Benefits of cooperation and basin-wide planning took center stage at this year’s Zambezi Basin Stakeholders’ Forum held in Lusaka, Zambia from Monday, 25 to Tuesday, 26 September 2017.
More than 100 stakeholders from the Zambezi River Basin, the Southern African region and beyond gathered at Lusaka’s Hotel Intercontinental to share information and experiences with regard to basin-wide planning.
Zambia’s Minister of Water Development,Sanitation and Environment Protection, Honourable Lloyd Mulenga Kaziya, officially opened the Forum.
In his opening remarks, Hon. Kaziya said trans-boundary co-operation is central to fostering and strengthening regional co-operation. He added that the Zambezi River Basin is an important resource to the socioeconomic development not only for the basin but also for the region as the basin is home to more than 40 million people and projected to increase to 51 million by 2015.
“The mounting socio-economic pressures on the basin will require a better basin-wide common understanding and appreciation of the opportunities and challenges that the basin will face at national and basin-wide levels without compromising ecosystems while undermining development aspirations of member states,” he said.
The Zambezi Basin-wide Forum provided a good opportunity for stakeholders to reflect on how the water resources of the Zambezi River Basin should be managed to enhance its contribution towards the well-being of the region as well as the global socio-economic development agenda through poverty reduction, creation of jobs and improvement of the livelihoods of the region’s inhabitants.
“Furthermore, this Forum provides a platform for us to discuss how we can accelerate the implementation of the much desired development in a manner that promotes the preservation of the environment and our ecosystems while at the same time, ensuring that more climate change resilient and adaptive approaches are integrated in our programmes for the benefit of our communities.”
“I therefore wish to remind you that integrated planning and sustainable development should be the cornerstone upon which all the interventions ought to be anchored,” Hon. Kaziya said.
He appealed to delegates to ensure that challenges of the basin are addressed in a concerted manner to achieve the desired outcomes.
The Forum is an annual event launched in 2016 and is organised by the Zambezi Watercourse Commission (ZAMCOM) in collaboration with its partners. The partners include the Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWP SA), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), WaterNet, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC), the Institute of Water and Sanitation Development (IWSD) and the NEPAD-Southern African Network of Water Centres of Excellence.
The objective of the Forum is to bring together representatives of stakeholders with interests in the management and development of water and related resources in the basin to share knowledge and experiences; and to provide advice and inputs that contribute to ZAMCOM initiatives, and Zambezi Basin developments.
The Basin-wide Stakeholders Forum brings together people with an interest in the Zambezi river basin to share information and experiences around a selected theme. This year’s theme was: “Benefits of Co-operation and Basin-wide Planning in the Management and Development of Shared Water Resources”.
The focus was on the benefits of shared water resources cooperation in the context of basin-wide planning. The forum outputs are expected to inform the development of the Strategic Plan for the Zambezi Watercourse (ZSP), a project ZAMCOM is implementing.
A number of sub-themes were lined up as part of the programme. These included: basin-wide planning – issues and perspectives; benefits of shared water cooperation and basin-wide planning; and, the roles of River Basin Organisation (RBOs) and other players. Benefits such as economic, social and environmental, regional economic cooperation, peace and security as well as governance were explored.
Among the stakeholders who attended the Forum were representatives from the eight Zambezi Basin countries, ZAMCOM partner organisations and their constituents, regional and international cooperating partners, a cross section of stakeholders including academics and the private sector.
(ZAMCOM) is a major river basin organisation in Africa. It was established in 2014 as an intergovernmental establishment that brings together eight Riparian States. The Riparian States are Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania; Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The basis for the cooperation is the Agreement on the Establishment of the Zambezi Watercourse Commission which was signed in 2004 and came into force in 2011. The Commission is headquartered in Harare, Zimbabwe.