Riparian states of the Zambezi river basin have all formed committees to ensure active stakeholder participation. These are called National Stakeholders’ Coordination Committees (NASCs). Such an approach embraces the associated spirit of ownership amongst the stakeholders and their commitment. The NASCs are envisaged as important instruments in operationalising the stakeholder participation principle and in the effective dissemination of the Zambezi Watercourse Commission (ZAMCOM) decisions and values.
Following the establishment of its permanent Secretariat, in Harare, ZAMCOM has supported the holding of NASC meetings in a number of the riparian countries. Before that, the NASCs were established in each riparian state during the interim Secretariat which was hosted by the Botswana Government in Gaborone.
The main objective of the initial NASC meetings under the permanent Secretariat has been the confirmation of terms of reference, getting feedback on ZAMCOM activities from ZAMSEC representatives and coming up with the way forward for the NASCs in each of the riparian states.
The ZAMCOM objective “is to promote the equitable and reasonable utilization of the water resources of the Zambezi Watercourse as well as the efficient management and sustainable development thereof.”
During these meetings, the ZAMCOM Secretariat gives updates about ZAMCOM’s current activities which include formulation of the Zambezi Strategic Plan, enhancement of the Zambezi Water Information System (ZAMWIS), developing rules of notification and prior consultation on planned measures/projects, procedures for information and data exchange, the collection and dissemination of information and data in support of improved planning and decision making for the sustainable management and development of the basin and fostering greater awareness among the inhabitants of the Zambezi Watercourse of the equitable and reasonable utilisation and the efficient management and sustainable development of the resources of the basin.
Some materials such as the ZAMCOM brochure and newsletter have been distributed during these meetings.
The main responsibilities of the NASCs are primarily to provide a platform through which national consensus could be reached on water resources development and management issues. In return, the NASCs are expected to provide national input on decisions and issues dealt with by the ZAMCOM Secretariat, whilst serving as an avenue for disseminating the ideas, activities and outputs of the Secretariat to stakeholder institutions and interest groups in the respective countries. The NASCs are also expected to assist the ZAMCOM Secretariat in the implementation of the Communication Strategy.
Some of the responsibilities for the NASCs included the following:
• Providing a vital link between the ZAMCOM Secretariat’s Work Plan implementation framework and the national “thinking” on and practical contributions to basin co-operation and co-ordination. The NASCs are expected to therefore advise on programmes and related developments within their national boundaries, which would influence or be influenced by trans-boundary water development and management that should be harmonised with related national programmes of those of other riparian countries;
• Supporting the ZAMCOM Secretariat in the implementation of the ZAMCOM communication strategy.
• Facilitating the organisation of national stakeholder awareness and involvement, organising training workshops and disseminating information on national and regional water resources development and management;
• Facilitating contacts between the Secretariat and national stakeholder institutions and officials;
• Soliciting comments from stakeholder institutions and interest groups;
• Facilitating the identification of national capacity requirements and training needs in IWRM;
• Assisting with integrating the ZAMCOM Secretariat programmes with other national initiatives.
• Ensuring that gender issues are given due consideration under ZAMCOM operations – in all its structures including the stakeholders’ coordination committees.
ZAMCOM is a river basin organization set up through the ZAMCOM Agreement by the eight riparian states that share the Zambezi River Basin. ZAMCOM promotes and coordinates the cooperative management and development of the Zambezi Watercourse in a sustainable, climate resilient manner. The eight riparian states are Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.