The Orange-Senqu River Basin is the third largest in Southern Africa, covering an estimated area of 1 million km2 and home to one of Africa’s most critical wetland ecosystems, the Orange-Senqu River Mouth. Increasing demand for, and unsustainable use of, the OSRM water resources have resulted in substantial changes in the function and quality of the natural ecosystem. The Orange-Senqu River Commission (ORASECOM) is executing the Basin’s Strategic Action Programme (SAP), which seeks to support the Governments of South Africa and Namibia to ensure the rehabilitation and sustainable management of the Orange-Senqu River Mouth.
This work forms part of a larger project whereby ORASECOM, with support from UNDP, managed to secure further financial support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to implement selected priority activities of the SAP. The UNDP-GEF project titled, ‘Support to the Orange-Senqu River Strategic Action Programme Implementation’, will be implemented by UNDP and executed by ORASECOM in the next 5 years to support ORASECOM and its member states to implement the SAP.
Under this project, OneWorld aimed to contribute directly to ORASECOM’s vision of a ‘healthy trans-boundary Ramsar site providing opportunities for all’ and improve the condition of the Orange-Senqu River Basin. In collaboration with a multi-disciplinary team mobilised by ORASECOM, OneWorld undertook a baseline study on a framework for implementing the demonstration project in South Africa and Namibia.
Specifically, OneWorld adopted an integrated and participatory approach on the complementary principles of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and the Ecosystems Approach to undertake the relevant baseline assessment, including a situational analysis and prioritisation of management interventions through participatory analysis. Stakeholder workshops and interviews were conducted remotely given the travel restrictions of COVID-19, while fieldwork activities were implemented in parallel on either side of the border.