SADC-EU WEF Nexus Workshop

The Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWPSA) has been supporting the European Union (EU) -supported Southern African Development Community (SADC) 'Water-Energy-Food ' (WEF) nexus project since July 2017. The two expected results of the project are to establish a SADC Regional WEF Nexus Framework; and develop a prioritised list of Nexus Investment Projects. To realise the result areas, the SADC member states workshop on WEF Nexus was held on the 25th March 2018, bringing together over 150 delegates from all SADC countries.

The workshop contributed to raising awareness and building capacity at national level. The secondary aim was to introduce the development frameworks and tools so that Member States and Implementation Agencies of SADC can start using them in rolling out implementation of the WEF nexus concept in the region. 

In her opening remarks for the workshop, Ms. Mapolao Rosemary Mokoena, SADC Secretariat’s Director of Infrastructure, cited that the Secretariat views access to clean water, modern energy services and sufficient food supply as fundamental for reducing poverty and moving towards sustainable development. She however, bemoaned how the effect climate changed scarcity uneven geographical distribution of these natural resources and human challenges place additional pressure on regional and local availability of these resources.


Ms. Mapolao Rosemary Mokoena, SADC Secretariat’s Director of Infrastructure giving her opening remarks 

“The availability of natural resources in the form of energy, water and land for food production requires a collective management. Nevertheless, a critical challenge is still faced in converting, developing and processing those resources into usable services and products in a manner that is sustainable, reliable, accessible and affordable for the entire population and all sectors of economy”.

The workshop programme comprised two sessions. Session One aimed to enable participants understand the WEF Nexus approach and explore the potential for applying WEF nexus approach in the SADC region. The second session was intended to allow participants understand the draft SADC WEF Nexus framework (the proposed WEF Nexus governance framework and mechanisms, and tools for screening and appraising investment projects).

National Development Plans of Member States set ambitious targets in a variety of sectors including water, food and energy. In order to avoid trade-offs and create synergies between different development agendas, integrated planning and cross-sectorial coordination is crucial. The Water-Food-Energy (WEF) Nexus approach has potential in the region in facilitating better interactions and synergies between the water, food, and energy sectors in order to unlock and optimize development of the potential for economic growth and transformation in the regaion.

It is on this premise that the workshop sessions addressed the development of collaboration frameworks for guiding the simultaneous achievement of water security, food security and energy security whilst maintaining the integrity of the environment. The workshop was held prior to the SADC Dialogue, whose theme was ““Promoting the water, energy and food nexus approach and youth empowerment for sustainable development”. In line with the dialogue theme, it was crucial that SADC framework for nexus governance and investments was introduced as a mechanism to strengthening institutional coordination and improving alignment of the WEF sectoral policy implementation in the SADC region.

The workshop is an output of the SADC NEXUS Dialogue Project “Fostering Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus Dialogue and Multi-Sector Investment in the SADC Region”, that is supported by the European Commission as part of the global ‘Nexus Dialogues Programme”. The Nexus Dialogues Programme, which is currently in its firsts phase aims at helping regional organisations and their member states apply a nexus approach in the formulation of multi-sector policy recommendations, strategies, action plans and investment programmes. Phase I also aims at identifying concrete investment projects-with a focus on multi-purpose water infrastructure - which could be funded under Phase II.