Credit: Flowcomm

Cooperation in International Waters in Africa: Annual Report FY2018

Results by Project or Basin – Okavango


Effective regional and national institutions enable riparian states to manage shared risks and harness net benefits of cooperation.

OUTCOME AREA 2. Financially and institutionally sustainable regional organizations provide effective water management services to countries.

Institutional Development: During the Cubango-Okavango Multi-Sectoral Investment Opportunity Analysis (MSIOA) process, member states and partners held substantive discussions around strengthening the Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM) to deliver on the vision for the basin. The commission defined an ambitious Sustainable and Equitable Climate Resilient Investment Program to address underlying drivers of poverty to safeguard the unique public goods within the basin. This represents the next phase in the institutional evolution of OKACOM, following its initial foundational phase (advancing dialogue, improving communication, aligning strategies), as it assumes a more active role by helping the member states advance investments in the basin. Following the bank-executed MSIOA, the project is now moving towards the next phase of recipient-executed projects, marking substantial growth in OKACOM’s institutional capacity.


Regionally beneficial investments generate socioeconomic benefits and gender-inclusive poverty reduction.

OUTCOME AREA 2. Coordinated investment planning and inclusive stakeholder engagement ensures equitable benefit sharing and effective risk management.

Resilience Planning: The Niger Basin Climate Resilience Investment Plan (CRIP) highlights investment needs related to climate change adaptation in the basin to gather support for project financing. Taking a basin-wide approach to climate resilience planning is considered best practice in the field, but the approach is not easily or widely implemented. CIWA supported the countries and the NBA as they developed, vetted, and presented the Niger Basin CRIP at COP 21 in Paris to raise the profile of their climate adaptation needs. The CRIP consists of carefully selected resilience-building investments from key existing regional and national planning documents. It totals 246 investments, amounting to an estimated US$3.1 billion in funds to be raised. The investments are a sub-selection of the Niger Basin Master Plan, developed in 2008. Each investment included in the plan was examined and vetted by member states through a comprehensive consultative process with multisectoral participation, strategically coupled with exercises to build local capacity.

Investment Scenarios: The Cubango-Okavango MSIOA, completed in FY17, included stakeholder consultations and national engagements to identify implementable, prioritized, and cooperative actions to address underlying issues of poverty in the basin while preserving the unique ecological status of the basin and its delta. The MSIOA considered various investment scenarios, which include economic development projects that would not only benefit people in the basin, the Member States, and the broader SADC region but also help preserve the environmental integrity of the delta. Through an iterative, facilitated process, the MSIOA identified a series of potential investment programs to advance sustainable development within the basin. The scenario analysis compared the costs and benefits of cooperative and/or joint investments with unilateral development, highlighting ways to achieve cooperative benefits to exceed the benefits of independent development approaches within and beyond the Cubango-Okavango River Basin. The study also accounted for different climate change scenarios, for example, by examining the impact of projected drought and drying trends on proposed options. The findings were presented to the three Member States through a series of national stakeholder workshops including high level events in Angola, Namibia, and Botswana.

Investment Planning: Three regionally relevant, joint investments have been identified that balance the economic, social justice, environmental, and climate resilience priorities as reflected in the vision for the basin. These joint actions inform the Sustainable and Equitable Climate Resilient Investment Program and are structured around three target areas: (1) Climate-Resilient Livelihoods Enhancement Program, focused on addressing the underlying drivers of poverty in the basin; (2) Enabling Basin-Wide Ecotourism in the Cubango-Okavango River Basin Program, focused on extending the benefits of tourism throughout the basin; and (3) Cooperative Infrastructure Development Program, focused on joint development of the Mucundi Dam to provide multiple benefits in the basin. Implementation of the joint actions in the three proposed programs is estimated to cost in excess of US$900 million and will enable a series of innovative institutional reforms to reaffirm the cooperative agenda and inform the establishment of a dedicated endowment fund.

Member countries made major progress in FY18 with approval of the establishment of a trust fund to facilitate the Climate-Resilient Livelihoods Enhancement Program. Together with DFID, USAID, UNDP, GEF, the EU and The Nature Conservancy, CIWA will continue programmatic support of the Livelihoods Enhancement Program while the fund is capitalized and achieves financial sustainability. While the establishment of the trust fund is a major achievement, new institutional arrangements will be needed to address regulatory oversight and benefit sharing to ensure long-term sustainability of the basin program as funds are mobilized and investments in the pipeline are advanced.

The Ecotourism project still requires private sector partners for its advancement. Progress for Mucundi Dam will be based on further work including prefeasibility studies, suitable financing mechanisms, and appropriate institutional frameworks for benefits sharing.

Stakeholder Engagement: A benefits assessment and collaborative stakeholder mapping helped better inform the MSIOA regarding options and opportunities to advance the basin investment programs. These were carried out through consultative mechanisms and in cooperation with a range of stakeholders within the basin and member states as well as development partners, including the DFID Climate Resilient Infrastructure Development Facility (CRIDF), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Southern Africa Regional Environmental Program (SAREP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), GEF, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the European Commission (EC), and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The team employed the Net Map tool, which helps stakeholders understand, visualize, discuss, and improve situations in which many different actors influence outcomes. The analysis of the numerous complex relationship pathways between various stakeholders helped inform political-economic considerations to clarify links and levels of influence of various actors and institutions, identify risks, and formulate strategies for effectively advancing implementation. A scenario analysis provided the tools for exploring methods to foster more altruistic behaviors and address negative externalities to achieve cooperative benefits. The analysis assessed the costs and benefits of cooperative and joint investments compared with unilateral development within and beyond the Cubango-Okavango River Basin.