Seminar on Sustainable Development Goals on Water held by IESS and Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin

29 September 2015

The Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies (IESS-UG) has partnered the WaterPower Project (Geography Department, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) to hold a seminar on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on water. The programme was held on Thursday, 17th September, 2015 at the International House Auditorium, University of Ghana, on the topic “Sustainable Development Goals on Water and the Implications on Ghana/Accra”.

The event was attended by research staff and students of IESS, members from the WaterPowers Project as well as members in the University community. IESS Fellows present included Prof. C. Gordon (Director), Dr. Ted Y. Annang, Dr. B.D. Ofori, Dr. J.S. Ayivor, Dr. O. Pabi, Dr. D. Nukpezah and Dr. B. Fosu-Mensah. The members of the WaterPower Project were Prof. Dr. Antje Bruns (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Lara E. Bartels and Rosella Alba. 

The main speaker for the event Prof. Antje Bruns presented on the topic “SDGs on Momentum for Water Governance”. The focus of the presentation was on achieving the SDGs on water through water governance. The SDG six is to “Ensure availability, sustainable management of water, and the progressive realisation of the human right to water and sanitation for all”. She said, water governance should include policies on access to water, water quality and pollution, water related disasters, aquatic ecosystem, and water infrastructure. She expressed optimism that all SDGs will be adopted by the end of the 70th UN general assembly meeting to be held on 25-27th September, 2015.

The second presentation was on the “Challenges in achieving the SDGs for Water in peri-urban, Accra” was given by Ms. Lara E. Bartels. She spoke on her research findings from her study on water supply by tanker vendors in Accra. She focused on how water tankers and sellers can help in achieving the SDG on water. She advanced the idea of a regulatory body for water tanker service providers to ensure wholesomeness of water supplied, in line with sub targets under the SDGs on water.

Dr. D. Nukpezah then presented on the “Akosombo and Kpong Dams Reoperation and Reoptimisation Study Project”. He outlined the need for the project and the role of IESS in the overall project. Dr. Nukpezah indicated that the dams have slowed the river flow resulting in the increased population of cercaria hosting snails and hence the relevance of the project which sought to reoperate the dams to increase the river flow in order to minimize the spread of schistosomiasis in the lower Volta basin. The cercaria parasitic worms cause schistosomiasis in humans. He therefore emphasised the need for an alternative approach in the event reoperation is not achieved. He concluded by highlighting some key findings about the project, especially an innovative plant extract to inactivate the cercaria parasite.

The last presentation was by Dr. Ted Y. Annang on the “Special Treat Project”. He mentioned the key activities of the project as the collection, transportation, disposal and treatment of liquid waste. The project area included the Ga West, Ga South, Ga Central municipalities, the Nsawam Township and Prisons. Dr. Annang mentioned the main project sponsors as the Government of Ghana and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands.

The presentations were followed afterwards with a question and answer session. Each presenter was given the opportunity to respond to questions from the audiences in relation to their presentations.