Watering Development in SADC: The link between water and development under a microscope

May 15, 2007
The Southern African Development Community (SADC), in partnership with the Global Water Partnership - Southern Africa, will convene stakeholders to share and exhibit how water management approaches can address key aspects of socio-economic development and poverty reduction in Southern Africa. The SADC Multistakeholder Dialogue will be held at Joachim Chissano International Conference Centre in Maputo, Mozambique from 16 to 17 May, 2007...

May 11, 2007 -- The Southern African Development Community (SADC), in partnership with the Global Water Partnership - Southern Africa, will convene stakeholders to share and exhibit how water management approaches can address key aspects of socio-economic development and poverty reduction in Southern Africa. The SADC Multistakeholder Dialogue will be held at Joachim Chissano International Conference Centre in Maputo, Mozambique from 16 to 17 May, 2007.

The Dialogue, which is supported by the Government of Denmark under the SADC/DANIDA Regional Water Sector Program, seeks to expose and raise the understanding of the development aspects of integrated water resources management (IWRM) among stakeholders including senior policy makers from water-using and water-influencing sectors as well as the media. It will also offer a platform for sharing IWRM experiences and best practices that address local, national and regional socio-economic development and poverty reduction.

The theme of this year's Dialogue is 'Watering development in SADC: Beyond IWRM concepts and the converted'. IWRM is the fundamental approach that has been adopted by SADC Member States noting that water is cross-cutting in nature - both across political boundaries and across sectors.

SADC recognizes water as the engine for economic growth and is providing a strategic framework for IWRM to ensure that water resources management is adequately contributing to poverty eradication, regional integration and socio-economic development in a sustainable manner.

In his foreword to the SADC Water Policy SADC Executive Secretary, Tomáz Augusto Salomão noted that the region - where 70 percent of the water resources is shared between two or more countries - is largely water deficient thus resulting in a mismatch between water availability and water demand.

Salomão points out that the living standard of the region's rural population is still very low with poverty still rife. "Water resources development through strategic infrastructure is therefore seen as a direct answer to the region's poverty reduction goals and improvement of living standards of our peoples," he says.

Delegates to the Dialogue include senior government officials, selected parliamentarians from the region, local community representatives, civil society, donors and the media. Among them are Mozambique's Minister of Public Works and Housing from Mozambique, Permanent Secretaries from SADC member States, and representatives from: a local community in South Africa, SADC Secretariat, NEPAD Secretariat, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), UNAIDS, academic and research institutions, the media and the donor community.

At the end of the Dialogue, SADC - in collaboration with The World Conservation Union (IUCN) - will take senior policy makers from water-using and water-influencing sectors to Umbeluzi river basin to demonstrate how IWRM relates to flood vulnerability and management.

For more information, visit:
SADC Water website
South African Development Community website

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