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Sustainable development of water resources and the sanitation sector in the West African republic Benin has been subject to considerable progress since the 1990s, in particular in rural areas, where water supply and sanitation coverage is higher than in many other African countries. However, challenges remain, and the situation in Benin is still far from reaching the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (see box to the right) concerning water and sanitation. At the same time the development and management of the country's water resources is still weak, and the decentralization process is yet to be strengthened.
Consequently, the Dutch embassy in Benin, on behalf of the country's Ministry of Energy, Petrol Resources, Water and Renewable Energy Development as well as the Ministry of Health, has initiated a water and sanitation programme under the budget support programme in the country. It aims at improving integrated water resources management, food security through regulations of water infrastructure, village-level sanitation / hygiene education and management of related investment programmes at district level by heavy involvement of the civil society.
COWI, in a joint venture with the German consulting company IGIP, was by the end of last year chosen to render technical assistance to the Beninese project and to contribute three long term experts within water supply, water resources management and sanitation over the next three years. "This project is interesting and of great importance for several reasons. Most importantly is probably the fact that it helps Benin getting one step closer to fulfilling the Millenium Development Goals due to the implementation of water resources management plans and initiatives helping improve the country's food situation," tells Project Director Klaus Nuri Moller from COWI's Water and geosciences department. "In addition to this, the project is interesting to COWI because it gives us the opportunity to draw on our existing knowledge and experience from this region and from Benin in particular, where we have a track record stretching down to the beginning of the 1990s," ends Klaus.
Klaus Nuri Møller Project DirectorWater and geosciencesTel.: +45 5640 1044 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight international development goals that were officially established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000. All 193 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve these goals by 2015.The aim is to eradicate extreme poverty in the world.