By BENEDICT TEMBO
The Zambezi Water Commission (ZAMCOM) executive secretary Felix Ngamlagosi says river basin organisations still require both financial and technical support from development partners to implement various interventions that address some of the challenges that they face.
Mr Ngamlagosi said while support is still needed, the African continent has also accumulated valuable experiences and capacity, which may be useful in accelerating the pace of developments in the river basins.
“The key question here is, therefore, how do we harness these experiences and lessons from institutions within our continent Africa,” he said at the start of the high level inter-regional experience sharing visit to ZAMCOM secretariat in Harare on Monday by a delegation from the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI).
Mr Nyamlagosi said the study tour was one of ways in which ZAMCOM and NBI can enhance their institutional knowledge, capacity and skills and also in addressing their challenges.
“This high-level experience sharing tour by the NBI, therefore, comes at the right time and has positive impact on both sides as we are able to bridge the gap of knowledge, skills and expertise in our organisations.
We believe that, with a strong cooperation and collaboration between the NBI and ZAMCOM, we all stand to achieve the aspirations of the countries and communities in the two major river basins of Africa,” Mr Ngamlagosi said.
He said the future is in the strength in cooperation and partnership.
“We need to work together for “A future which is characterised by equitable and sustainable utilisation of water resources, regional integration and economic benefit for present and future generations” in our continent Africa,” Mr Ngamlagosi said.
Established in 2004, ZAMCOM is an intergovernmental organisation which brings together eight riparian states – Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe – which share the Zambezi River Basin.
And NBI executive secretary Sylvester Matemu said water quality is one of the major challenges that societies face today since it has an impact on human health, food production, ecosystem functions, and economic growth.
“Water quality deterioration translates directly into environment, social and economic problems,” Mr Matemu said
He said the purpose of this study tour is to increase awareness, knowledge and capacity in transboundary water quality management, pollution control, and conservation activities at both national and regional levels.
“A significant number of Basin citizens depend on the services provided by rivers, lakes, wetlands and water-related ecosystems. However, environmental pollution is negatively impacting millions of livelihoods and economic growth in the basin,” he said
Mr Mutemu said the NCCR project supports the Nile riparian countries to cooperatively address the ever-increasing water quality and pollution control challenges in the basin.
The Nile Basin ecosystems sustains the well-being of its 272 million inhabitants.
He expressed his appreciation to ZAMCOM, the ministers’ in-charge of Water Affairs, the government of Zimbabwe as well as the World Bank for supporting and enabling the study tour to come to fruition.
“We look forward to continued engagements with ZAMCOM for the mutual benefit of our respective Basin citizens.
The study tour is organised under a World Bank Nile Cooperation for Climate Resilience (NCCR) project being implemented by NBI in partnership with Nile Basin Discourse (NBD) and the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC).
The NBI is an intergovernmental organisation of the 10 Nile basin riparian countries with a shared vision objective to promote sustainable socio-economic development through the equitable utilisation of and the benefit from the common Nile Basin water resources.
The NCCR project is divided into five thematic areas, namely) platform for cooperation, flood and drought risk mitigation, dam safety capacity building, innovative information services for climate resilience investment planning and water quality investment planning and prioritisation.