5th September 2022, Maseru, Lesotho. The Southern African Development Community (SADC)- Member States have been urged to use an integrated approach to solving water, energy and food challenges, known as WEF Nexus, to accelerate water, energy and food security and economic growth of the Region.
Officially opening the 10th SADC Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue which will run from 5th-7th September 2022 in Maseru, in the Kingdom of Lesotho, the guest of honour, Mr. Lisema Lekhooana, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Water in Lesotho, called for collaboration among Member States for transboundary projects.
“The Region is blessed with 15 major river basins shared by at least two countries; 13 of these river basins are fully located in the SADC Region. These present an opportunity for regional transboundary projects which would help address challenges in the three sectors of Water, Energy and Food. Collaboration to manage transboundary resources is key to building resilience, promoting sustainable development, and tackling issues of peace, sovereignty and security. Let us remember the 363 million people whose livelihoods we need to protect and improve in the Region, through better water resources management and in turn improve energy and food security for improved socio-economic situation of the Region.” said Mr. Lekhooana
The 10th SADC Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue is being held under the theme ‘Bolstering regional productive capacities for water, energy, food security and ecosystem resilience to achieve inclusive and sustainable industrial transformation’. The theme aims to accelerate implementation of SADC’s Vision 2050 aspirations and the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020–2030, in particular, the Industrialisation and Market Integration, and the Infrastructure in Support of Regional Integration pillars.
In underscoring the importance of the vision, the SADC Director of Infrastructure, Ms. Mapolao Mokoena, stated that, “SADC’s Vision 2050 is a bold development strategy aimed at propelling the Region from a middle to high-income industrialised Region, where all citizens enjoy sustainable economic well-being. Productive capacity development will play a pivotal role in achieving this objective because it can foster structural transformation, diversification, and employment generation. Thus the integrated planning of water, food, and energy sectors and promoting regional cooperation are considered by SADC as strategies to meet water, energy, and food security targets and the Nexus approach could provide a coherent and operational strategy for enhancing productive capacities in the Region.”
On his part, Mr. Camille Iyaka, Head of Division in charge of Transboundary Water Management in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the current SADC chair, urged delegates to adopt the WEF Nexus approach with special emphasis on the water sector which is central to the development of the other two.
“Central to resolving challenges in the energy, agriculture or food sectors in the water sector is increased integration and inclusive approaches to water resources management, development and its utilisation. These are crucial for water to truly play a role of catalysing regional development, and to attract more investment into the sector,” explained Mr. Iyaka.
The Dialogue is a biennial event organised by the SADC Secretariat which provides a forum for practitioners from the water and related sectors to discuss pertinent issues on deepening regional integration and poverty reduction in the Region. The outcomes of the three-day Dialogue will feed into the decisions to be presented by the Ministers responsible for Food, Water, and Energy Security to the SADC Council of Ministers.
This year’s Dialogue is funded by the European Union (EU)- supported SADC WEF Nexus Dialogue Project and the “Support to Integrated Catchment Management (ICM)” Project in Lesotho, co-financed by the EU and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).