USD6 million project for Sustainable Development in the Limpopo River Basin launched

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In a landmark development, Ministers responsible for Water Affairs from the Republics of Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe gathered in Musina, South Africa on 14 March 2024 to officially launch the “Integrated Transboundary River Basin Management for the Sustainable Development of the Limpopo River Basin (LIMCOM-UNDP/GEF project).”

The Ministers pledged to ensure that the project, which aims to uplift the living standards of the basin’s population and conserve the basin’s resources and ecosystem services, is a success and signed a document committing themselves to the following interventions and actions to be undertaken through the project:

  • Strengthen transboundary cooperation and management of water resources and associated ecosystems for improved water security, climate change resilience and sustainable livelihoods.
  • Foster Cooperation for Sustainable Use of Transboundary Water Systems and Economic Growth.
  • Prepare and adopt the Limpopo Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) and a Strategic Action Plan (SAP) that will guide the development and management of the Limpopo basin.
  • Advance conjunctive management of surface and groundwater through effective institutional arrangements and policy measures.
  • Ensure flood and drought management in the Limpopo basin is improved, and related risks mitigated.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, South African Minister for Water and Sanitation, Mr. Senzo Mchunu pledged Member States’ commitment to working with all partners in implementing the project. “We are looking forward to executing the project so that those who came after us can inherit it and take it forward,” Hon. Minister Mchunu said.

Honourable Dr. Anxious Masuka, the Zimbabwean Minister for Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development said the project will benefit the people in the basin. “Our people are the centre of the development that we seek to improve in the Limpopo basin and, therefore, we look forward to making sure that people fully benefit from this important project,” Hon. Minister Dr. Masuka said.

Minister of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources for Mozambique, Dr Carlos Alberto Fortes Mesquita concurred and said, “The project will go a long way in promoting sustainable development in the basin.” A representative from Botswana, Mr. Nchidzi Mmolawa underscored the key role that continued unity among the four LIMCOM countries play in the success of the project. “Our population is highly dependent on the Limpopo for socio-economic activities. It is, therefore, important for us to collectively work together for the good of our communities,” Mr Mmolawa said.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWPSA), who are respectively the Implementing and Executing Agencies of the project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) also pledged full support to the project.

“The UNDP acknowledges and commends the collaborative efforts of all the national governments, LIMSEC, the GWPSA, technical tasks team and all partners involved in bringing the project to fruition,” said Ms. Deshni Pillay, the Nature, Climate and Energy Portfolio Manager at UNDP.

Mr. Alex Simalabwi, Executive Secretary for GWPSA-Africa said the Limpopo River Basin is pivotal to the development of southern Africa. However, various challenges including land degradation and water security were affecting the basin, hence the need for all stakeholders to work together.

“The UNDP-GEF project, which GWPSA is proud to have been requested by the Member States to execute, represents a collective effort by government institutions, communities, women and youth groups, private sector and other key stakeholders dedicated to the restoration of water, land, and the sustainable and long-term prosperity for all in the Limpopo River Basin,” Mr. Simalabwi said.

About the Project

The project “Integrated Transboundary River Basin Management for the Sustainable Development of the Limpopo River Basin” aims to achieve integrated, cross-sectoral, ecosystem-based management of the Limpopo River to uplift the living standards of the basin’s population and conserve the basin’s resources and ecosystem services. The project is being implemented in the Limpopo basin for four years from 2023-2027, through a USD 6 million grant from GEF.

The project intervention logic is structured around five main components:

  • Component 1: Capacity Building of LIMCOM and its Member States for joint planning and the basin-wide Strategic Action Programme (SAP) and IWRM implementation.
  • Component 2: Filling critical knowledge gaps to support joint planning and future development scenario analysis.
  • Component 3: Informed Strategic Planning and Decision Making to implement the basin-wide IWRM (Science-to-Governance).
  • Component 4: Participatory IWRM Sustainable Land Management (SLM) implementation pilots.
  • Component 5: Knowledge exchange with other River Basin Organizations and information sharing for replication and upscaling.

More information about the project is available HERE.