Minister of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources Carlos Mesquita was working in the Kingdom of Eswatini last week (November 3 and 4).
Together with his counterpart Jabulani Mabuza, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Eswatini, the minister will be assessing the state of cooperation between the two countries in the matter of shared river basins, with the aim of analysing the review of the Umbeluzi agreement and the establishment of a protocol for exchanging and sharing data and information on water resources in the hydrographic basins of common interest, namely the Umbeluzi, Incomáti and Maputo rivers.
The meeting held on Thursday brought together staff from the two countries to consider the need to review the Umbeluzi agreement. The Umbeluzi river basin is strategic for both countries, guaranteeing the supply of water to both Eswatini’s capital Mbabane and, on the Mozambican side, the cities of Maputo, Matola and surroundings.
The revision of the agreement may bring subsidies on the indication of the present and future water demand of Mozambique and Eswatini in relation to the availability of water resources in the basin.
Regarding climate change, Mozambique is a downstream country, and, as a result, routinely suffers from the effect of climate change events such as droughts, floods and cyclones.
Minister Mesquita said that both states must be better prepared and reduce vulnerabilities to natural phenomena like these. For that, preventive measures in the Maputo, Umbeluzi and Incomati river basins must be well designed and implemented through joint projects between the Republic of Mozambique and the Kingdom of Eswatini.
“Climate change is a reality, and we are an example of this reality. The cyclones that shook the region and their devastating effects are unequivocal proof that something must be done so that states are better prepared to reduce existing vulnerabilities in the face of the occurrence of these natural phenomena and that preventive actions are well designed and implemented,” Minister Mesquita stressed.
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Eswatine Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jabulani Mabuza said that comprehensive joint projects covering protocols for readiness and the implementation of a disaster management decision support system for the Incomati and Maputo watercourses should be designed to avoid events such as floods, droughts and major pollution incidents in these two river basins in South Africa, Mozambique and Eswatini.
Regarding the establishment of a protocol for the exchange and sharing of data and information on water resources in shared river basins, the two leaders agreed that the establishment of a data-sharing protocol was paramount and would strengthen the management of transboundary water resources, including related ecosystems, and improve the resilience of communities as well as guarantee sustainable ecological benefits.