Cooperation in transboundary water resource management is often confined to a single topic, such as electricity generation, fisheries or water supply. Addressing broader, especially transboundary, environmental challenges, such as pollution, soil erosion, and deforestation that threaten ecosystems, watersheds and ultimately is often a secondary consideration. The Orange-Senqu River Basin is home to 19 million people who depend on the river system for their industrial production, agriculture and economic growth (GEF 2013).

Since 2012, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is working to conserve the quantity and improve the quality of water needed to meet the short and long-term needs of the Orange-Senqu basin ecosystem and its associated communities and economies. With $2 million to support the project through 2015, IUCN is strengthening water governance by mainstreaming what is known as the Ecosystem Approach into integrated management of land, water and living resources to promote conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way. Pilot projects in each of the four Basin countries will demonstrate the benefits of this approach into regionally integrated water resource management strategies.

  1. To improve Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) planning and implementation by integrating knowledge, awareness and guidance of and on the Ecosystem Approach (EA) in the Orange-Senqu river basin;
  2. To demonstrate enhanced social and ecological resilience in hotspots in the Orange-Senqu River Basin by integrating the Ecosystem Approach into transboundary water management;
  3. To enhance the ability of a cross-section of project stakeholders (governments and communities) to effectively engage in multi-stakeholder negotiations and dialogue towards mainstreaming the ecosystem approach for integrated water resource management.
  • Local NGO partners have been identified in each Orange-Senqu Basin state (Lesotho, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana).
  • IUCN is developing a “Best Practice” manual for mainstreaming the Ecosystem Approach into water resources management strategies.
  • IUCN has begun working with each of the NGO partners to increase their capacity to effectively deliver services.
  • IUCN has presented the project at regional fora to include stakeholders in the project’s development process.