event 14 Mar 2023

Nexus Regional Dialogues Southern Africa // Regional SADC workshop: water, energy and food security

With the objective of fostering Water-Energy-Food security, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Oceanic States workshop was conducted on the 9th of March at the Pearle Beach Resort & Spa in Flic-en-Flac. This workshop aimed to develop a Water, Energy and Food Nexus Regional Programme in Southern Africa.

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This article was initially published on GIS Mauritius on March 9th 2023.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Oceanic States workshop was conducted on the 9th of March at the Pearle Beach Resort & Spa in Flic-en-Flac with the aim to develop a Water, Energy and Food (WEF) Nexus Regional Programme

Perspectives and Insights

Representatives from the governments of Mauritius, Seychelles and Madagascar working in various sectors, such as water, energy, food, environment, climate change, planning and finances, attended the two-day regional workshop. Additionally, members from organisations such as the SADC Secretariat, Global Water Partnership, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and the Food and Agriculture Organisation also took part in the event.

During his speech at the workshop's opening ceremony, the Director of Technical Services of the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities, Mr Doumeraj Jahajeeah, stated that the aim of the regional workshop was to develop a regional programme that targets international funding. This programme would promote a multi-sectoral approach that ensures resource efficiency while simultaneously achieving water-food-energy (WEF) security. He recalled that in 2022, Mauritius held a National Dialogue on WEF Nexus and seven projects were identified for the country: “One of them, which comprises using water from the Tamarind Falls and Magenta Dam for potable use, has already been implemented”. Moreover, Mr Doumeraj Jahajeeah emphasised the importance of the WEF Nexus security for islands like Mauritius, Madagascar and Seychelles. He further suggested that appropriate attention should be given to address the challenges associated with it. Furthermore, he stated that Mauritius remained vulnerable to the direct impacts of climate change on water supply, food production and energy security. He highlighted the strong drive of the Government in investing in necessary projects to ensure security in these fields.

Mr Duncan Samikwa, the representative of the SADC Secretariat, emphasised the objectives of the event as identifying existing sectoral governance challenges and barriers that hinder the progression of WEF Nexus investments in the Oceanic Region, showcasing examples of how the improvement of the sectoral coordination can drive investment projects. First, by identifying priority regional projects to pilot and showcase the WEF Nexus approach, and second, by enhancing Oceanic states' cooperation in the development and implementation of prioritised WEF Nexus projects.

Mr Duncan Samikwa also stressed that water, energy and food security were key priority areas for SADC, and that the SADC aims to promote the proper regional planning, cooperation and coordination to improve the use of natural resources efficiency. “This approach,” he added, “will allow the identification of solutions and synergies for the benefit of every SADC Member State.”

SADC Nexus Dialogue Project

The SADC Secretariat is currently implementing the second phase of the SADC Nexus Dialogue Project, ‘Fostering Water, Energy and Food (WEF) Security Nexus Dialogue and Multi-Sector Investment in the SADC Region’. This European Union funded project began in 2017, and has been implemented in two phases: Phase I of the Nexus Regional Dialogues Programme ran from 2017-2019 and aimed to help regional organisations. The Member States apply a nexus approach to formulate multi-sector policy recommendations, strategies, action plans and investment programmes.

Phase II of the project has a duration of three years, starting in 2020 until 2023 and it is build on the achievements of the first phase. The main objective is to institutionalize the WEF Nexus approach at regional and national governance structures and investment decisions for water, energy, and food security in the SADC Region. As part of the Nexus Regional Dialogues Project, the national dialogues are being organised for all 16 SADC Member States with the objective of strengthening WEF Nexus capacities in conducting WEF Nexus analysis to inform decision making correspondents. The overall objective of the WEF Nexus National Dialogues is to identify national WEF Nexus priorities and to show that improving sectoral coordination can accelerate national investment opportunities and bring benefits to the whole region.

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