10th SADC RBOs Workshop kicks off in Maputo


Maputo, MOZAMBIQUE – SADC Member States should continue to work together in managing shared water resources to ensure sustainable development.

Maputo, MOZAMBIQUE – SADC Member States should continue to work together in managing shared water resources to ensure sustainable development. Permanent Secretary in the Mozambican Ministry of Works Public, Housing and Water Resources, Eng. Helio Banze said this at the 10th SADC River Basin Organisations / Shared Watercourse Institutions (RBOs/SWIs) Workshop currently underway in Maputo.


“As a region, we have always dreamed of being a world reference in the cooperation model, governance, and institutional arrangement for the management of water resources of transboundary basins,” Eng. Banze said in his keynote address, adding that this vision must continue to bind countries together.


He said it is critical for Member States to work together because uncoordinated activities in any of the countries will have an impact on the other. “For example, in almost all shared basins, Mozambique is located in the terminal part of these river systems, thus becoming a kind of floodplain natural.”


“This geographical location, which may even have other comparative advantages, puts the country in a situation of vulnerability and water dependence, determined by the uses and management mechanisms of the water resources in upstream countries,” he said, noting that this, therefore, raises the need for cross-border resource management and sharing of information among countries.


Director for Infrastructure at the SADC Secretariat, Mapolao Mokoena concurred, saying deeper cooperation among Member States is a priority for the region, particularly now as southern Africa is “experiencing horrific effects of climate change which have tremendously impacted on attaining water security in the regions.”


“We note that over 70 percent of the region’s freshwater resources are shared between two or more Member States. This presents a critical challenge and need to strengthen transboundary water management in the region,” she said. “Co-management of shared water resources is, therefore, at the centre of addressing climate change effects and impacts and dealing with other external chocks.”


Mokoena also said the region must continue to support RBOs/SWIs that are yet to be fully established, adding that the RBOs/SWIs Workshop is thus an important platform for river organizations to share experiences and lessons on how best to manage shared water resources.


LIMCOM Executive Secretary, Sergio Sitoe said the biennial workshop adds value to the role of RBOs/SWIs in promoting transboundary water resources management in the region. He said this year’s workshop running under the theme “Promoting water security through inclusive transboundary conjunctive management and development of water resources,” is structured under six sessions deliberating five sub-themes.


These sub-themes are; Scaling up transboundary initiatives through the development and implementation of the basin-wide programmes; Enhancing resilience in the SADC region through inclusive drought and flood forecasting and Early Warning Systems (FFEWS); and Building robust transboundary information management systems to support decision-making in sustainably managing and developing transboundary water resources.


The other two themes are Implementing the Revised Protocol on Shared Watercourse to drive conjunctive water management; and Enhancing conjunctive water resources planning, development, and management through integration of groundwater governance in RBO/SWI structures.” “I encourage every participant to maximize the opportunity provided by this RBOs/SWIs platform to network and exchange experiences,” Sitoe said.


Hosted by the Government of Mozambique through the Ministry of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources (MOPHRH) in collaboration with the SADC Secretariat and LIMCOM, with the technical support of the Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWPSA), the regional water workshop that is running from 2-4 October brings together a wide range of stakeholders including Member States, regional institutions, and international cooperating partners.


Established in 2006, the SADC RBOs/SWIs series of workshops are organized every two years to use RBOs as a vehicle for strengthening regional integration and cooperation.