Washington: The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved the Horn of Africa Ground Water for Resilience Project (HoAGWRP).
HoAGWRP is a new multi-phase project benefitting from $385 million in International Development Association financing that will boost the region’s capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The project fosters cooperation with Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), who will work together to tap into the region’s largely untapped groundwater resources to cope with and adapt to drought and other climate stressors impacting their vulnerable borderlands.
Djibouti and South Sudan have also expressed interest in joining the program in subsequent phases.
"Groundwater constitutes a natural buffer against climate variability and change, as it is available in times of drought when other surface or subsurface resources are scarce," said Daher Elmi Houssein, IGAD’s Director of Agriculture and Environment Division, in a press releae on Wednesday.
"The potential is vast, and we are committed to building inclusive community-level use of this shared resource, along with better information, infrastructure, and institutions to ensure our groundwater is sustainably managed for generations to come," Houssein added.
This first phase of the HoA Groundwater for Resilience Program (GW4R) is estimated to reach 3.3 million direct beneficiaries, of whom at least 50 percent are women, through interventions designed to increase access to water supply and reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts.
It will also contribute to improving food security in a region undergoing a severe drought.
Project beneficiaries also include institutions responsible for groundwater management, including line ministries, government agencies, national authorities, and agencies at the national and sub-national levels.
In the short term, the project will establish the building blocks that will enable the medium and long-term agenda of improving transboundary water management in the Horn of Africa.