Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Abraham Nehemia on Tuesday reiterated the great importance of an enhanced sense of ownership of the Zambezi Watercourse when he inaugurated the Zambezi Basin Stakeholders’ Forum in Windhoek, saying all users should appreciate one another and ensure the sustainable use and management of the country’s precious water resources.
Welcoming representatives from the Zambezi riparian states, representatives from the SADC Water Division, ZAMCOM executive secretary Prof Zebediah Phiri and the entire ZAMCOM secretariat staff, as well as executive secretaries from other river basin organisations and various international partners, he said Namibia – being among the eight riparian states of the Zambezi River Basin – is honoured and privileged to host the Zambezi Basin-wide Stakeholders’ Forum, the first of its kind,
The ZAMCOM Agreement establishing the Zambezi Watercourse Commission came into force on June 19, 2011 after it was ratified by more than two thirds of member states (six out of eight), of which Namibia was one. To date seven riparian states have acceded to the agreement.
The overall objective of the agreement is to promote the equitable and reasonable utilisation of the water resources of the Zambezi Watercourse, as well as the efficient management and sustainable development thereof.
“If one translates this into action it will mean engaging the users in the better use and management of the Zambezi Watercourse in a sustainable manner,” he noted.
The theme of the two-day forum is: ‘Enhancing Transboundary Cooperation through Stakeholder Engagement in the Zambezi Basin’. Given that the Zambezi Watercourse is transboundary and localised (confined), management without joining forces across the national boundaries may compromise the overall purpose of the ZAMCOM Agreement.
“Hence, efforts have been made through the ZAMSEC to facilitate the bringing together of basin stakeholders’ representatives to share knowledge and experiences, as well as provide general advice and inputs that contribute to ZAMCOM initiatives and Zambezi Basin developments. The mastermind behind this initiative deserves a round of applause, because together we can understand better and do better too,” he said.
Nehemia further said his wish is that the golden opportunity, as accorded to all the stakeholders’ representatives present is maximised and transboundary cooperation enhanced – and not only the existing technical-level transboundary cooperation, which is mainly for the technocrats.
“I equally appreciate the other river basin organisations (such as ORASECOM, OKACOM, LIMCOM and others) that have accepted the invitation to be present here and share their applied experience with regards to basin-wide stakeholder engagement in transboundary watercourses.
“The international cooperating partners too deserve to be commended, for they are most of the time ready to avail resources and capacity to enable us to fulfil our dreams, including ZAMCOM’s work programme of 2016 to 2018,” he concluded.