Nexus Regional Dialogue Southern Africa // Lesotho calls for the incorporation of the WEF Nexus Agenda into national planning
Stakeholders in Lesotho have called for the incorporation of the WEF Nexus Agenda into the country's five-year National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) as a means of solidifying the country's commitment to the Nexus process. This was one of the recommendations of the Lesotho WEF Nexus Dialogue held in the Berea District on 7 December 2021. The national consultation was the first of the WEF Nexus national dialogues being organized for all 16 SADC Member States to strengthen capacity on the WEF Nexus and accelerate WEF Nexus investments at the national level.
The national consultation was held as part of the second phase of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Nexus Dialogue Project “Fostering Water, Energy, and Food Security Nexus Dialogue and Multi-Sector Investment in the SADC Region” , being implemented in Southern Africa by the Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWPSA), on behalf of the SADC Secretariat. The SADC NEXUS Dialogue Project is supported by the European Commission as part of the Global "Nexus Dialogues Program" , being implemented in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Niger River Basin, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), Southern Africa , and Central Asia.
"The overall objective of the SADC Nexus Dialogue Project is to support the transformation required to meet increasing water, energy, and food security demand in the context of climate change in the SADC Region through the development of an integrated nexus approach," said Dr. Patrice Kabeya, Senior Program Officer, Water Division, Directorate of Infrastructure and Services in the SADC Secretariat at the Lesotho Nexus consultation.
Dr. Patrice Kabeya, Senior Program Officer, Water Division, SADC Secretariat
"Despite that Lesotho is endowed with plenty of water, land, and human resources, more than half of its population is living under the national poverty line, mostly in rural areas where we have most of the resources," said Mr. Motsetsero Mofihli, Director in the Department of Crops in Lesotho's Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. "It is imperative to protect the country's abundant resources and use them to their full potential so that the country becomes food and water secure". He delivered opening remarks on behalf of the SADC National WEF Directors.
In his keynote address, Professor Qalabane Chakela, an Environmental Resources Management Specialist and an Independent Consultant, directed the Dialogue to the existence of multiple Nexus frameworks that have been implemented globally. He shared his results of an evaluation of these frameworks, highlighting the identified gaps associated with them and why each framework must be adapted to the country-specific context, to work.
Professor Qalabane Chakela, an Environmental Resources Management Specialist and an Independent Consultant
The perspectives shared with stakeholders through the background paper outlined governance and coordination mechanisms driving the WEF Nexus investments in Lesotho, noting that existing programs and projects have one or more components of the WEF Nexus. The paper also mapped out WEF-related policy frameworks in Lesotho, which would create an enabling environment for the implementation of WEF Nexus in Lesotho. Through the paper, opportunities, such as the Lesotho ICM project, and threats to the project were identified. Constraints outlined include the silo approach in developing and implementing projects, lack of capacity (technical, institutional, financial, legal, and regulatory), and insufficient political and legal backstopping to drive the WEF nexus agenda.
The Dialogue stressed the need to institutionalize the WEF Nexus based on the existing structures, citing the Lesotho Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) project as a solid platform on which the Nexus Framework can be established. Participants deliberated on how the coordination gaps identified in the background paper, and silo approaches to development planning, that lead to WEF resource-use inefficiencies can be overcome. The importance of continuous capacity development focusing on softer issues (communication, relationships, coordination mechanisms, governance, institutional linkages, etc.) in driving the Nexus Agenda in Lesotho were also underscored during the Dialogue.
The first phase of the SADC Nexus Dialogue Project was implemented from 2017-2019 as priority intervention 8.2 (Nexus Approaches) of the SADC Regional Strategic and Action Plan (RSAP IV) on Integrated Water Resources Development and Management and aimed at helping regional organizations and their member states apply a nexus approach in the formulation of multi-sector policy recommendations, strategies, action plans, and investment programs. Phase I also aimed to identify concrete investment projects - with a focus on multi-purpose water infrastructure. Among the key results achieved from Phase I was the establishment of a SADC Regional WEF Nexus Governance Framework which was validated by all SADC Member States in 2019 and approved by Ministers responsible for Energy and Water from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 2020. The SADC WEF Nexus investment project screening and appraisal tool and a prioritized list of Nexus Investment Projects were also part of the milestones achieved during the first phase.
"Phase II of the project has a duration of 3 years, commencing in 2020 until 2023", added Dr. Kabeya. "This builds on the achievements of the first phase, with the overall objective of institutionalizing the WEF Nexus approach at regional and national governance structures and investment decisions for water, energy, and food security in the SADC region".
This article was first published on the GWPSA website on December 21, 2021.