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Transboundary Water Management: Regional Agreements  

The Revised Protocol on Shared Watercourses in the Southern African Development Community (Revised Protocol) is an example of a regional agreement. It was originally developed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 1995 as part of the implementation process of the SADC Treaty. The original Protocol on Shared Watercourses (Original Protocol) was revised to recognise the UN Watercourses Convention (ORASECOM 2007c). The Revised Protocol was signed in 2000 and came into force in 2003.

The Revised Protocol promotes the establishment of shared watercourse agreements and institutions, and enshrines the principles of reasonable use and environmentally sound development of the resource. It supports Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) and the Regional Strategic Action Plan for Integrated Water Resources Development and Management (RSAP–IWRM).

The Revised Protocol supports strengthening the principles of integrated management of shared basins with specific provisions for:

  • Equitable Utilisation
  • Notification of Planned Measures
  • No Significant Harm
  • Emergency Situations

The Agreement on the Establishment of the Limpopo Watercourse Commission (LIMPOPO Agreement) recognises the “spirit, value and objectives of the Revised Protocol on Shared Watercourses in the Southern African Development Community”. As of 2003, eight SADC countries had ratified the Revised Protocol on Shared Watercourses in the Southern African Development Community: Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Malawi and Swaziland. The revised protocol will come into effect once two-thirds (that is, 10) of the SADC countries have ratified the protocol (SADC 2003a).

Massingir Dam, Mozambique.
Source: Vogel 2010
( click to enlarge )

 



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