Lesotho takes best practices on integrated catchment management to the World Water Forum

Lesotho’s programme ReNOKA (‘we are a river’) to restore water and land presented to a global audience

Lesotho’s government joined a high-level southern African delegation at the 9th World Water Forum (WWF) in Senegal in March, where they presented their national programme ReNOKA (‘we are a river’) and shared best practice in catchment rehabilitation and management.

Support was provided by the GIZ Transboundary Water Management in the SADC Region, through its EU-co-funded component Support to Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) in Lesotho and Global Water Partnership in South Africa (GWPSA).The forum served as a platform to share best practice in river catchment rehabilitation and management and was hosted for the first time in its 25-year history on African soil.

The Lesotho government attended together with high-level delegation from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the regional river basin organisations (RBOs): Limpopo Watercourse Commission (LIMCOM), Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM), Orange-Senqu River Commission (ORASECOM). The Zambezi Watercourse Commission (ZAMCOM).

The forum was an opportunity for Lesotho and ORASECOM to share its commitment to resilience of water resources, with equitable water governance for conservation of ecosystems.

The Lesotho government hosted a session on its national programme for integrated catchment management to safeguard its highland wetland ecosystem. Lesotho supplies about 40% of the annual run-off of the Orange-Senqu River which feeds large parts of South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, with a cross-border economy worth around US$ 116 billion.

Delegates from other river basins learned how ReNOKA focuses on integrated, science-based and inclusive river catchment planning and rehabilitation, leading many of them to request regional exchanges with Lesotho.

ReNOKA also spoke on a panel hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, about how peace and security is promoted by integration of transboundary water resources. The World Water Forum was also an opportunity for ReNOKA stakeholders to meet decision makers from across the world, including the leadership of the Water Division at the Federal Germany Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

One of the key events of the World Water Forum was the launch of the flagship Team Europe initiative on transboundary water management in Africa, with more than 400 million Euro for cross-border water projects in Africa. ‘We will team up with the African Union, the European Investment Bank and other partners to ensure those projects make a real difference on the ground. This is a success story. And it proves that cooperation works,’ said European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in her WWF opening ceremony speech.

ReNOKA (‘we are a river’) is a national programme and citizen movement for the restoration of land and water in Lesotho and the Orange-Senqu basin. Support for ReNOKA is provided through a partnership between the Government of Lesotho, the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The EU and BMZ contributions are implemented through a technical assistance project “Support to Integrated Catchment Management in Lesotho” by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Delegates from the Government of Lesotho with Gobal Water Partnership South Africa and GIZ at the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar