The Mozambican government said Wednesday at the United Nations (UN) that it needs $17 million to restore water supply infrastructure destroyed by terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado.
Mozambique and Switzerland co-hosted a ministerial-level meeting at the UN on Wednesday to address ways to protect water supplies to civilians during armed conflict, with the Minister of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources, Carlos Mesquita, presenting projects underway in the country.
"There are several social projects that we are developing in Mozambique with the aim of ensuring water supply in regions affected by the conflict. (...) The Government of Mozambique is committed to successfully implement this type of project, because it recognizes the role of water supply for peace, maintenance and social stability," said the governor.
Carlos Mesquita pointed out the efforts that the Mozambican government has made to provide drinking water and accommodation centers to the population affected by the terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado, highlighting a reconstruction project that consists in recovering the destroyed infrastructures.
"As water is one of the basic needs of the population to return and restore their lives, the recovery of water supply infrastructure is the main component of the project. However, given the magnitude of the destruction and the lack of funds to fully recover the systems, the interventions are divided into two phases: immediate intervention and medium-term interventions," he explained.
"The intervention of the intermediate phase is estimated at $17 million, and the Government is committed to contribute in its financing, but also to obtain funds from abroad," he stressed.
According to the minister, the Mozambican experience has proven that ensuring water supply to communities affected by armed conflict is a "critical element to promote peace and stability.
This meeting took place on World Water Day and coincided with the UN Water Conference, co-hosted by the Netherlands and Tajikistan and taking place in New York until Friday.
At the meeting convened by Mozambique and Switzerland, some diplomats took the opportunity to mention the devastating humanitarian cost of the war in Ukraine, where attacks on civilian infrastructure have limited access to water, heating and electricity.
"For those living in conflict zones, being without water or sanitation can have devastating consequences. Increasingly, we are seeing the impact that water insecurity caused by conflict has on displacement and gender violence. In some conflicts, armed forces are damaging water infrastructure and controlling access to springs," Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Acting Deputy US Representative to the UN, began.
The diplomat then gave the example of Ukraine, where Russian forces attacked water infrastructure and left more than 11 million Ukrainians ? or a quarter of the country's population ? without reliable access to clean drinking water, calling these attacks "cruel."
"The Security Council has a critical role to play when it comes to addressing water insecurity caused by conflict. As part of our mandate to maintain international peace and security, we must provide Peacekeeping Operations and Special Political Missions with the necessary tools to address the challenges brought by water scarcity," he argued.