GEF-funded Water Project a Game Changer for Regional Growth

January 19, 2024

IncoMaputo Transboundary Water Project stakeholders

UNDP/Ayanda Nhlabatsi

Stakeholders convened to develop the Project Preparation Grant (PPG) for the IncoMaputo Transboundary Water Project, an initiative implemented jointly by the Ministries of Tourism and Environmental Affairs and Natural Resources and Energy. At a workshop held on 18 January 2024 at Emafini Country Lodge, the stakeholders got an opportunity to provide inputs to the proposed project and received clarification about their roles in the implementation process.

This five-year initiative promises to overhaul water resource management along the Incomati and Maputo River Basins across three countries – Eswatini, Mozambique and South Africa. 

As part of the project preparation process, national workshops are being organised for all three IncoMaputo Member States to discuss the proposed project in the context of the key challenges facing the country and seek guidance from the stakeholders for the selection and prioritisation of pilot demonstration projects. 

The workshop brought together a diverse range of stakeholders, including representatives from national institutions, implementing agencies, the private sector, academia, policymakers, and civil society. Their collective insights and expertise are essential in shaping the GEF PPG. 

Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and supported by UNDP, in partnership with the Global Water Partnership Southern Africa, the project aims to foster an integrated source-to-sea management approach, strengthening the linkages between terrestrial, coastal, and marine ecosystems across the three countries. 

The IncoMaputo Transboundary Water Project, with its focus on strengthening regional governance frameworks, facilitating knowledge-based management approaches, and creating sustainable livelihoods, represents a significant leap towards achieving environmental sustainability and socio-economic development in the region. 

UNDP's role in this project is multifaceted – from coordinating efforts across borders to aligning with Sustainable Development Goals. By strengthening local institutions and leveraging expert insights, UNDP is pivotal in transforming this vision into a tangible, impactful reality.

Addressing the participants, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Nessie Golakai, said Eswatini should be exceptionally proud because the country is not only participating in this initiative but also playing a leading role in its implementation, demonstrating the kingdom’s strategic role in the environment sector. 

“This initiative is not only vital for environmental security but also crucial in ensuring inclusive livelihoods for the communities residing along these river basins,” said Golakai.

Speaking at the same event, the Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Khangeziwe Mabuza, urged stakeholders to work extra hard to build on the momentum after achieving the project’s targets. 

“I also hope that even beyond meeting our target we could still be able to get more funds,” said Mabuza.

The Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy, Dorcas Dlamini, encouraged the stakeholders to select a pilot project that best suits Eswatini.