Uniting for Water: Ministers Collaborate on the Orange-Senqu River Basin

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Water Ministers from Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, and South Africa came together on July 6th, at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria for the Orange-Senqu River Commission (ORASECOM) Forum of Parties. The gathering aimed to foster better transboundary relations and to review progress made since the commission’s establishment in 2000.

A Shared Resource

The Orange-Senqu River Basin is a vital shared resource that spans four Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. It is an essential lifeline for millions of people who rely on its water for agriculture, industry, and domestic use. The commission’s formation embodies the spirit of regional cooperation, transforming the management of this crucial resource.

Strengthening Regional Cooperation

South Africa’s Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, hosted the meeting as the Chairperson. He welcomed distinguished guests, including Botswana’s Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Kefentse Mzwinila; Lesotho’s Minister of Natural Resources, Mohlomi Moleko; and Namibia’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Anna Shiweda.

ORASECOM was founded in 2000, soon after the signing of the Revised SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses. The Permanent Secretariat was established in 2007, further cementing the commission’s importance in the region. Since then, the annual meeting has rotated among the four member states, providing a platform for discussion on matters related to the development, use, and conservation of water resources within the basin.

Pivotal Role in Joint Management

Since its inception, ORASECOM has played a pivotal role in providing a framework for the joint management of the Orange-Senqu River Basin. Through dialogue, shared expertise, and collaborative projects, the commission has orchestrated vital initiatives aimed at preserving water quality, managing resources, and promoting sustainable development.

Charting a Course for Future Collaboration

The forum provides an essential opportunity for member states to reflect on the progress made thus far and chart a course for future collaboration. As regional challenges evolve, the importance of a unified approach to managing the basin’s water resources cannot be overstated.

Exemplifying the Power of Regional Cooperation

The four ministers’ commitment to working collectively exemplifies the power of regional cooperation. The Orange-Senqu River Basin has overcome historical divisions and environmental challenges, forging stronger ties between the SADC countries. Through the ORASECOM Forum of Parties, the region’s leaders continue to build on the foundation of shared responsibility and mutual benefit, showcasing the enduring strength of cooperation in the face of adversity.

A Testament to Transboundary Collaboration

The success of the Orange-Senqu River Commission serves as a testament to the potential of transboundary collaboration, paving the way for a brighter, more sustainable future for the entire SADC region. The media was invited to attend the opening address and subsequent media briefing, underlining the significance placed on transparency and accountability.

A Russian-Spanish journalist and Cape Town native, channels his lifelong passion for South Africa into captivating stories for his local blog. With a diverse background and 50 years of rich experiences, Serjio's unique voice resonates with readers seeking to explore Cape Town's vibrant culture. His love for the city shines through in every piece, making Serjio the go-to source for the latest in South African adventures.

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