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Okavango Basin Seminar
Convened by the Okavango River Basin Water Commission, the Okavango Delta Management Plan Project, the IUCN-World Conservation Union and the Every River has its People Project.

Wednesday 23 August 2006 from 13:30 - 17:00 PM

is an afternoon seminar where everyone is invited to join a discussion of high-level policy makers from Angola, Botswana and Namibia on the fate of the River they share.

The Okavango River has given birth to a collaborative and dynamic form of governance amongst the three countries. Like 263 other rivers worldwide, the Okavango flows across borders of sovereign states. Each state needs the Okavango’s water resources. Each has comparative advantages in capacity, resources, knowledge, or geography. None can unilaterally develop water – for power, agriculture, or domestic use – without affecting upstream or downstream neighbours.

So how did three nations speaking many different languages, with widely disparate backgrounds and a limited collaborative history, learn to work together?

The Okavango countries are starting with distinct, specific and quantifiable projects that generate more light than heat, and more trust than tension paving the way in experience and information for basin-wide joint management. Currently the Okavango River Basin Water Commission is directing a project on information sharing to capitalize on the comparative advantages of the three countries; a community based project is enabling communities to have a say in management, and the Government of Botswana through the Okavango Delta Management Plan Project is able to share its experience of managing the world’s biggest Ramsar site with upstream countries.

What other such initiatives could further understanding, transfer benefits and promote better management?

Could the expertise of a downstream country flow upstream and vice versa? How will it work? What’s missing? What tangible or political benefits can we expect?

Session I
will introduce the Okavango River Basin Water Commission and the Basin by OKACOM Commissioners and Ministers from Botswana, Namibia and Angola.

Session II will present and discuss collaborative initiatives in the Okavango River Basin (OKACOM projects, Okavango Delta Management Plan, Every River has its People).

Session III
will discuss the way forward in terms of collaborative projects, lessons for future regional collaboration and the role of communication and coordination in promoting basin-wide cooperation.

Speakers (in order of appearence):
Mr. Armindo M. Gomes da Silva - OKACOM Commissioner
Hon. Minister of Energy and Water, Angola, Mr. Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos
Hon. Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Botswana, Mr. Charles Tibone
Hon. Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Namibia, Dr. Nickey Iyambo
Mr. Gabaake Gabaake - OKACOM Commissioner (Botswana) Mr. Piet Heyns - OKACOM Commissioner (Namibia) Mr. Isidro Pinheiro - OKACOM Commissioner (Angola)
Ms. Portia Segomelo - ODMP Project Coordinator (Botswana)
Mr. Montshiwa Montshiwa - ERP Project Manager (Okavango River basin)
Ambassador Ndeutapo Amagulu - OKACOM Commissioner (Namibia)

Ms. Tabeth Matiza-Chiuta (IUCN -The World Conservation Union)
Panel members (some of the speakers will also sit in the panel):
Mr. John Scanlon (Commissioner-Murray-Darling River Basin Commission)
Mr. Luis De Almeida (Secretariat-Southern African Development Community)
Dr. Peter Bridgewater (Secretary General - Ramsar Convention)
Ms. Masego Madzwamuse (IUCN - The World Conservation Union)

Mr. Anton Earle, Director of the African Centre for Water Research

World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden
Information on this Seminar: OKACOM Interim Secretariat - okacom_iss@irbm.co.bw
Okavango Delta Management Plan Project Secretariat - psegomelo@gov.bw
IUCN - The World Conservation Union - ase.johannessen@iucn.org
Information about the World Water Week: www.worldwaterweek.org
A full description of the seminar is found here.
The Seminar flyer
The Seminar invitation

Botswana Development and Environment Forum being launched in October
Find more information about the Forum here.

IUCN President is visiting Botswana in October 2006

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