event 17 Jan 2022

Nexus Regional Dialogue Southern Africa // WEF Nexus key to advancing the socio-economic agenda in Zambia

The Water, Energy, Food (WEF) Nexus is an important vehicle for advancing the socio-economic agenda in Zambia and attaining the national vision 2030, says Zambia permanent Secretary for Water officiating the Water, Energy and Food Nexus National Dialogue for Zambia. The dialogue was held on 14th December 2021 in Lusaka, Zambia to identify national WEF nexus priorities and highlight the benefits of how improved sectoral coordination can accelerate national investment opportunities.

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“The WEF Nexus approach provides a platform for the government mobilise and accelerate economic utilisation of water resources through effective linkages with sectors such as energy and food,” said Mr Joe Kalusa, Permanent Secretary for Zambia’s Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation.

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Mr Joe Kalusa, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation, officially opened the dialogue

He added that the impact of climate change in Zambia, primarily being felt through the intensity and frequency of droughts and flooding, is adversely affecting sectors dependent on water-energy-food nexus. He further urged stakeholders to work closely together in ensuring the attainment of climate-resilient water security in Zambia through the Water, Energy and Food (WEF) Nexus approach, partly through dialogues and stakeholder engagements.

The Zambia WEF Nexus Dialogue forms part of the national dialogues being organised for all 16 Southern African Development Community (SADC) Member States to strengthen the capacity on the WEF Nexus and accelerate WEF Nexus Investments at the national level. ​The dialogues are one of the deliverables of the second phase of the SADC- EU WEF Nexus Regional Dialogues Project “Fostering Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus Dialogue and Multi-Sector Investment in the SADC Region: Phase II”, which is funded by the European Union and is being implemented in the SADC region by the Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWPSA) on behalf of the SADC Secretariat.

“The SADC- EU WEF Nexus Regional Dialogues Project, is being implemented in two phases; the first phase looked at Technical and Policy Dialogues leading to establishing a Regional Framework and Investment Project Screening Tool and Phase II focuses on demonstrating the WEF Nexus through Dialogues, capacity building and guidelines,” said Ms Shamiso Kumbirai, GWPSA’s SDG Water Investments Specialist, presenting the SADC- EU WEF Nexus Regional Dialogues Project. “Phase I of the Nexus Dialogues Programme ran from 2017-2019, and Phase II of the project commenced in 2020 and will run for three years until 2023”.

In her presentation of the Zambia WEF Nexus background paper, Ms Marjory Mwale underscored the vital role the Water, Energy and Food Nexus approach plays in sustaining human well-being and livelihoods.

“The WEF Nexus approach is useful for informing decisions on improving livelihoods, enhancing resource securities, identifying priority areas for intervention, and providing transformative pathways towards sustainable development,” she said.

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Ms Marjory Mwale gave a presentation on the Zambia WEF Nexus background paper

The Zambia WEF NEXUS dialogue presented an opportunity to present challenges and opportunities within and beyond the three WEF nexus sectors (Water, Energy and Agriculture), while providing key lessons for developing WEF nexus investments. Key challenges include the prohibitive cost of financing for projects, limited energy transmission and distribution infrastructure, the advent of the COVID 19 Pandemic, delayed implementation due to power cuts, negative effects of drought on hydropower production and inadequate funding, coordination, and information systems.

Stakeholders concurred on the importance of utilising the opportunities available for WEF Nexus implementation, which include the availability of alternative sources of power production, the country’s enabling environment for investment, private sector involvement in the three sectors, the 8NDP, as well as the Coordination mechanism is in place through the National Development Coordination Committee and the Cluster on Economic Diversification and Job Creation.

“In developing WEF Nexus investments, it is imperative to take a participatory and integrated approach both at project planning and implementation rather than to work in silos,” said Ms Kumbirai. “Strengthening the technical interactions among the various players in the WEF nexus and resolving any policy barriers and legislation conflicts are key in accelerating the WEF nexus forward.”

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Ms Shamiso Kumbirai, GWPSA’s SDG Water Investments Specialist presented the SADC- EU WEF Nexus Regional Dialogues Project.

The dialogue identified potential national WEF Nexus projects that can feed into the project pipeline being developed by the AIP SDG Water Investments Support Programme for further project preparation support in the strengthening of the WEF nexus approach. These include the Climate Resilient Rural Water Supply and Sanitation, the Pilot Project for Climate Resilience (PPCRII), Strengthening Climate Resilience of Agricultural livelihoods in Agro-Ecological Regions I and II (SCRALA), Enhanced smallholder Agribusiness Promotion Program (ESAPP), Climate Resilient Livestock Management Project (CRIMP) and Irrigation Development Support Project (IDSP).

The Zambia WEF Nexus national dialogue was convened by the Department of Water Resources (DWRD) under the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation in collaboration with the SADC Water Division, the Global Water Partnership-Southern Africa (GWPSA) and the Zambia Water Partnership (ZWP). It brought together stakeholders from the Zambia Water Partnership, the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Agriculture, SADC, EU Delegation to Zambia, GIZ, The World Bank, Civil Society, NGOs, and Academia.

This article was first published on the GWPSA website on 14 January 2022.

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