Discussion of Madagascar Water Challenges Engages ICIWaRM

The effects of climate change are intensifying across Africa, with prolonged drought, famine conditions, and severe weather events all on the rise. It’s an issue that country leaders and international partners have been seeking to address for decades, but without significant and consistent global intervention, the continent’s agriculture, economic development, and national security will remain at risk.

In September 2023, partners gathered to collaborate with six Malagasy ministries and government agencies on the development of sustainable, practical steps that Madagascar can take to improve their water security in a two-day workshop in Antananarivo, Madagascar. The event was organized by United States agencies, and the World Bank, UNESCO, and the University of Southampton, UK also participated. ICIWaRM’s parent institution, the Institute of Water Resources (IWR), facilitated the discussions.

Several ICIWaRM-UNESCO tools were highlighted in the presentations and discussion. There were the Climate Risk-Informed Decision Analysis tool (CRIDA), presented by Will Logan, ICIWaRM’s director. The other was the African Flood and Drought Monitor and its country-level applications, presented by Justin Sheffield of the University of Southampton. Both are elements of UNESCO’s Global Network on Water and Development for Arid Lands (G-WADI) major initiative; much of Madagascar’s southwestern sector is semi-arid to arid. Shared vision planning, an IWR-based tool for conflict resolution and public participation, was also highlighted.

The water-related ministries at the meeting shared their most critical needs and priorities related to modeling, data and information, climate adaptation and disaster forecasting and response. ICIWaRM and some of the other organizers plan to continue collaborating in areas such as the ongoing challenges Madagascar faces with alternating droughts and cyclone-driven flooding.