Zambezi basin stakeholders to interrogate the IWRM strategy in Lilongwe, Malawi

24 November 2008 | International news release

People with a stake in the Zambezi river basin are set to meet in Lilongwe Malawi to discuss how they can implement the recently adopted Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Strategy for the shared river basin.

The eight countries that share the Zambezi river basin have adopted an IWRM Strategy that spells out development opportunities, and key challenges that need to be addressed as well as how they can share the benefits derived from the water resources of the Zambezi river basin in a sustainable and reasonably equitable manner.
The meeting, to be held from 26 to 27 November, 2008 in Lilongwe, Malawi is the 4th Zambezi basinwide stakeholders Forum. Its main aim is to address the question on how the Zambezi river basin stakeholders could turn the IWRM Strategy and Implementation Plan into action and realize the goal of sustainable utilization of the Zambezi river basin resources.
The IWRM Strategy was developed through a consultative process with stakeholders over the years by the Zambezi Action Plan Project 6, Phase II (ZACPRO 6.2), a SADC initiative based in Lusaka, Zambia.
The Forum whose theme is “Championing effective IWRM in the Zambezi River Basin” will this year focus on this Strategy. The main issue that the Forum will look at is how the riparian states and all the other stakeholders can operationalize this Strategy and its Implementation Plan.
The overall objective for the Forum is to broaden stakeholder awareness on the Strategy and to discuss ways of ensuring it does not just remain on the shelves, but that it becomes a working document that will spearhead the development and management of the resources of the Zambezi.
The IWRM Strategy has outlined four key challenge areas the river basin faces. These are:

  • integrated and coordinated water resources development;
  • environmental management and sustainable development;
  • adaptation to climate variability and climate change; and
  • basinwide cooperation and integration.

More than 100 stakeholders from Government ministries for Environment, Water, Justice, Finance, Fisheries, Forestry, Agriculture and Energy, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working in the areas of Environment and Water, communities represented by traditional leaders, universities/research institutions, media, parliamentarians, private sector, local government, river basin organizations, representatives from other sectors and beyond the river basin are expected to attend.
It is hoped that at the end of the Forum, which is an annual event dating back to 2005, the following would be achieved:

  • A well informed stakeholder group on the IWRM Strategy
  • A guiding framework on how to operationalise the IWRM Strategy
  • Recommendations on approaches for multi-purpose dam/reservoir management for improved food security
  •  A comprehensive plan for the rehabilitation, management and monitoring of environmental vulnerable areas in the Basin.
  • A well informed stakeholder group on the vulnerability of the Basin’s water resources to climate change

The forum is financially supported under ZACPRO 6.2 Project by the Nordic countries through their development agencies - Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), and the Norwegian Embassy in Lusaka. It is also supported under the GWP SA Regional Budget and Sida support and the World Conservation Union (IUCN). The Nature Conservancy (TNC) of the United States of America and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is supporting participation of some members of the Zambezi River Basin Dam Authorities Working Group. The World Bank has supported some participants to the Forum. The Private Sector and other cooperating partners have also supported participants to the Forum.

For further information, contact: Ms Leonissah Munjoma, Information and
Communication Expert ZACPRO 6.2 Project on lmunjoma@zamcom.org or
zacpro@zamcom.org