Sharing sub-regional experiences on water cooperation and learning about designing and conducting negotiations on transboundary water-related issues were the topics of a SADC/ UNESCO workshop to “Promote Cooperation and Conflict Prevention in Transboundary Water Resources” on 25-27 February, 2013 in Gaborone, Botswana.
Within the SADC region, water cooperation is a key component in the 2003 revised Protocol on Shared Watercourses to foster close and coordinated co-operation in the management, protection and utilization of Shared Watercourses, and to advance the SADC agenda of regional integration and poverty alleviation.
GWP Southern Africa, represented by Regional Programme Officer, Mr. Michael Ramaanoa, participated together with 24 workshop participants from SADC, GWPSA, UNESCO and SADC River Basin Organisations in the workshop which was organised to commemorate this year’s UN year of Water cooperation. Mr Ramaano gave a presentation and led a discussion on SADC’s and GWPSA’s intentions to jointly participate in the Africa Day held during the World Water Week in Stockholm in September 2013. Under the theme “Water Cooperation - Building Partnerships”, transboundary, national, catchment/local level water organizations would participate by showcasing examples/experiences from the SADC region on Water Cooperation at regional and multi-sectoral levels. A highlight of the discussion was the importance of translating knowledge into tangible results and be able to raise awareness of the benefits of water cooperation of existing water cooperation initiatives in the region.
A guide for the stories will be prepared by SADC and GWPSA and shared with the different stakeholders. The presentation also looked at GWPSA’s/ SADC’s future activities promoting water cooperation, namely:
(i) The ‘Climate Change Mainstreaming in the SADC Water Sector’ project which aims to strengthen national stakeholder platforms for effective decision-making in WRM&D, by providing training in national forums targets empowering stakeholders and providing national consultations on basin wide issues (such as the development of the ORASECOM IWRM Plan).
(ii) SADC National Water Weeks linked to Regional Multi-stakeholder Dialogues, will be held to promote the regional water programme and create awareness on RWP, Protocol etc.