The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Joint Committee of Ministers Responsible for Energy and Water met through a hybrid setup to deliberate on programmes of regional dimensions in support of the implementation of the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-30, particularly programmes for infrastructure development of the two sectors. The Ministerial Meeting was held in in Blantyre, Republic of Malawi on 2nd December 2021. The meeting was chaired by Malawi.
The Ministers considered the status of energy power supply and demand, power trading performance in the Region and plans to address regional energy needs in line with the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan (RIDMP) Energy Sector Plan and the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) Plan 2017. The meeting also considered issues submitted for decision under the water sector as well as cross-cutting issues such as Water, the Energy and Food Security (WEF) Nexus Programme aimed at enhancing synergy in addressing challenges facing these sectors.
The meeting was attended by Ministers or their representatives from Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The meeting was also attended by the SADC Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration, Dr. Thembinkosi Mhlongo and representatives from SADC Implementing Agencies, other Tripartite Regional Economic Communities, Development Finance Institutions and International Cooperating Partners.
The meeting was preceded by a two-day meeting of Senior Officials responsible for the two sectors from 29th to 30th November 2021.
In her remarks, the Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources of the Republic of Malawi, and Chairperson of the SADC Committees of Ministers Responsible for Energy and Water, Honourable Nancy G. Tembo, MP, underscored the importance of hosting the meeting stating that it was prompted by the eminent social, economic and environmental challenges which has had tremendous negative effects on water and energy sectors, particularly the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with acute water and energy shortages, extreme effects of climate change characterised by drought and cyclones. The Chairperson also indicated that the meeting was poised to ensure delivery in accordance with priorities of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) numbers 6, 7, and 9 on increasing access to safe water and sanitation, access to affordable clean energy and infrastructural development for industrialisation.
Hon. Tembo emphasised the need for the region to work as a collective in harnessing existing opportunities to achieve progress in implementation of the priorities in the Energy and Water Sector Projects as illustrated in the RIDMP 2012 – 2027.
Hon. Tembo also underlined the willingness by Member States to overcome adversaries and put in place measures to support development of infrastructure and ensured that the Region has accomplished meaningful progress and endeavoured to do more in developing and implementing action plans informed by regional strategic frameworks.
The SADC Deputy Executive Secretary responsible for Regional Integration, Dr. Thembinkosi Mhlongo said the meeting conformed to the 26th UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP-26) which aims to reduce carbon emissions especially from the energy sector by 2050 and beyond through gradual introduction of new technologies to reduce dependence on traditional biomass and fossil fuels.
Dr. Mhlongo underscored the need to accelerate preparations and development of power generation projects utilising a mix of energy sources to address the increasing demand; as well as support electrification projects through grid extension and off-grid solutions to ensure universal energy access, and further called for increased access to at least 75 percent by 2027 for both drinking water and sanitation through the SADC Water Programme.
Ministers considered and provided guidance on implementation of the recommendations in the COVID-19 Assessment Report to accelerate recovery from the COVID-19 impacts and increase resilience against similar pandemics in future.
Ministers reviewed progress on implementation and development of priority energy projects through SAPP Pool Plan, which is a guiding document for development of power generation and transmission in the Region. Ministers also commended Member States that commissioned generation projects in 2020/2021 and contributed an additional capacity of 2,781 Mega Watts to the Region; and ICPs who are supporting regional energy projects through regional and continental project preparation facilities.
On the preparatory work for development of the SADC Regional Transmission Infrastructure Financing Facility (RTIFF), Ministers directed Secretariat in collaboration with SAPP and Regional Energy Regulatory Associations (RERA) to implement the activities in the (RTIFF Enabling Roadmap).
Ministers reiterated their commitment to operationalise the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) through signing and ratification of the SACREEE Intergovernmental Memorandum of Agreement (IGMoA). SAPP, RERA, SACREEE and Kafue Gorge Regional Training Centre (KGRTC) were also directed to implement the Energy Sector Gender Action Plan and report progress on the set goals.
Ministers further reviewed progress towards roadmap development of Regional Gas Master Plan (RGMP) Phase II and urged Member States supported by Secretariat to participate in the implementation of theRGMP Phase II especially on preparatory activities and by providing information and data related to the gas related projects.
Ministers approved the fifth Regional Strategy Action Plan (RSAP V) on Integrated Water Resource Development Management 2021- 2025.
Ministers reviewed progress on the implementation of the SADC Groundwater Management Programme; noting progress achieved on the design of the SADC Groundwater programme implemented by the SADC-Groundwater Management Institute (GMI) with the support of the World Bank.
Ministers reviewed several progress reports and noted the advancement of initiatives under implementation by SADC River Basin Organisations and Shared Water Course Institutions programmes
Ministers, finally, considered the status of the implementation of the SADC COVID-19 Border Post Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Response Project and the SADC Water Fund Infrastructure Development Projects.