Tanzania from 11-13 March kick-starts the Southern African Development Community (SADC) National Consultations to be held in all the 15 SADC member states. The consultations, to be held under the theme “From Vision to Action”, will provide a platform for (SADC) to engage and interact with the various stakeholders in mapping the strategic direction of the regional water resources management, SADC will be undertaking national consultations in the SADC Water Weeks within 15 of the SADC member countries. In each country, the platform will be provided through three main activities (media training, a youth forum and a national consultation). The national consultations are being facilitated by the SADC secretariat and implemented by GWP SA through the Country Water Partnerships (CWPs). Additionally, each consultation is being hosted by the ministry responsible for water in each country.

A media training to be held in each country will form part of the efforts to communicate the SADC Fourth Regional Strategic Action Plan (RSAP) for Integrated Water Resources Management during the national consultations. The training is aimed at preparing journalists to cover water issues at local, national and regional level from a factual and analytical basis; to raise awareness and understanding of integrated water resource management; and to engage with and report effectively on the issues that will emerge from the National Consultative Forum and beyond. GWPSA has partnered with the Inter Press Service (IPS) Africa in conducting the media trainings.

The youth forum will provide a platform for creating climate change awareness among the youth and coordinating the youth for climate change initiatives by ideally promoting energy, creativity and enthusiasm towards mainstreaming climate change into the water sector. The event will also reinforce the need to meaningfully engage young people in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation as well as decision-making process of policies related to climate change and development in their respective countries.

The forum is expected to yield the following outcomes;

  • A clear understanding of the roles and opportunities for young people in climate change mainstreaming.
  • Establish a database and network of Young Water professionals and garnering support for climate change initiatives.
  • Generate knowledge, practices and coping strategies on climate change adaptations and resilience for replication in other communities.
  • Compile ideas and recommendations of mainstreaming climate change into the water sector and the required follow-up activities.

A National Consultative Forum will form a key component of the country programme. The aim of the Policy Dialogues is to garner political will (policy and decision makers and water using ministries and development planning) on engagement in the managing and developing water resources management in the SADC region. The National Policy Dialogues will provide a platform during the water week to raise awareness on the pivotal role of water resources management and development in national development, improve climate resilience and increase investments in water resources management. Additionally, the consultative forum will enable policy input to the RSAP IV.

It is expected that the outcomes of the SADC Water Weeks will comprise:

  • Promoting and enhancing the ownership of the SADC Regional Water Programme by showing the benefits of each country and the region as a whole.
  • A stakeholder-driven regional programme responding to the needs of the various countries
  • Improved awareness on the need to increase investments in water resources management and development in order to improve water security and climate resilience.

In addition to Tanzania, during the month of March 2015, three countries will hold the SADC consultations: starting with Tanzania (11-13 March 2015); Zimbabwe (17-19 March 2015) and Malawi (18-20 March 2015).

More information be provided on various social media platforms and GWPSA and SADC website when the water consultations begin.