This was the key message from the political launch of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) -funded IUCN Project on the Management of Competing Water Uses and Associated Ecosystems in The Pungwe, Buzi and Save (BUPUSA) Basin, which took place in Maputo, Mozambique and Harare, Zimbabwe on 27 October 2021.
“Mozambique has been a victim of floods and droughts and this project will help to manage the impacts of these events that have been occurring in the basins for long,” said Honourable Eng. João Osvaldo Moisés Machatine, Mozambique’s Minister of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources, in his opening remarks at the launch. “The river basins have been very helpful supplying water to the inhabitants in the basin during drought periods in the basins”.
Hon. Eng. João Osvaldo Moisés Machatine, Mozambique’s Minister of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources, giving his opening remarks at the launch.
Honourable Dr. Anxious J. Masuka, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, also welcomed the implementation of the project in the 3 basins, adding that the project will will improve wate security and builds resilience in climate change and help in conservation and restoration of ecosystems for sustainable livelihoods though integrated basin planning. He vowed Mozambique and Zimbabwe’s commitment to continuous cooperation in the implementation of the project.
Hon. Dr. Anxious J. Masuka, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, delivering his opening remarks during the launch
“The two countries have a strong relationship in water resources management, dating back to 2002 when the two countries signed the Joint Water Commission (JWC) agreement, which was a crucial milestone that laid a foundation for sustainable coopetition”, he said. The JWC paved way for the signing of the Pungwe and Busi water sharing agreements, in 2016 and 2019, respectively, while work is underway for the signing of the Save agreement and establishment of a tri-basin institution to manage work in the 3 basins.
The Management of Competing Water Uses and Associated Ecosystems in the BUPUSA Basin is one of the six GEF- funded projects being implemented in the SADC region by IUCN and has strong focus on flood and drought risk management and institutional capacity strengthening and joint management of the tri-basin. The regional executor of the project is GWPSA.
“The project is a demonstration of strong partnership and cordial relationships between the two countries, which has paved way for IUCN and other partners to work within the basins and the two countries in the past and now,” said Mr Alex Simalabwi, Executive Secretary of GWPSA.
“The negative impact of climate change on water resources, biodiversity and ecosystems are a major concern in the 3 basins which are prone to droughts, floods and land degradation,” said Mr. Davison Saruchera, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Water Programme Coordinator for the East and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO).
“As we see more devastating effects of climate change and the constant changes happening in the environment, we realise, every day the need to be versatile,” he added. He was delivering opening remarks on behalf of Mr. Charles Oluchina, Deputy Director of IUCN ESARO.
The Governments of Mozambique and Zimbabwe, GWPSA and IUCN avowed their commitment to cooperate to address the challenges being faced in the 3 basins through the signing of a communique on the implementation of the programme.
The Management of Competing Water Uses and Associated Ecosystems in Pungwe, Buzi, and Save Basins project, is being implemented in the Busi Pungwe and Save rive basins over a four year period from 2021 to 2024 with funding from the GEF.
The implementation of the project is guided by the Revised SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses of 2000 principles on sustainable, equitable and reasonable utilisation of water resources; protection, preservation and conservation of the environment; and prevention and mitigation of significant harm.
It is being implemented by the IUCN, with GWP as the bilateral executing partner at regional level. The Ministry of Public Works, Housing, and Water Resources and Administração Regional de Águas - Centro (ARA-Centro, IP) in Mozambique and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Resettlement; and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) in Zimbabwe are executing the project at national levels.
Photo Credit: Nyanga Rural District Council