Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry to Attend International Conference on Water for Food and Ecosystems

The South African Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, Ms Buyelwa Sonjica is in The Hague, the Netherlands attending the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) International Conference on Water for Food and Ecosystems.

Minister Sonjica introduced the first theme of the Conference, "Implementation, Know-how for Action". There are three themes, the second theme, " The 'New Economy' of Water for Food and Ecosystems" introduced by Mr Turner from the University of East Anglia, UK while the third theme, "Enabling environment" was introduced by Ms Catley-Carlson, Chair of the Global Water Partnership.

Other key note speakers were Dr Cees Veerman, Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Prince of Orange of the Netherlands, Dr Tkalign Mamo, Minister of State for Natural Resources of Ethiopia and a representative of Mr Jacques Diouf, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation.

In her statement, Minister Sonjica shared with the Conference South Africa's experiences in managing conflicting water needs for agriculture, food production and ecosystems.

She also talked about the need to build more dams in Africa. She said there is a need to build them in a way that takes into account the needs of the aquatic ecology, and takes into account the needs of affected people. "But there can be no doubt that we need more dams.

If we are to increase the agricultural productivity of the world, one element of the plan must be to build dams in Africa" she said. Minister Sonjica encouraged the Conference to adopt the South African slogan, "Batho Pele", and her Departmental slogan, "Ensuring Some for all for ever, together".

The Conference opened on 31 January 2005 and will close on 5 February 2005.

Speech by Minister BP Sonjica

For further information contact Chris Botha on 09 31 70 392 4501
Issued on behalf of South African Embassy in the Hague by the Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
1 February 2005

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