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    9 Apr, 2013

    Water: A Source of Peace in SADC

    In the Southern African Devel­opment Community (SADC), water is seen as a source of peace rather than conflict. This was the key message em­phasized by SADC’s Director of Infrastructure and Services Mr. Remigious Makumbe during a three-day workshop to Promote Cooperation and Conflict Pre­vention in Trans boundary Water Resources held from February 25-27, 2013 in Phaka­lane, Botswana.

     The workshop was organized by the SADC Secretariat and the United Nations Education­al, Scientific and Cultural Or­ganisation (UNESCO) as a part of an organisation ( UNESCO) as part of the activities to commemorate this year’s World Water Day whose theme is Water Cooperation.The theme for this year’s World Water Day, commemorated on March 22, co­incides with the UN General Assembly Declaration of 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation (Resolution A/RES/65/154).

    The workshop was attended by decision makers from the Ministries responsible for Water in the SADC Member States, and representatives of River Basin Orga­nizations in the region. The aim of the workshop was to enhance the capacity of high level water decision makers on trans­boundary water conflict management and cooperation.Participants shared and exchanged sub-regional experiences on water coopera­tion as well as learnt more about design­ing and conducting negotiation processes on trans-boundary water-related issues.

    Within the SADC region, cooperation is a key component in the regional instru­ments such as the SADC Treaty, the Re­gional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and the Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ (SIPO).Water cooperation is specifically promot­ed through the revised SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses which was first rati­fied in 1998 and revised in 2003 to foster close and coordinated co-operation in the management, protection and utilization of Shared Watercourses, and to advance the SADC agenda of regional integration and poverty alleviation.

     In his welcome remarks to the workshop Mr. Makumbe noted that water was play­ing a major role in promoting transparen­cy, dialogue and very high degree of coop­eration among Member States in SADC.SADC Secretariat Senior Programme Of­ficer for Water, Mr. Phera Ramoeli said the signing and ratification of Water­course Agreements such as the Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM), covering Angola, Botswana and Namibia; the Orange-Senqu River Commission (ORASECOM), covering Bo­tswana, Lesotho, Namibia and South Af­rica; the Limpopo Water Commission (LIMCOM) covering Botswana, South Af­rica, Zimbabwe and Mozambique; and the Zambezi Watercourse Commission (ZAM­COM) covering Angola, Botswana, Ma­lawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe is testimony to the high degree of cooperation and working as one family.

    Over 70 per cent of the SADC region’s fresh water resources are shared between two or more Member States, a situation that has been the basis for the develop­ment and adoption of a series of regional instruments to support the joint manage­ment and development of shared water courses.

    The SADC instruments for water coopera­tion include the Regional Water Policy, ad­opted in 2005; the Regional Water Strate­gy adopted in 2006 and Regional Strategic Action Plan on Integrated Water Resourc­es and Development Management which was first approved by SADC Summit in August 1998 to run in five-year phases. The SADC Water Division is currently co­ordinating implementation of the third phase of the Regional Strategic Action Plan on Integrated Water Resources Man­agement and Development (RSAP) 2011-2015.

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