SADC's Senior Program Officer, Dr Patrice Kabeya made the remarks during Mozambique's national Water, Energy and Food (WEF) Nexus Dialogue held at VIP Grand Maputo hotel on Wednesday, July 15th. The meeting was coordinated by the Ministry of Environment (MICOA), Ministry of Public Works, represented by the National Directorate for Management of Water Resources (DNGRH), Ministry of Agriculture (also represented directly by the Food Security Department as well as the Nutrition Department -SETSAN) and the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy (MIREME).
"Water, energy, and food security are key priority areas for the SADC region. Traditionally, the design of water, energy and agriculture systems has been done independently or has only considered simplified interdependencies between the systems. These approaches miss valuable synergies between the sectors and do not consider in detail the sharing and distribution of benefits between the sectors, and/or among Member States .
"Integrated planning of water, food, and energy sectors and promoting regional cooperation have been considered by SADC as strategies to meet water, energy, and food security targets and to improve natural resource use efficiency in the region," explained Dr. Patrice during the hybrid event where some participants attended online and others in Mozambique .
Through funding from the European Union, the SADC Secretariat is leading a multi-sector and stakeholder driven process in adopting the WEF Nexus approach in Southern Africa, through the SADC WEF Nexus Regional Dialogues Project. The Global Water Partnership Southern Africa is implementing the project on SADC's behalf.
In his presentation on the background paper, the Mozambique WEF Nexus expert Mr. Lionel Zisengwe said the meeting would help the country identify the main actors in the three sectors, obstacles, gaps and potential integrated projects in the three sectors.
"There are several projects that have potential synergies for the WEF Nexus. Of great reference is the Chicamba hydroelectric power plant along the Revué basin. In many ways, it could be a classic case of study in Mozambique, as the project cuts across several formal and informal sectors benefiting the water reservoir. The Chicamba dam, fed by the Revué River, should adopt the WEF Nexus in its management and formulation of the project. It has several users who adapt to the three components of the Nexus. Through the WEF Nexus approach, the project can help increase energy production, protect agricultural soils, and contribute to better hydrological regulation," Zisengwe said.
According to Zisengwe, the WEF Nexus approach is also crucial in combating conflicts between the three sectors of water, energy and food especially where all three are dependent on one natural resource.
"The water from the Chicamba dam is not only desired by the population of the urban centers of Manica province, but also seen by farmers as an attractive source for irrigation. When water demand will increase in the future, to reach the goal of 90% supply coverage can become problematic without dialogue" said Zisengwe.
The dialogue which drew participants from WEF government ministries, the private sector as well as development organizations identified potential investments where synergies across the three WEF sectors can be drawn. These include multipurpose dam construction eg Munda-Munda Scheme (Sofala), photovoltaic based projects, SUSTENTA National program, Projeto AgriPoca and the Lulu HEP project in Cabo Delgado, Mujeba in Alta Malema Vandervua & Dztse in Tete Province.
Providing an overview and background to the SADC Nexus Regional Dialogue Phase II and linkages to investment opportunities, Mrs. Shamiso Kumbirai-Mlilwana, GWPSA SDG Water Investments Specialist, emphasized on "the importance of high-level political support and ownership, as well as continuous multistakeholder engagements to keep driving the WEF Nexus agenda at the country level."
"The SADC WEF Nexus Project is being implemented in two phases. The first phase began in 2017 and ran up to 2020, which saw the development and adoption of the SADC governance framework and a WEF Nexus screening tool. The project is currently in Phase two which aims to institutionalize WEF Nexus and accelerate WEF nexus investments to enable transformation that will address water, energy, and food security in the SADC region, in a changing climate," said Mrs. Kumbirai- Mlilwana, GWPSA SDG Water Investments Specialist indicated.
She indicated that GWPSA would be supporting member states in proposal development as they seek funding for their various projects identified during the ongoing dialogues, to ensure that the WEF aspect is prominent in the proposals. Going forward, the three WEF ministries in Mozambique committed to establishing a national WEF technical working group to lead the next steps of promoting the WEF Nexus in Mozambique.
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