Southern Africa

In Southern Africa as in other developing regions, water is part and parcel of socio-economic processes that create, maintain or reinforce livelihoods. Water plays an important role in interventions designed to improve human livelihoods and reduce poverty and its central role towards attaining most of the MDGs has been recognised.

SADC’s Regional Indicative Strategic Development Action Plan (RISDP) of 2003 prioritises poverty reduction, clearly recognizing the developmental role of water. A conscious effort is required to design water policies that account for the socio-economic effects of access to water and its use across sectors and levels. But the challenge remains on how to turn concept and strategy into practical action on the ground.

Mainstream IWRM in all development planning

WomanOver the past ten years, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) principles have been actively promoted in Southern Africa, due to the efforts by proponents like the global, regional and country water partnerships. This has raised the level of awareness on the significance of an IWRM approach among decision-makers in the region and inspired fundamental reforms of legal, policy and institutional frameworks at national and regional levels. There is greater recognition now, in part based on increasing practical experience, that IWRM needs to be mainstreamed in all development planning activities.

A regional network of over 350 Partners

The Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWP SA) was launched in June 2000 as GWP’s first regional arm. Over the years, GWPSA has grown rapidly into a regional network of over 350 Partner organizations concerned with water resources management. GWP SA Partners have formed a number of Country Water Partnerships (CWP) – 12 out of the 14 SADC countries now have their own CWP.

Bringing together stakeholders

GWPSA’s competitive strength lies in its capacity to bring together stakeholders and mobilize its regional and national multi-stakeholder platforms with a view to such purposes as facilitating the mainstreaming of IWRM principles and approaches in national development planning processes; identifying IWRM training needs and target groups for training; informing IWRM research priorities and policy content; facilitating access to IWRM knowledge, contributing to “state of the art” understanding and bridging knowledge gaps; and providing vehicles for stakeholder consultation and pools of technical expertise in regional or national water policy development and implementation processes, thereby imparting greater credibility, legitimacy and best-practice knowledge to such processes.

South Africa

Strategic partners and alliances

In order to leverage its competitive strength and exploit institutional complementarities with other organizations, GWPSA engages with strategic partners and alliances in support of the promotion and practical application of IWRM principles and approaches. GWPSA has collaborated with partners like WaterNet, WARFSA, IWSD, CapNet, FANRPAN, InWent, IWMI, IUCN, and CSIR on IWRM organizing annual regional IWRM Symposia, and other initiatives. GWP SA also works closely with the SADC Water Division in supporting regional processes by ensuring stakeholder involvement and raising awareness of the importance of IWRM in regional development. Benefits from these strategic partnerships and alliances include the broadening of programmatic approaches, programme synergies, leveraging limited resources, increasing levels of coordination, effectiveness and efficiency, spreading risks, widening reach and enhancing impact.

Strategic Business Plan

GWP SA has crafted a Regional Strategy (2009-2013), in line with the new GWP Global Strategy, which led to the development of the 5-year Strategic Business Plan (SBP) and Indicative Programme which will serve as a programmatic vehicle for implementing the Regional Strategy.


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