Ambitious project for the development of a Strategic Environmental Assessment for internationally important watershed is set in motion in southern Africa
The Cubango-Okavango River Basin is one of the few remaining watersheds that is relatively underdeveloped in the world, and it covers an area of approximately 700,000 km2, bridging Angola, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. The river basin is of international importance as it is home to incredible biodiversity and high biological productivity, and its delta, one of the largest Ramsar Sites in the world, was declared a World Heritage Site under the UNESCO Convention in 2014.
NEMUS had the privilege of winning the international competition for this transboundary project of such scale and importance, financed by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM) has requested that a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is carried out for the Cubango-Okavango River Basin, focusing on existing plans, programs, and intensions relevant to the river basin, to create an Environmental Action Program for the watershed.
To achieve this grand goal, three important objectives were outlined: (1) the development of a SEA and the elaboration of transboundary environmental guidelines, (2) the development of a monitoring framework for the Cubango-Okavango River Basin, and (3) the forecasting of the water needs for the watershed for the next 10 years.
NEMUS will rely on the support of the local communities, through public consultations and stakeholder engagement, and will deliver its results in the form of workshops, public sessions and a website specifically developed for this effect.
In fact, just recently NEMUS conducted three online workshops to representatives and relevant stakeholders from Angola, Botswana and Namibia (the most recent one was conducted on September 7th for Namibia). The National Workshops aimed to present and discuss the draft Scoping Report, namely, to present the methodology, baseline, strategic reference framework, and to obtain contributions from stakeholders involved in the basin management, towards the preparation and submission of the Draft SEA Report.