event 12 Jun 2023

Nexus Regional Dialogues Southern Africa // Four SADC Oceanic States collaborate to develop a Water, Energy, Food & Ecosystem Security Nexus Regional Programme

Four SADC Oceanic States of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, and Seychelles collaborated to develop a Water, Energy, Food & Ecosystem (WEFE) Security Nexus Regional Programme that promotes a multi-sector approach in ensuring natural resources use efficiency, while achieving water, energy, and food security.

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This article was initially published on the GWP website on May 26th 2023.

To initiate the process of developing a Regional Program that targets international funds, the SADC Secretariat along with the Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWPSA), organized a regional workshop from 9th to 10th March 2023 in Mauritius as part of the EU-funded SADC Nexus Dialogue Project. The overall objective of the project is institutionalizing the WEFE Nexus approach in governance structures at the national and regional levels and of supporting investment decisions for water, energy, and food security in the SADC region.

The workshop was attended by government representatives from the water, energy, food, and related sectors from Madagascar, Mauritius, and Seychelles, as well as delegates from the SADC Secretariat, GWPSA, FAO, and UNCCD.

"This workshop came about after each of the four states held their own WEF national dialogue where they discussed challenges as well as opportunities. It turned out that the four States face unique developmental challenges that make these islands highly susceptible to the effects of climate change and the degradation of natural resources. In particular, the dialogues identified the need for the development of a Regional Program to address the unique challenges faced by the four SADC Oceanic States," explained Dr. Annah Ndeketeya, Program Officer - GWPSA.

Dr. Annah Ndeketeya, GWPSA's Program Officer (right) follows a presentation with other participants in the meeting

Overview of the SADC's WEF Nexus objectives

Making a presentation on the overview of the SADC Nexus Regional Dialogue Programme, Mr. Andrew Takawira, Senior Technical Advisor – GWPSA, said the overall objectives of the Nexus Regional Dialogues Programme, which is being implemented in two phases, are to "mainstream the WEF Nexus approach in governance and investment, develop concrete policy recommendations, and governance frameworks for integrated resource management, identify investment opportunities for multi-sectoral projects, and provide innovative training, tools, guidelines, and best practices to take the WEF Nexus approach from theory to practice.”

So far, 15 SADC member states have held national dialogues where they identified priority investment projects that could be taken further for bankability and mobilizing financing for implementation. National dialogues for the SADC Oceanic States were held in Madagascar on 5 May 2022, in Seychelles on 10 May 2022, and in Mauritius on 17 August 2022.

During its presentation, Madagascar spelled out the underutilization of water in the country where only 3 percent of the available water resources are utilized. There is also insufficient water control leading to droughts during the dry period and floods in the rainy season.

"As SADC Oceanic States collaboratively seek to grow their water, energy, and food sectors, Madagascar's hydroelectric potential stands at 7.8 gigawatts yet the country only exploits 165 megawatts, which is only 2% of its potential. In terms of Agriculture, Madagascar is only using 10.5% of its cultivable agricultural land, hence the need for more cooperation between water, energy, and food sectors to develop to full potential," said Mr. Herivelo Rakotondrainibe who presented on behalf of the Government of Madagascar.

Madagascar's prioritized projects included the construction of dams for multiple uses including irrigation, hydroelectricity, water supply, tourism, and the construction of storage basins to capture flood runoff during the rainy season for use during dry periods.

Dr. Manta Nowbuth, who made a presentation on behalf of Mauritius said "the country is only able to harness 35% of the rainfall, meet only 30% of food production demands, and is heavily dependent on fossil fuels at 85%." During its national dialogue, Mauritius prioritized four projects including increasing water storage capacity under the Riviere Des Anguilles Dam Project and improving groundwater resource evaluation through the Northern Plains aquifer – numerical modelling.

Mr. Andrew Takawira, Senior Technical Advisor - GWPSA, makes a presentation on the overview of the SADC Nexus Regional Dialogue Programme

Regional efforts to enhance the WEF Nexus implementation

On its part, Seychelles said one of the major challenges was the lack of sufficient financial resources to support WEF Nexus projects due to limited budget and reliance on external funding sources, citing the example of the Department of Agriculture which had presented a list of 17 projects , of which, only two had been granted funding.

mr. Roy Govinden said during the Seychelles presentation; "the extension of the Seychelles La Gogue dam with an additional capacity of 600,000 cubic meters was considered by stakeholders as an opportunity for clean energy and also a source of water for farmers to irrigate their crops. Another opportunity mentioned for the WEF Nexus project in Seychelles is the Ecosystem based Adaptation project, which rehabilitated degraded wetlands and now provides farmers with access to water to irrigate their crops.”

During the workshop, the Oceanic states identified key cross-cutting issues and challenges and proposed actions to address them, identified key issues and opportunities that can be incorporated into the proposed regional program, and initiated processes to develop joint regional projects for implementation. The meeting also agreed on a roadmap to support the development of a regional program targeting international funds.

Regional cooperation and integration are cornerstones of SADC's developmental agenda. Regional instruments, such as the Regional Indicative Development Strategic Plan (RIDSP), have prioritized strengthening climate resilience to ensure regional development and growth. The SADC Secretariat aims to identify and prioritize flagship projects to enhance water, energy, and food security and mitigate shared water-related risks.

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