event 09 Aug 2023

SADC holds workshop for exchange of knowledge on Water-Energy-Food Nexus and impact of climate change on communities

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) convened a workshop to share knowledge on issues involving water, energy, and food (WEF) Nexus, how they affect climate change, and their impacts on communities in Southern Africa.

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This article was originally posted by GWPSA and can be found here.

The workshop was convened in Gaborone, Botswana, from 28 - 29 June 2023, under the framework of the European Union (EU) funded Intra African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+), which is being implemented in the Region by the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE), the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA), and Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWPSA), on behalf of SADC. These regional organisations focus on country-level implementation of WEF Nexus demonstration projects targeting communities that are vulnerable to climate change to develop hands-on capacity in the implementation of climate-resilient interventions.

GWPSA and the SADC Secretariat are assisting Botswana to implement a climate-resilient Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) pilot project in the Metsimotlhabe River Catchment through the GCCA+ Programme. GCCA+ aims to increase the capabilities of SADC Member States and countries in the Africa Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) region to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, and have their voices better heard in international climate change negotiations. The GCCA+ supports the achievements of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030, Africa Agenda 2063, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The objective of the workshop was to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experiences, as well as to enhance capacity in the WEF Nexus and IWRM. On the sidelines of the workshop, participants visited one of the GCCA+ pilot sites in Metsimothlabe, which implemented a solar powered drip irrigation system and a hydroponics system for high value horticultural production to supplement the livelihoods of the local communities.

Ms. Sibongile Mavimbela, Senior Programme Officer, SADC Secretariat, said the regional body is happy to see participants sharing experiences and best practices gained through the implementation of various pilot and demonstration projects under the GCCA+ Programme.

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"We are happy that participants have shared experiences and best practices gained through the implementation of various pilot and demonstration projects under the GCCA+ Programme" - Ms. Sibongile Mavimbela, Senior Programme Officer, SADC Secretariat

In her opening remarks, Dr. Kene Dick, Deputy Director in the Department of Water and Sanitation in the Ministry of Lands and Water Affairs, said Botswana is considered one of the most vulnerable countries, and that its National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAP) indicates that climate investments should prioritise water, energy, and agriculture sectors. She said the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security through the Department of Crop Production and the Ministry of Minerals and Energy were key partners that have participated in the Metsimotlhabe Pilot Project.

“There is a need for affordable, renewable energy that can be used to supply water and produce food at the same time and climate-resilient IWRM interventions have been proposed to support the country to adapt to the effects of climate change. The government alone, without commitments and partnership from the EU and SADC, cannot fully perform impeccably in the nationally determined commitments and actions taken in fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals that are key to the Ministries of Water, Energy, and Agriculture,” said Dr. Dick.

The EU expressed satisfaction that the USD 9 million GCCA+ project in the SADC Region delivered intended results and was helping Member States pursue climate-resilient projects. Mr Clément Boutillier, Head of Cooperation, EU, said that the SADC Region, like many other areas around the world, faced significant challenges in balancing the competing demands for water, energy, and food, and that it was critical that a framework that promotes sustainable development, meets basic human needs, and protects the environment is developed.

“The WEF Nexus is a powerful tool that can help us achieve these goals. For example, we can significantly reduce water demand in agriculture by introducing drip irrigation systems that consume less energy than other irrigation methods, thus reducing energy consumption. We are happy to be here today to witness one of the knowledge-sharing events that are foreseen under the GCCA+ project in the SADC Region, between all the implementing organisations of these projects working on the WEF nexus,” said Mr. Boutillier.

He said there was a need to embrace the WEF Nexus approach in development efforts in order to achieve comprehensive and sustainable development in Southern Africa as it is a crucial tool not only for addressing the Region's water, energy, and food insecurity but also for fostering economic growth and biodiversity conservation.

Mr. Kudakwashe Ndhlukula of SACREEE gave an overview of his organisation’s experiences from implementing the WEF Nexus demonstration projects in the region saying "the demonstration projects are expected to unlock the potential for further deployment of re-powered and professionally managed distributed renewable energy (DRE) systems for productive use.”

Key outputs from SACREEE were two re-powered irrigation systems installed in Malawi and Zambia, in partnership with CCARDESA and GWPSA, and three DRE for productive energy use installed in Angola, Botswana, and Namibia.

Ms. Laura Danga and Mr. Chrisogonous Peter, both from GWPSA, spoke about the need to strengthen the climate resilience of local communities in the Wami River Basin in the United Republic of Tanzania and in the Metsimotlhabe River catchment in Botswana through the pilot implementation of climate-resilient IWRM. Assistance to design and implement IWRM pilot projects on adaptation in Botswana and Tanzania strengthens the capacity of SADC Member States to undertake regional and national adaptation and mitigation actions in response to the challenges caused by the effects of global climate change and climate variability.

Among others, delegates at the meeting agreed that there was need to establish a coordination mechanism as there was a gap in ensuring that different government departments and stakeholders in water, energy, and agriculture worked together efficiently. Stakeholders also recommended the need to have incentive driven approaches to encourage the use of the WEF Nexus approach. The meeting also recommended capacitating the local private sector; capacity development of all implementing entities including beneficiaries; decentralising structures that can establish focal points to support communities; and the need for data diplomacy or sharing of data on WEF Nexus across continents and countries.

Representatives from SADC implementing organisations such as GWPSA, SACREEE, and CCARDESA, the EU, and Government Ministries related to WEF and related sectors, including Environment, Climate Change, Planning and Finance; river basin organisations; the SADC Secretariat; German development agency, GIZ; and beneficiary communities, attended the workshop and visited the GCCA+ pilot project in Metsimotlhabe.

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