Irrigation Commission and the National Water Commission.
As part of the event, field trips to water-related infrastructure and plants, as well as traditional tourist attractions will be arranged for the overseas participants.
In addition, a technical exposition will be staged concurrent with the Water Dialogue, where local and international groups can showcase their products and services.
The Fifth Inter-American Dialogue on Water Management is being planned with the assistance of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the Organisation of American States (OAS), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank.