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The Southern Africa Regional Environment Program (SAREP) seeks to build on previous activities and relationships developed during the Integrated River Basin Management Project (IRBM) to strengthen regional and local capacity in addressing trans-boundary water resource management, build consensus on resource allocation that supports sustainable development and protects biodiversity, and improve access to water supply and sanitation services.
Water scarcity, population growth, and demands for domestic, agricultural, and industrial consumption are increasing stress on finite water resources in Southern Africa. USAID Southern Africa has and will continue to focus on improving the management of shared river basins within the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), most notably the Okavango River Basin. USAID is strengthening the Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM) to help it manage trans-boundary water resources and protect valuable biodiversity in a fair and sustainable manner that will benefit riparian communities. SAREP will build on past achievements and work within the framework of the SADC Water Vision and Regional Strategic Action Plan. SAREP is a planned investment of approximately $23 million over 5 years that will not only improve trans-boundary water management, promote ecosystem health, conserve valuable biodiversity but also address water supply and sanitation issues along with building the local, national, and regional capacity to help mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.
As population continues to grow there will be more and more pressure placed on freshwater ecosystems in a region where water scarcity is a growing reality.
The Okavango is a pristine river system which is surrounded by a critical amount of development; coordinated and strategic activities can minimize the negative human impact on the river through sustainable development.
Tourism within the Okavango Delta is a major industry that depends on the dynamic flow and excellent quality of water from the upper reaches of the basin; impacts on water flow or quality could have negative consequences for tourism and ultimately the livelihoods of basin residents.
Climate change experts are predicting that weather events in Sub-Saharan Africa will become more extreme over the next 50 years with dire consequences for local populations health, welfare, and development.
Southern Africa Regional Environmental Program (SAREP)
SAREP will improve the abilities of OKACOM member states to plan and manage their trans-boundary resources. The program will focus on strengthening institutional capacity in the areas of trans-boundary cooperation, sustainable water resource management and biodiversity conservation. In the Okavango River Basin improved water management will protect critical biodiversity within areas that are identified for conservation including the Okavango Delta, the world’s largest recognized “wetland of international importance.” The long term goal of SAREP will be the development and implementation of a master plan for the integrated conservation, development, and use of basin water resources that optimizes benefits to society and protects biodiversity. USAID provides assistance to develop a more scientific basis for decision-making, improve capacity to manage resources that transcend national boundaries, and enhance multi-national cooperation.
Partners working in this area: SAREP will continue to foster an approach that builds on existing relationships with SADC, OKACOM, international cooperating partners (ICPs) such as Germany, Sweden, and the UNDP and national NGOs such as the Kalahari Conservation Society in Botswana, Association of Environment Conservation and Rural Integral Development in Angola and the Namibian Nature Foundation, associated with the Okavango and other basins in the region.
The implementing partner for the SAREP program is Chemonics International. For more information, please contact the Chief of Party, Steve Johnson, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Improved trans-boundary water management through existing structures within the three member states (Angola, Botswana, and Namibia) that will improve access to sustainable and safe water.
Communities within the Okavango river basin will benefit from improved natural resource management that will directly impact their quality of life and conserve biodiversity.
Strengthening of regional and sub-regional organizations (such as SADC and OKACOM), national governments, and local communities to improve the adaptive capacity to address climate-related threats is necessary for sustainable development and disaster mitigation.
USAID CONTACT INFO
Regional Environmental Program Manager
Botswana Field Office
Tel: (+267) 373-2325
Mobile: (+267) 7478-2255