|Ambassador's Speech>2011 >110421|
|at the Closing Ceremony of the International Workshop
on Remote Sensing Application for Ground Water Management
in Addis Ababa on 21 April, 2011
|Dr. Markos, Director of Water Resources, Ministry of Water and Energy,
Mr. Ota, Chief Representative of JICA Ethiopia Office,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning. Endemen aderachehu.
It is a great pleasure for me to have this opportunity to attend the closing ceremony of the International Workshop on Remote Sensing Application for Ground Water Management held here in Addis Ababa. This workshop has been jointly organized by JICA and the Ethiopian Ministry of Water and Energy. Therefore, first, I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations to these two organizations on the successful conclusion of this workshop today. Then, I would also like to congratulate all the participating engineers in this workshop, 27 in total from 15 African countries, on accomplishing all the requirements of the program. Congratulations indeed.
Having said that, let me say a few words about this workshop and the Ethiopia Water Technology Center (EWTEC).
Water is indispensable for both our daily life and agriculture. Almost everywhere in rural areas in Ethiopia it is still hard work for women and children to fetch water every day, spending hours to reach water points and to carry water back home. This is mainly because not many water distribution points exist in rural areas. In addition, such water may not always be safe for drinking as sometimes only surface water is available and at other times water is not protected even though it is from underground. Therefore, to secure safe and potable water is an important task for any administration, whether federal, regional or municipal, in any country. In Ethiopia, access to safe water was once the lowest in the world, marking only 22% in 2004. The access improved to 68.5% in late 2010, although the statistics are not compiled on the same basis. It is planned to further improve the access to 98% in rural areas by 2015 according to the GTP. Here is the reason why this workshop is so valuable.
The same can be said of agriculture. Hardly any crops can be grown during the dry season in most of the farmlands in Ethiopia due to the shortage of water. If irrigation schemes were developed extensively in this country, Ethiopia’s crop production would be drastically increased as farmers could grow crops twice a year, both in the rainy and dry seasons. In order to realize this, ground water development becomes critically important. Therefore, the knowledge and techniques you have acquired in this workshop will be a precious asset not only for you but also for your government, municipality or organization in exploring and managing ground water resources. Please share what you have learned here with your colleagues at home and make the most use of it for your respective ground water management programs.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
There is one more point I would like to share with you. This international workshop is what we call a third country training program for African participants other than Ethiopian. Twice a year such a program has been offered since the EWTEC was established in 1998 as one of Japan’s technical cooperation projects. This time, 16 engineers have participated in this workshop from 14 African countries together with 11 Ethiopian engineers. All the training courses were provided here in Addis Ababa, prepared by JICA and the EWTEC. The trainees did not have to travel all the way to Japan to have the training. This is one of the features of a third country training program, namely easier access to training for participants. At the same time, it must have been a challenge for the EWTEC to prepare and manage the program despite its 12-year history. I believe that this workshop must have provided a good opportunity for the EWTEC to accumulate experiences for the day when it has to be on its own since the third phase of the JICA project will be completed by the end of 2013. I would like to pay tribute to the EWTEC for having done a good job with this workshop. I do hope that the EWTEC will further strengthen its institutional and staff capabilities.
Finally, I want to briefly touch upon the earthquake and tsunami of unprecedented scale which hit Japan last month. I take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation for the heartfelt condolences for the victims, sympathy and warm encouragement for the Japanese people extended by so many people in Ethiopia and also in other African countries.
Thank you very much. Amesegenalehu.