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Regional water ministers converge in SA

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Staff Reporter

South Africa’s Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, will today host ministers responsible for water from Lesotho, Botswana, and Namibia during the Orange-Senqu River Commission (ORASECOM) Forum of Parties.

The ORASECOM Forum of Parties meeting takes place annually on a rotational basis among the four-member states and aims to discuss ways in which to strengthen the already existing transboundary relations and reflect on some of the achievements attained since ORASECOM was established in 2000.

The SA’s Department of Water and Sanitation said in a statement that this year’s discussions may include recommendations on water availability; the equitable and reasonable use of water, development of the river systems; stakeholder participation; harmonisation of policies and a standard form of the collection; as well as processing and dissemination of data and information.

“The meeting will also see the Ministers discussing ways in which to establish innovative ways to enhance water sustainability in the river basin while working collaboratively to reinforce operations between the respective states,” the department said in a statement.

ORASECOM was established through an agreement amongst Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa. The Commission began its work soon after the signing of the Revised Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Shared Watercourses.

The Permanent Secretariat was established in 2007 and is based in Centurion, South Africa.

The decision to establish a permanent Secretariat was reached in July 2004 and South Africa signed an agreement to host the secretariat in August 2006.

The highest body of ORASECOM is the Council, which is supported by the Secretariat and a series of Task Teams that manage projects.

The Council serves as a technical advisor to the parties on matters related to the development, utilization, and conservation of the water resources of the basin. It consists of delegations from each of the four member states.

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