Okavango project is behind schedule

Okavango project is behind schedule

NAMIBIA, Angola and Botswana are concerned that they are behind with the implementation of their trans-boundary project aimed at the sustainable use of water of the Okavango River and its environment, a senior official in the Minister of Agriculture and Water said yesterday.

But Kahijoro Kahuure, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, dismissed a recent report by a local news agency that the activities of the Environmental Protection and Sustainable Management of Okavango River Basin were stagnating because of disagreements between representative of the three countries that form the Okavango River Basin Commission (Okacom). Okacom was established by Namibia, Botswana and Angola in 1994 to advise the three governments on the management and development of the Okavango River Basin.This week Nampa quoted unnamed officials in the Ministry of Agriculture as saying an Okacom meeting organised by Kahuure that was supposed to take place on Monday did not materialise because of disagreements within the regional establishment, mainly surrounding the appointment of a project manager.Kahuure said Okacom and other stakeholders were only concerned that it was behind with the implementation of some aspects of the project but denied that there were disagreements.He said they had not met since December.According to him, the reason why the meeting did not took place was because the Angolan and Botswanan representatives had been attending the just-ended World Water Forum in Mexico.”There is no disagreement at all.What is really happening is that we are all concerned that we are behind with the implementation of the project,” he said.The project will take five years and is funded by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) to the tune of US$5 million.Its Management Unit is in Luanda, Angola, and it is expected to come up with a management plan on using the water of the Okavango River in a sustainable manner Kahuure said when the first project manager, Hartmut Krugmann, did not renew his contract last year, Steve Crerar was asked to take over on a temporary basis but he did not take the post, as he had other responsibilities.The Okavango River provides people living on its banks with fish, water, reeds, thatch and timber, while it also has great potential as a source of hydro-electricity and water for the dry central and southern parts of Namibia and Botswana.Okacom was established by Namibia, Botswana and Angola in 1994 to advise the three governments on the management and development of the Okavango River Basin.This week Nampa quoted unnamed officials in the Ministry of Agriculture as saying an Okacom meeting organised by Kahuure that was supposed to take place on Monday did not materialise because of disagreements within the regional establishment, mainly surrounding the appointment of a project manager. Kahuure said Okacom and other stakeholders were only concerned that it was behind with the implementation of some aspects of the project but denied that there were disagreements.He said they had not met since December.According to him, the reason why the meeting did not took place was because the Angolan and Botswanan representatives had been attending the just-ended World Water Forum in Mexico.”There is no disagreement at all.What is really happening is that we are all concerned that we are behind with the implementation of the project,” he said.The project will take five years and is funded by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) to the tune of US$5 million.Its Management Unit is in Luanda, Angola, and it is expected to come up with a management plan on using the water of the Okavango River in a sustainable manner Kahuure said when the first project manager, Hartmut Krugmann, did not renew his contract last year, Steve Crerar was asked to take over on a temporary basis but he did not take the post, as he had other responsibilities.The Okavango River provides people living on its banks with fish, water, reeds, thatch and timber, while it also has great potential as a source of hydro-electricity and water for the dry central and southern parts of Namibia and Botswana.

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