A Joint Management Committee of eleven institutions, part of the Namibia-UNESCO Water Sector Support Project this week singed a historic agreement that will see the implementation of the water project. The International Hydrological Programme through the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is in the works at governments request to conduct water research, resources management that includes education and capacity building efforts in the water sector. The application of the proposed sustainable solutions to the management of scarce water resources was made official this week as the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa, roped in the eleven team Joint Management Committee that will implement the Namibia-UNESCO Water Sector Support Project (WSSP). The Namibia-UNESCO Water Sector Support Project, that government will forge ahead with will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and Namibia’s two premier universities, Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the University of Namibia.
The two institutions will compete in providing the necessary education, training and capacity building efforts for the project. The Ministry of Mines and Energy and its Geological Survey Directorate will be involved in the Ground Water Component of the Project. The Office of the Prime Minister, through the Directorate of Disaster Risk Management will also be involved in flood and drought risk management planning and mitigation measures. Phase eight of the International Hydorological Programme specifically aims to improve water security. Adding on to this phases’ by providing assistance and to build competencies, in reducing vulnerabilities, as well as increasing water security for member states. The Joint Management Committee is required to meet four times a year to discuss project activities and take decisions as implemented by the locally based Project Coordinator. It is proposed to establish a Project Office at the Directorate of the agriculture ministry or at the national UNESCO Commission. “The Project Coordinator is appointed based on the recommendations of the Joint Management Committee. It also acts under the supervision of the Joint Management Committee and reports back to it,” Mutorwa explained. Current Policy dictates that the entire project be supervised by a Scientific Advisory Board that will consist of one representative of the government, an independent national expert that is closely familiar with the Namibian Water Sector, another representative of higher education at tertiary level and one highly renowned international expert also familiar with education and capacity building in hydrological sciences or environmental water engineering. The SAB experts meet annually and receive an evaluation, rate the reports of the Project Coordinator for recommendations on the projects implementation. The Joint Management Committee is composed of individuals representing the Ministry of Finance, National Planning Commission, Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Mines and Energy, Namibian National UNESCO Commission, NamWater, the Cuvelai-Etosha Basin Management Committee, the Polytechnic of Namibia, the University of Namibia and the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry and Dr Jean-Pier Ilboudo in an advisory role.