Management of natural resources
The SADC region is home to many of Africa's most valued species and wildlife sanctuaries and possesses a number of World Heritage Sites. The dependence of the region on natural resources (for water, biodiversity-tourism, agriculture, mines) is vulnerable to human and climatic factors. Recent droughts and floods and the prospect of accelerated global warming, reinforce the need for the SADC region to consider options for more sustainable management and sharing of the region's natural resources.
In particular the SADC region is experiencing growing difficulties with regard to the management and sharing of the increasingly scarce water reserves due to the demand for water from urbanisation, agriculture and the tourist industry. Possible conflicts over water sharing will be a major challenge for the next twenty years, in particular for the rural poor who will be affected in terms of the reduction of food production, and the privatisation processes of land, species and genetic resources. The most adversely affected countries in terms of water supplies are Angola, Mozambique, Lesotho, Malawi, Zambia and Swaziland. Empowering the rural poor to control their environmental assets and natural resource wealth is central to allowing for improved productivity on a sustainable basis.
Regional cooperation is already playing a significant role in the conservation of biological resources in Southern Africa. One of the boldest cross-border initiatives currently unfolding in Southern Africa is the development of Trans-frontier Parks and Trans-frontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs). The TFCAs seek to protect the biodiversity of the areas between countries through conservation, sustainable resource use and development planning, while expanding ecotourism and helping to alleviate poverty in the border regions. TFCAs can be part of the answer to poverty reduction provided that the communities are full partners in the management of their resources.
The Swiss programme
The objective of the programme is to support crossborder sustainable management of natural resources. This can be attained through:
- Cross-border River Basin Management
- Food Security (in particular through seed security, involving policy harmonisation, disaster preparedness and information dissemination)
- Trans-frontier Park System Management (conservation through tourism benefiting the local population)
The issue of regional water management makes this domain a "vehicle" for conflict prevention and disaster management across borders through an improved sharing of the scarce natural
SADC Water Resources Management
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has adopted the SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses, effective since 1998. The Protocol provides for the establishment of River Basin Organisations for sharing trans-boundary water resources and the harmonisation of legislation and policies. It also facilitates sharing national and local experience and best practice around Integrated Water Resources Management.
The project comprises of three main components:
- Technical assistance and capacity building
- Umbeluzi River Basin (Swaziland/Mozambique)
- Rovuma River Basin (Mozambique/Tanzania)
SDC contributes to the efforts of SADC by supporting the implementation of the water protocol. The project establishes a direct partnership between SDC and the SADC Water Division, which forms part of the restructured SADC Secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana.
Three Nations Namib Desert Transfrontier Conservation T
he Three Nations Namib Desert Transfrontier Conservation (TFCA), is a project undertaken by Conservation International (CI) along the west coast of southern Africa, shared between Angola, Namibia and South Africa. In this project, CI seeks to productively involve rural communities in conservation and natural resource utilisation and local economic development. The concept of TFCAs is seen as having a great potential to alleviate poverty and enable communities to manage their natural resources.
The objective of CI is to:
- facilitate the establishment of the Three Nations Namib Desert TFCA;
- provide capacity building, technical assistance and strengthening of community structures in the Richtersveld and Greater Gariep TFCA ;
- conduct research on the impacts of TFCAs on local and regional economies, disseminate and share findings with interested parties.