Friday, April 24, 2015

Water and its role in the development and stability 

of the Democratic Republic of Congo

A report by Guy Shungu Lama
(IAPG-Democratic Republic of Congo section and Executive secretary of CEGS)

The Center of Expertise and Geological Survey (CEGS) is a scientific non-governmental organization. CEGS is a regional survey office and its main objective is to study the geological environments in order to inform the population on the challenges bound to them.    

It is in the scope of celebrating the International Day of the Earth Sciences in Africa and the Middle East commemorated every 19-20-21 March that CEGS with its partners (among them the IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics) organized a conference in Goma (DR Congo) on 20 March on the theme: "Water and its role in the development and stability of the Democratic Republic of Congo", in particular, about the strategies to make the consumption in safe water accessible to all.

Participants to the conference

1. General objective of the conference
Informing the participants on the potentiality in water usage in the DR Congo and the role of Earth sciences in the resolution of the problem of water deficiency in Africa.. 

2. Specific objectives
- To make know the wealth in water of the DR Congo.
- To bring up the geologist's role facing the water management.
- To think about the enhancement of the water resources of this vast country.
- To motivate colleagues about the environmental and biodiversity protection.

Here the three under-themes dealt with and the relative speakers:   

- Role, place and the future of the earth sciences in the Great Lakes Region.
(Prof. Robert Wazi Nandefo, professor at the Department of Geology, University of ROUEN, France and University of GOMA, DR Congo)   
Prof. Robert Wazi Nandefo
Prof Wazi Nandefo started his speech defining geology and talking about its different topics. He mentioned the multiple stakes bound to water policy in the world specifying the potentiality of water management of the DR Congo. He talked about the role played by hydrogeologists in the water management in the Great Lakes Region. The discovery of water sources, the good management of this georesource depends inevitably by geoscientists. So they must work in a collaborative way, following ethical beahviours, in order to guarantee an effective water management in this region.

The potentialities in water management of the DR Congo: challenges in water accessibility and desertification in Africa.
(Prof. Pigeon Kambale Mahuka, Coordinator of the survey office of the North Kivu Provincial Parliament)

Prof. Pigeon Kambale Mahuka
Prof Kambale Mahuka started showing that the peace is the fundamental element for the life of human communities, nevertheless water can be an element of potential confict between communities that undermines the peace. He spoke mainly about the international relationships between countries about the water supply and the international laws regulating the water management; he reminded also the strategic role played by the DR Congo in this important issue. He underlined that the Congolese state must respect the following five international principles: the principle of the non-prejudicial use of the national territory, the principle of the diligence and vigilance, the principle of the the cooperation, the principle of the polluter-pays and the precaution principle. For each of these principles Prof Kambale Mahuka illustrated examples. He concluded his intervention saying that the States must maintain pacific relations, being aware that water can represent a potential reason for the outbreak of wars.

- Water and its role in the development and stability of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
(Mr Etienne Nyami, responsible of the production and quality service in the national water office REGIDESO)

Mr Etienne Nyami
Mr Nyami underlined how water is indispensable for life, then he talked about the role of water supply in the economic development of the DR Congo. About a possible "third world war due to water", Mr Etienne said that is important to develop a solidaristic and optimistic approach avoiding pessimistic views in order to solve problems.

At the end of the conference the following recommendations came from the speakers.

To the REGIDESO for:
- increasing efforts in water provision to the whole city of Goma;
- analyzing permantly the quality of water for a safe consumption by the population;
- thinking on new sources of water catchment for the peripheries of Goma;
- recruiting geologists in its services.

A moment during the discussion

To the national, regional and international organizations:
- continuing the support to the water sector facing multiple challenges;
- acting in synergy so that reaching more impact and success;
- financing local initiatives for the development;
- recruiting geologists in their relative projects on water.

- continuing to organize such activities in the future.
- working in partnership with other national and international organizations acting in the same field of intervention;
- making more aware the population about the geological and environmental challenges;
- assuring the intensification and the diversification of actions for the development of the water sector.