Acknowledging the urgency of the vulnerability issues affecting the livelihoods of Africa's people and environment, UNEP-DEWA and START initiated a study in February 2003 to assess the "Vulnerability of Water Resources to Environmental Change in Africa." The goal of the study was to facilitate the management of vulnerability risks at transboundary, national, and local river/lake/groundwater basin levels, by assessing the impacts of environmental and human-driven changes on water resources. The study should be of great interest to governments, policy- and decision-makers at various levels, and to affected communities since it provides insights into these critical issues and how they could be mitigated. This publication documents the findings of the second phase of the study, which was completed in May 2006. The aim of this phase was to accomplish a wider, continental, coverage of river/lake/ groundwater basins (i.e., building upon the first phase), and expanding the network of researchers. Regional groups of researchers addressed vulnerability issues for their respective regions (southern, eastern, central, western, and northern Africa and the Western Indian Ocean Island States) by assessing major river/lake/groundwater basins on the basis of natural (physiographic), anthropogenic (socio-economic) and management criteria. To this end, the study is unique, as it was previously not undertaken for Africa as a whole.

Nairobi UNEP - United Nations Environment Programme KE; African Ministers' Council on Water
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