Joshua Kyalimpa Interviews JOAO SAMUEL CAHOLO, Deputy Executive Secretary, Southern African Development Community (SADC)
DURBAN, Dec — The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has devised a plan to mainstream water resources management. On the sidelines of the U.N. climate change conference taking place in Durban, there have been efforts to establish water as an agenda item in its own right in climate change negotiations.
Water experts say this will lead to greater focus on developing policy, and attract more resources into the water sector through adaptation programmes.
Q: SADC has been part of efforts to get water into the United Nations on the agenda of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – thus far without success.
A: Questions of climate change are matters of global responsibility, so we shall continue with the issue. There is the Rio+20 conference next year, there is also COP 18 next year: we should continue to discuss within our constituencies and plan for how the issues of water can be brought to the larger agenda of climate change.
Q: What is SADC’s next step?
A: We already have political consensus, enshrined in the SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses, so the political commitment in SADC is already there. The next step is for us to establish real institutions to address the issues at the national level and also develop transboundary water resources.
Q: But how are you going to achieve this when water is not mainstreamed? Where will you get the financial resources to have develop water resources?
A: For us, money is not actually the issue. It’s a question of a commitment to implement what we have agreed upon, because money can be found in different ways. It can come from various international sources, but also it can come from our own treasuries and SADC has best practices in this regard.
Q: What are you doing to raise the general awareness of water issues in the region?
A: As SADC, we have the protocol which recognises the need for transboundary water resources to be managed jointly. That program is being implemented. I don’t want to say that SADC is singling out just one issue with water, but we are confident it will be accorded due attention in future negotiations.