SADC Water Weeks Scheduled for 2014

GWP SA, on behalf of SADC is currently making preparations for the forthcoming SADC Water Weeks which have been slated from April – October 2014. The SADC Water Weeks are aimed at ensuring that the Regional Water Programme is well understood and embraced by stakeholders from various sectors at the national level. The SADC Water Weeks were last held in the year 2000 and led to the development of the SADC Water Vision for Water, Life and the Environment

The aim of the SADC Water Weeks will be to primarily provide a unique forum in each of the 14 SADC countries for the exchange of views, experiences and practices among national stakeholders of the SADC regional water programme and the River Basin Organisations (RBOs) initiatives. These events further aim to contribute to realizing the goals of the SADC Treaty through improving water resources management and development. The other objectives of the SADC Water Weeks will be:

-To promote the need for harmonization of national and local strategies with SADC regional strategies, in order to drive regional integration and better water resources management and development;

  • -Highlight the implementation of the Regional Water Programme as well as show the benefits of the programme to the SADC region and individual member states.
  • -To engage beyond the water sector, as well as create a platform to advocate for increased investments in the water sector in order to build resilience to climate change.
  • -Provide a forum to capture national issues which have an impact on regional water resources management and development and feed these into future regional responses like the SADC RSAP.

-The SADC Water Weeks will be held independent from the World Water Weeks/ Days (held during the week of the 22nd of March) . The programme for the SADC Water Weeks will focus on the regional and transboundary initiatives. They will be held in all the 14 SADC countries and on average the programme of activities will be spread over a period of least three (3) days.
Some of the activities will comprise:-

  • -Policy Dialogues which will aim to garner political will on the engagement of policy and decision makers such as Parliamentarians or Water using ministries in 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. These National Policy Dialogues will be based on country specific contexts. However, each country will organise either a dialogue with parliamentarians or with water using ministries (e.g. health, agriculture, energy etc.) and development planning.
  • -Media involvement which will be critical in ensuring that issues of the importance of water security in improving climate resilience are communicated to the general public. GWP SA will be working with the IPS to  organise media training to national journalists who will also participate in the Water Weeks and National Policy Dialogue.

GWP SA is supporting Programme 6 on Stakeholder Engagement and Programme 15 on Climate Change Adaptation in the RSAP III through the implementation of a project on ‘Mainstreaming Climate Change into the Water Sector within the SADC Region’ supported under the SADC GiZ Transboundary Water Resources Management Programme Phase III.

In pursuing the objectives of (i) enhancing the understanding of the need to invest in water resources development and (ii) promoting harmonisation of national and local strategies/plans with regional strategies, the project is planning to undertake stakeholder engagements at the national level. The stakeholder engagements will be provided through these platforms during the SADC National Water Weeks. At the end of the SADC Water Weeks, it is expected that:

  • Stakeholders at the national level will be informed on the Regional Water Programme: The national dialogues will thus have an impact at the regional level by informing the regional priorities and the thinking behind development of regional policy instruments.
  • Investments in ensuring water security for climate resilience will be promoted: The platforms provided by these water weeks (and beyond) will also be used to advocate for increased investments in the water sector based on the outputs country and regional studies that have been carried out to increase and harness knowledge for use.
  • Strengthened linkages between regional and national initiatives aimed at sustainable management and development of water resources will be developed.

The SADC Water Weeks will be spearheaded by the SADC Water Division working with SADC RSAP III Focal Points and SADC Water Resources Technical Committee (WRTC) members who are central to the implementation of the regional programmes within their country. GWP SA through its Country Water Partnerships will provide logistical support to the Focal Points in the organisation of the Water Weeks.

The GWP SA as the project implementer will work through its Country Water Partnerships and Basin Wide Forums to ensure that all the 14 SADC Water Weeks are organized and implemented in an efficient manner. Therefore at a local level, GWP SA will work closely with the Country Local Organising Committee that will be assigned to provide logistical support and to ensure that the programme is contextualized to address key national priorities by developing the appropriate and relevant  sub-themes based on the country context and issues. The LOC roles is crucial as they will ensure that the meetings are organized and relevant stakeholders have been invited to the SADC Water Weeks. Financial resources to support the implementation of the SADC Water Weeks, National Policy Dialogues and Media Training will be provided by GWP SA to the LOC. These commitees will comprise SADC Water Resources Technical Committee (WRTC) members and SADC RSAP Focal Points (who are central to the implementation of the regional programmes within their country); River Basin Organisations National Focal Points; Chairpersons and Coordinators of the GWPSA Country Water Partnership. The Secretariat of the GWP SA Country Water Partnerships will serve as the Secretariat of the Local Organising Committee.

By March 2014, the preliminary programme for the SADC National Water Week will be published. Meanwhile, stay tuned on for further news and updates.