The Cubango-Okavango River is the fourth longest river in Southern Africa, at over 1600km. It rises in the highlands of Angola, flows east along the northern border of Namibia and then veers south-east into Botswana, where it spreads out, fan-shaped, into a broad delta. Here the waters feed a unique freshwater wetland, rich in biodiversity, and a World Heritage Site. Like much of Southern Africa, Botswana and Namibia are water-scarce, frequently experiencing drought. The basin is home to around 900,000 people.
The Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM)was established in 1994, with the signing of the Okavango River Basin Agreement, with its main objective being to advise the three riparian countries (Angola, Botswana and Namibia), on the means of conserving, developing and utilising the shared water resources.
Discussion Paper and Review (2017)
With climate effects becoming more noticeable, and to advance transboundary water cooperation in the basin, in 2017 OKACOM commissioned a review of the 1994 Agreement, and a discussion paper to present the findings.
The OneWorld team, led by Ms Petrie, was contracted to review the 1994 Permanent Okavango River Basin Agreement, and produce a Discussion Paper with its findings. The review analysed the relevance of the Agreement in guiding the scope of work and extending transboundary water cooperation in the CORB, given the changes in the management direction of the Basin in recent years.
The review analyses the consistency of the Agreement in guiding the scope of work and extending transboundary water cooperation in the Basin. It supports and informs local, national and regional decision making in the Basin, within a transboundary legal framework.
In 2018, OKACOM commissioned OneWorld to update the Paper, providing additional strategic recommendations in terms of the Agreement, towards further strengthening the Basin’s security and development prospects, and to reflect regional and international trends in river basin management and international water law.
OKACOM commissioned OneWorld, supported by UNDP Global Environmental Finance (GEF) Unit, to revise the 1994 OKACOM Agreement and other supporting / relevant documents to reflect regional and international trends in river basin management and international water law
OneWorld applied a strategic consultative and participatory approach in this work, beginning with a desktop review comprising a contextual assessment of the River Basin, an analysis of contemporary international water law issues and benchmarking against other River Basin Organisations.
This provided the evidence base to support stakeholder engagements, both in-person and remote interviews and focus group discussions. A legal and institutional analysis provides the rationale for key changes and revisions to be made to the Agreement. Key stakeholders and representatives of OKACOM’s various organs will revise and review the final changes and endorse the revised Agreement.