Okavango – Bwabwata wetland. Aerial photo by Paul van Schalkwyk
Today marks the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM).
OKACOM is a trans-boundary river basin organisation established in 1994 in Windhoek by the riparian states of Angola, Botswana and Namibia.
The OKACOM Agreement commits the member states to promoting coordinated and environmentally sustainable regional water resource development, while addressing the legitimate social and economic needs of each of the riparian states.
Joseph Iita, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry said on the occasion that over the past 20 years,the three riparian countries of the basin have been investigating various solutions to address its mandate both nationally and collectively. This has led to putting in place policies and mechanisms aimed at protecting the sensitive eco-systems, while also exploring options for uplifting the livelihood conditions of the basin population.
This includes the joint development of a trans-boundary diagnostic analysis (TDA) completed in 2011; the formulation of an OKACOM hydrological data sharing protocol and the adoption of a strategic action programme (SAP) and for the basin and the subsequent country specific national action plans (NAPs).