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The Integrated Water Resources Management in Collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources launched a five-day Study Tour in Maseru, Lesotho on Monday.

The Integrated Water Resource Management and Development (IWRM&D) in the Lake Victoria Basin aims to promote and facilitate the implementation of sustainable development, management and equitable utilization of water resources. To achieve this goal, the Lake Victoria Basin Commission has embarked on the implementation of different strategic interventions.

Mr. Habofanoe Makopela of the Ministry of Natural Resources welcomed all delegates to the IWRM&D study tour in the SADC region and participants from beyond the SADC region, saying he is humbled and grateful to host the IWRM&D study tour.

He expressed hope that the tour will present an opportunity for delegates to exchange information and ideas as well as learn from each other, saying Lesotho national initiatives including water transboundary projects which demonstrate benefit sharing, the Lesotho Highlands water project for example, will be studied.

The SADC Water Division, Dr Patrice Kabeya, said the landscape changed after the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that within the water management paradigm, water resources are shared unequally among regions.

He noted that the SADC protocol guides Member States to manage transboundary water management, saying diplomacy is very important when trying to manage transboundary water resources therefore water cooperation can be sustainable.

He stressed that their role is to support Member States to manage water effectively.

The ORASECOM Executive Secretary, Mr. Lenka Thamae informed participants that this is an opportunity to inform audiences who are not water experts about water management.

“In 2000, SADC countries adopted a framework working together and cooperating on the management of water shared by more than one country. Entities such as ORASECOM were established as a result of the implementation of the SADC protocol for shared water resources. We have a lot of things in common in Africa best practices in Southern Africa and also all the Lake Victoria countries are also part of the Nile Basin,” he stressed.

Mr. Thamae added that SADC has learned how to empower women in decision-making platforms in water cooperation from the Nile Basin, saying they copied the model laid out by the Women in Water Diplomacy Network on the river Nile, however, believed that more work needs to be done on gender mainstreaming.

“How to empower women and mainstream gender more effectively is of key importance. We are formulating a strategy guide for women in the water diplomacy network,” he said.

Representative of the German Development Bank, based in Kenya, Ms. Anne-Marie Ran said the Lake Victoria Basin Commission Integrated Water Resources Management Programme is a KfW-supported programme, financed by the German Federal Government and the European Union.

She noted that apart from investing in infrastructure to reduce pollution of the lake, the programme also financed this study trip together with GIZ, saying the reason to fund the trip is the huge impact the EU Water Framework Directive has on the status of the lakes, rivers, and groundwater in Europe.

She said the impact of the European IWR, Governance Framework on the joint regional investment, catchment management planning and implementation and construction and overall on the decrease of conflicts. It is possible to transform a polluted system into a healthy one and it does not take that long. Shared water resources management is key to managing this impact.

The Lake Victoria Integrated Water Resources Management Programme (LVB IWRMP) is a regional programme coordinated by the LVBC and implemented in the five Partner States of the East African Community. The LVB IWRM Programme is funded to the tune of EUR 44.3 million and aims to improve water quality and availability through the strategic and sustainable management of the Lake Victoria Basin.

By staff Reporter: Maphoka Likotsi


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