WetsNext on transboundary cooperation South Africa and Lesotho

WetsNext on transboundary cooperation South Africa and Lesotho

Cape Town June 2018, Directly after the Finals of Wetskills-South Africa 2018, with the presence of Minister Gugile Nkwinti of Water and Sanitation of South Africa and Special Water Envoy Henk Ovink of the Dutch government, some discussions took place to implement some of the ideas. The case owner from Department of Water Affairs Lesotho and his team of the case about the Wetlands Awareness Programme (WAP)  took the opportunity to go to Henk Ovink and discussed the implementation of the case. Aim is creating a win-win situation for both South Africa and Lesotho. At the discussions in the Joint Steering Committee between South Africa and The Netherlands, it was stated that the Young Water Professionals’ involvement is crucial. So based on the outcomes of the team and the created network amongst participants (from both the South African and Lesotho water departments) the discussions resulted in a list of ideas.

Meeting @WISA for follow-up

On Wednesday at of the WISA 2018 Conference a group came together to come up with some concrete activities to get a better cooperation on water between upstream Lesotho and downstream South Africa with the involvement of Young Water Professionals (YWP) from both sides. Also the South African chapter of the YWP programme of the International Water Association (IWA) was presented. The meeting concludes with the following activities to make the case and better cooperation happen.

Concrete activities

As result of the meeting we strive to bring ministers on water of South Africa and Lesotho together on 2 February 2019 – International Wetlands Day in Lesotho:

  1. showcasing the erosion blankets as result of the WAP project (as WetsNext project): the area for placement will be Likhetla Sub-catchment in Mafeteng Lesotho. This is a transboundary catchment. The blankets need to be placed ultimately October 2018 (in order to show results in February 2019). The erosion blankets are being produced by women in local communities downstream
  2. finals and awarding of Wetskills-Lesotho 2019 on 2 February 2019. Case studies will involve the WAP results and demonstration site. Participants from Lesotho, South Africa and other sub-Saharan or EU countries.
  3. formal establishing of the YWP Lesotho programme. This is the basis of connecting young water professionals of both Lesotho and South Africa (also with Young Water Professional Program connected to WISA and IWA): networking, organizing (career) events, linking senior to juniors.
  4. organizing a master class training on experiences of Inkomati-Usuthu CMA in Inkomati basin regarding transboundary cooperation between Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa (with World Water Academy, Kingfisher).

This is a great kick-start of improving transboundary cooperation on water with brining-in the Young Professionals. the Celebration of International Wetlands Days on 2 February 2019 is the first step to create a long term process of:

  • enabling and stimulating transboundary cooperation of South Africa and Lesotho
  • bringing South African and Lesotho Young Professionals together for knowledge exchange
  • training of (young) water professionals in both countries Lesotho and South Africa
  • finding sustainable funding opportunities to solve the transboundary challenges
  • creating awareness of catchment interdependencies, climate smart agriculture and community involvement.

Thanks for the Team and the initiators! Extra thanks to Hein van Stokkom for his support. If you are interested to step in and join this initiative? Please contact: Johan Oost (johan.oost@wetskills.com).

Johan Oost

Managing Director Wetskills Foundation