GEF-funded BUPUSA Basin Management Project Kicks Off

On the 15th of February 2021, Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWPSA) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) signed an agreement for the Management of Competing Water Uses and Associated Ecosystems in the Pungwe, Buzi, and Save Basins project. This project is being executed by Mozambique through the Ministry of Public Work, Housing and Water Resources and its agencies (ARA-Centro); and by Zimbabwe Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate Change and its agencies (ZIN-WA) respectively. The project is being funded by the Global Environment Facility for the value of USD $6 million and will be implemented from the date of signature, 15 February 2021, to 31 December 2024. GWPSA will act as the regional project executing agency, with IUCN being the project implementing agency.

This project targets the conservation and sustainable use of three transboundary water basins resources, shared bilaterally by Mozambique and Zimbabwe: the Pungwe, Buzi, and Save river basins. The goal is sustained ecological benefits and improved resilience for the riverine communities. The project objective is therefore to strengthen transboundary cooperation and management of water resources and associated ecosystems for improved water security, climate change resilience and sustainable livelihoods in the shared basins.

The project will promote the water-food-energy nexus approach, and develop capacities for managing water resources through participatory and community–based strategies.

These 3 basins, collectively known as BUPUSA, are located along the Beira corridor, an important economic corridor that links Beira harbour to the hinterland, with associated impacts on the environment (pollution from mining activities, intensive agriculture, deforestation, etc.). Populations also suffer high vulnerability to climate hazard (floods, droughts, cyclones) that is likely to increase with climate change aggravation.

The strong development of upstream water uses is now raising the issue of water allocation and its dimension of environmental flows that has particular importance in a transboundary context. These resources are of highest importance for the communities that derive their livelihood from ecosystem services, in a context of endemic poverty and low resilience.

This project will complement and advance transboundary cooperation on water resources management in the tri-basin, which has been materialising over the years through several initiatives, including the signature of a transboundary Pungwe agreement and the efforts to establish a bilateral tri-basin river basin organisation. Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWPSA), through the subsidiarity principle of SADC and as the SADC Secretariat’s implementing partner, has also supported the implementation of the Buzi, Pungwe, Save (BUPUSA) Tri-Basin Project as part of the SADC Transboundary Water Management Programme, which is implemented by GIZ and funded by the German and British governments.

Photo credit: PT Photography via Unsplash