Interdependence between Water, Energy and Food security (WEF) offers opportunities for stronger collaboration

The interdependence between Water, Energy and Food security (WEF) offers opportunities for stronger collaboration among the three sectors, thus increasing the strength of tackling the region’s developmental Agenda leading to the achievement of the SADC Goals of Peace and Stability, Regional Integration, Industrialisation and Poverty Eradication.

Speaking while officially opening the 8th SADC Multi-Stakeholder Water Dialogue in Johannesburg South Africa, the Deputy Director General Department of Water and Sanitation, Republic of South Africa Ms. Lindiwe Lusenga said the Government viewed the three sectors (Water, Energy & Food) as the backbone of the livelihood of their people at all levels and the basis for socio-economic development of the country. Stating that it was thus important that proper planning of the development, utilisation and management of these resources is highly prioritised and done in an integrated manner.

“Water is needed for a huge arrays of things, including tourism, energy generation, irrigation, maintaining ecosystems integrity, stock watering, mining activities and industrial activities to name but a few. To supply water to various needs, energy is key. To attain food security, water is required for irrigation, stock watering and agro-processing. Energy is not left out since it used for providing the water to all these,” Lusenga said.

She noted that her ministry has been practising the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approach over time now, which requires the engagement with other sectors which have a bearing on what we do in the sector.

SADC Head of Energy, Mr Moses Ntlamelle noted that the theme for this year’s dialogue “Fostering regional value chains and job creation through the Water-Energy-Food Nexus approaches” fitted well with the theme endorsed by the Ordinary 37th Summit of Heads of State and government which was held in Pretoria, South Africa on 20th August 2017 on ‘Partnering with the Private sector in developing industry and regional value chains’. He therefore noted that the event was part of the several activities aligned to the theme in the 2017/2018 Financial year.

Ntlamelle said that adequate supply of WEF was taken for granted in developed countries while it was a luxury in Africa. He said in recognition of the link between water and energy and the existence of the high potential for energy generation using water, it was inevitable that while this dialogue was focusing on energy, water related infrastructure projects and food security are also included.

Global Water Partnership South Africa Executive Secretary and Head Coordination Unit, Alex Simalabwi noted that the objective of the dialogue was to provide a platform for policymakers and practitioners working on water, energy, food, economic planning and gender. He added that the dialogue was a platform to develop strategies and ensure nexus approaches contribute to SADC regional value chains and job creation.

Mr. Simalabwi said that the expected outcomes of the dialogue were recommendations to advance the WEF Nexus agenda in the SADC region, specifically its role in sustaining jobs and value-chains and clear strategies on how the WEF nexus will contribute to specific value chains and contribute to achievement of the SADC development agenda.