Schlettwein motivates ratification of ORASECOM Agreement

Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Calle Schlettwein earlier this week motivated the ratification of the revised 2018 Orange-Senqu River Basin Commission (ORASECOM) Agreement during a Parliament session.
ORASECOM was established by an agreement signed on 03 November 2000 in Windhoek between the four riparian states, namely Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa and Namibia and it served as the legal instrument governing the joint utilisation of water resources in the basin, as well as the sustainable management of the basin as a whole.
The agreement was revised in order to align it with the current framework on shared water management in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the globe.
Schlettwein explained that the revision of the agreement was necessitated by the need to negotiate reasonable and equitable access of Namibia to the waters of the perennial rivers on the country’s borders and to align the agreements with the framework provided by the revised SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses, the SADC Water Policy and the SADC Water Strategy.
It was also necessary to consolidate the existing international cooperation on shared river systems.
“The implementation of the projects and programmes within the framework of the old ORASECOM Agreement revealed that the agreement was outdated and did not provide for some key policy and institutional issues. This state of affairs led to the review of the agreement,” Schlettwein said.
According to the minister, some of the pertinent provisions of the revised agreement that were not included in the 2000 agreement include the secretariat, whose role is programme coordination and management.
In addition, Schlettwein noted that Namibia is a downstream country on all of the shared rivers and said ratification of the revised ORASECOM Agreement will elevate the roles and functions of ORASECOM and its member states towards joint management of shared Orange-Senqu River waters and Namibia’s position, especially when negotiated for the country’s reasonable and equitable share.
Source: Namibia Press Agency