From 2007, the annual Southern African Development Community (SADC) Multi-Stakeholder Water Dialogues, organised by GWP Southern Africa on behalf of the SADC Water Division, have informed action plans at regional, river basin, national and local levels. Although the Dialogues encourage cross-sectoral integration, until now they have largely been regarded as meetings for 'water people'.
Significantly, the 2010 Dialogue brought together delegates from sectors other than water. Stakeholders in the water, agriculture, health and energy sectors perceived that they have common goals – adapting to climate change, shaping regional water infrastructure and leveraging financing for water – and that many other sectors have a role to play in water management and development. Communicators and the media played a critical part, translating technical jargon into language all could understand and explaining the relevance of an IWRM approach to development issues.
In view of broadening multi-stakeholder support for the 2010 Dialogue, two private sector donors and four regional donors set up a basket funding arrangement. Whereas the Danish International Development Assistance (Danida) support for the Dialogues ended in 2009, these new donors supported the 2010 Dialogue and will do so again in 2011. This will help bridge the gap in Danida funding until it resumes in full in 2012.