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Strategic Action Programme for the Orange-Senqu River Basin
Overview and Purpose
The Orange-Senqu Strategic Action Programme (SAP) is a negotiated document that provides a basin-wide framework for the implementation of a prioritised set of national and joint transboundary actions and investments for addressing jointly agreed priority environmental concerns in the Orange-Senqu river basin. The SAP is endorsed at political (Ministerial) level and together with the related National Action Plans (NAPs) of the four basin states provides a basis for the implementation of SAP priority actions at national and basin level and the integration of transboundary and basin concerns into national legislative, policy and budget decision making processes.
In the context of the Orange-Senqu River, the SAP (and NAPs) is closely linked to the basin-wide Orange-Senqu IWRM plan. The NAPs and SAP, like the IWRM plan, are developed for a 10-year planning horizon with targets set for that period. Thus, while the IWRM plan is a comprehensive plan dealing with a wide aspect of water resources management (including water allocation) and economic development aspects pertinent to the basin, the SAP and related NAPs primarily concentrate on priority environmental issues and conjunctively form the environmental core component of the IWRM plan.
The SAP and the NAPs have been developed through a consultative process with a wide range of stakeholders from government departments, academic and scientific institutions, civil society, the private sector and community representatives. A series of national consultation workshops was held in each country, complemented by basin-wide consultation meetings.
The SAP is designed for voluntary adherence by the Orange-Senqu basin states. Such voluntary adherence will further promote cooperative and coherent action for the sustainable development of the basin in support of economic growth, poverty alleviation and social upliftment of the basin population while at the same time safeguarding the environment of the Orange-Senqu basin and advancing the sustainable and equitable use of its water resources.
In essence, the central aim of the SAP is to ensure that the basin’s environmental functions and services are maintained at levels that are adequate to sustain livelihoods and economic development in the light of predicted future population increase, economic growth and rising living standards.
Scientific basis for the SAP and the NAPs
The Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) of the Orange-Senqu River basin provides a scientific and technical basis for the identification and prioritisation of key issues concerning the degradation of aquatic ecosystems. The TDA provides an overview of the basin, covering its geographical characteristics, specifically focusing on its surface and subsurface water resources. The document also discusses the terrestrial environment and activities directly and indirectly affecting the quality and health of the basin’s riparian and wetland environments. In addition, it includes a summary of the policy, legal and institutional arrangements within the basin.
Read more about the TDA here.
Structure and content of the SAP
The overarching objective of the SAP has jointly been defined as:
‘Orange-Senqu basin states collectively reduce water pollution, control catchment degradation and mitigate the effects of environmental degradation through basin-wide monitoring, coordinated management and planning, and joint action on the ground.’
Following a brief summary of the basin characteristics and description of basin governance frameworks, the SAP summarises the identified priority environmental concerns and how they materialise in the basin. This is followed by the action programme, the central element of the SAP. The action programme is structured around the four key priority areas of concern. In view of the priority problem areas identified by the TDA, the countries collectively have, through the SAP/ NAP consultation process, identified basin-wide objectives and targets for addressing the priority problems over a 10 year time horizon. These basin-wide targets are complemented by agreed NAP objectives and targets, which address the problem at the national level. In other words, while problems that can be addressed at national level through national action are addressed through the NAPs, SAP objectives and targets cannot be achieved through national action alone and instead require coordinated action within and by several, or more often all, basin states.
In view of each target, interventions were then identified at SAP and NAP level that are required to meet the targets. In line with national policies, strategies and plans as well as the countries’ international commitments, for example under the Ramsar Convention, project concept were developed that package the proposed interventions into structured, implementable projects. These project concept notes form the back-bone of SAP and the respective NAPs. The five priority basin-wide projects in the SAP are:
- ORASECOM information and knowledge management
- Groundwater management and use
- Basin-wide environmental flows regime
- Orange-Senqu River mouth management
- Control of alien invasive species.
Collectively, the SAP and the four NAPs comprise an inter-related programme of 25 packaged projects (five in the SAP and five in each NAP) addressing the main environmental challenges in the basin across the four priority environmental concerns.
SAP implementation and financing of activities
In line with the project approach to the SAP, implementation is not through a central implementation agency responsible for the entire programme. Instead, implementation is project specific and the implementation mechanism dependent on the requirements of the lead implementing agent for the respective project. A proposed implementation mechanism at project level is described in each project concept note.
Overall coordination and monitoring of the SAP is through the ORASECOM Secretariat (where relevant, in conjunction with national government structures) using their established coordination and monitoring structures and systems. In this context close coordination between ORASECOM Secretariat and responsible national organisations is sought in order to ensure coordination and monitoring between the implementation of SAP and NAP activities in the four basin states.
Funding is sought for each project, either individually or for a combination of projects where a financier is willing to fund more than one project. Potential funding sources are primarily national governments, International Cooperation Partners (ICPs) and, to some degree, the private sector.
Due to its nature of a basin-wide programme with joint and high-level political commitment from all basin states, the SAP significantly increases the potential for attracting funding for the implementation of the proposed activities. Following Ministerial endorsement of the SAP funding from the GEF for a follow-up SAP implementation project is highly likely in line with the GEF’s long-term support approach. Furthermore, some preliminary discussions with other International Cooperation Partners have already occurred and interest has been expressed in funding certain components of the SAP. Importantly, given the extensive consultation process through which the SAP and NAPs have been developed and their close alignment with national policies and strategic planning priorities, the SAP and NAPs also provide valuable guidance for targeted budget decision-making and spending at national level
- Botswana Action Plan for the Orange-Senqu RIver Basin ( Botswana NAP)
- Lesotho Action Plan for the Orange-Senqu River Basin (Lesotho NAP)
- Namibia Action Plan for the Orange-Senqu River Basin ( Namibia NAP)
- South Africa Action Plan for the Orange-Senqu River Basin (South Africa NAP)
- Brown, C. 2013. Basin-wide Environmental Flow Regime in the Orange-Senqu River Basin. Technical Report Number 45.
- Du Plessis, M. 2013. Development of Basin-Wide Water Resources Quality Guidelines and Monitoring System. Technical Report Number 44.
- <a ” href=”https://wis.orasecom.org/content/study/UNDP-GEF/general/Documents/Techincal%20Reports/TR07_PublicParticipation+Communications_25May11_JCP+mor.pdf” target=”_blank”>Pontius, J, et al. 2011. Public participation and communications plan. [Later modified into TOR for NAPs-SAP facilitating consultant] Technical Report Number 7
- Robins, N, et al. 2013. Key Issues Related to Groundwater Management in the Orange-Senqu River Basin. Technical Report 50.
- Schachtschneider, K, et al. 2013. Control of Alien Invasive Plants in the Orange-Senqu River Basin Technical Report Number 46.
- Van Niekerk, L, et al. 2013. Priority Interventions of the Management of the Orange-Senqu River Mouth. Technical Report Number 47.