The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Water stress: Addressing water challenges in fragile settings in Africa

Water is at the centre of sustainable development. It drives economic growth, supports healthy ecosystems, and is essential and fundamental for life.

In Africa, 400 million people lack access to essential drinking water. The progress on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 – clean water and sanitation for all – is worrisomely off track. Achieving the related target of Agenda 2063 (Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future) of reducing the proportion of the population without access to safe drinking water is unlikely.

Despite a 5 per cent improvement since 2013, only 30 per cent of the sub-Saharan African population uses safely managed drinking water sources while the global average sits at 74 per cent. Across the continent, the most fragile countries are generally those with the poorest sanitation and water supply systems or where the water is too much, too little or too polluted to use. In areas where water resources are shared, scarcity often triggers conflict.

UNOPS supports partners with increasing access to quality water supply and functional sanitation systems in developing countries, especially in fragile environments such as Cameroon, Sudan, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

As part of the UN 2023 Water Conference to be held in New York from 22-24 March, UNOPS and partners will come together for an event to discuss ways to mitigate water stress in Africa, focusing on fragile situations.

Please note, to participate in this event you must be registered as a participant at the UN Water Conference 2023.


Date: 23 March at 11:00-12:15 (Eastern Daylight Time)

Venue: United Nations Headquarters in New York


11:00 – Arrival and registration of participants

11:05 – Introduction of theme and participants

11:08 – Introduction

11:12 – UNOPS video presentation

11:16 – Panel discussion

12:03 – Youth representative endnote

12:06 – Q&A

12:15 – End of the session


Introductory speaker

Koen Verbist, Programme Specialist, UNESCO


Worknesh Gonet, Director and Representative of UNOPS Multi-Country Office in Ethiopia


Hala Alhamed, Senior Project Manager, UNOPS Sudan

Idrissa Dia, Director of Economic and Social Infrastructure, Islamic Development Bank

Sujin Kim, Deputy Country Director for Cameroon, Korea International Cooperation Agency

Yahaya Nazoumou, Director General, Authority for Groundwater Management of Niger

Endnote speaker

Boluwatito Awe, Youth Representative, Nigeria

For more information on the speakers, please click here.

How to participate

Are you registered as a participant at the UN Water Conference 2023? If so, would you like to attend this side event? Please fill out this form.

For media inquiries and registration for this event please contact, Hilaria Espin, Communication Specialist at

Kindly take into consideration that to register as media for this event, you need to have media accreditation for the UN 2023 Water Conference.

Media accreditation for the UN 2023 Water Conference is handled by the United Nations Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit. Representatives of the media can apply for accreditation by following the instructions available at

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