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Southern African Development Community (SADC):

SADC Regional Strategic Action Plan


The Regional Water Policy and Strategy is to be implemented through a series of short-term water sector programs via the Regional Strategic Action Plan (RSAP) on Intergrated Water Resources Development and Management. To date, there have been three iterations of the RSAP, as described below:


The RSAP 3 (2011- 2015) is the current implementation plan that aims to support implementantion of IWRM through strengthning the enabling environment for water resources governace in the region(SADC 2005b)

The plan presents a series of interventions and activities which have been devised to meet three strategic objectives found within the three strategic areas(listed below) that are considered the key pillars of IWRM.

  • Water Governance
  • Infrastructure Development
  • Water Management

The plan presents a list of 15 programmes each with a set of comprehensive interventions and a guide to the level at which these will be implemented with clear roles and responsilibities outlined.Plans are also in place for a monitroing and evaluation system to be developed tracking the progress of each of the interventions and their contribution to achieving the strategic objectives. As has been the case with the two previous plans, a mid term review will be conducted for the RSAP in 2013.

A copy of RSAP 3 can be found in the Document Library.


RSAP 2 (2005–2010) was the second implementation plan which had its focus on on water and development through projects and initiatives in four strategic clusters (SADC 2005b):

  • Regional Water Resources management, planning and development (assessment, monitoring, planning, operation)
  • Infrastructure Development Support (Regional Strategic Water Infrastructure Development Programme (RSWIDP); over 140 projects assessed – 38% in bulk water supply, dams, transfers, and hydropower (Ramoeli 2006 and SADC 2006b)
  • Water Governance (implementation of Protocol, stakeholder participation, implementation of policy and strategy)
  • Capacity Building (skills training, academic IWRM training and research, support to WD, strengthening RBOs)

The RSAP 2 is available in the Document Library.


RSAP 1 was implemented over the period 1999–2004 (SADC 2005a), to establish an enabling environment for the integrated management of water resources in the region, in support of the achievement of other regional objectives. SADC implemented 31 of the 44 projects (see Table 1) in the categories of:

  • Legislation, Policy and Strategic Planning
  • Capacity Building and Training
  • Awareness Creation, Consultation and Public Participation
  • Information Collection, Analysis, Management and Dissemination and Improved National and Transboundary River Basin Management, Planning and Co-ordination
  • Infrastructure Investment
  • Stand Alone – Special Priority Areas

Implementation of RSAP 1 clearly demonstrated that international cooperation is possible in the management of scarce resources. A good example is the revision and ratification of the Protocol on Shared Watercourses (1995–2003) which provided a framework within which to reach more detailed agreements such as the Incomaputo Agreement. Another good example of international cooperation is the preparation of the Regional Water Policy. RSAP 1 furthermore revealed that local communities can be mobilised and can have an impact on water resources planning.

Find the Implementing the Regional Strategic Action Plan (1) for Integrated Water Resources Management (1999 to 2004): Lessons & Best Practice (2005) Document in the Document Library.

Source:SADC 2011
( click to enlarge )

Table: Projects within the Regional Strategic Action Program 1 and 2

Cluster Name

RSAP 2 Project Ref.

Project Title

(project #) RSAP 1


 3Regional Water Resources Planning and Management


15 Expansion of SADC-HYCOS Project

18 Upgrade and Modernise Water Monitoring Systems for Lake Malawi

19 Rehabilitation of Joint Monitoring Systems – Angola and Namibia

Consolidation and expansion of SADC-HYCOS


14 Assessment of Surface Water Resources

Standards assessment of surface water resources


6 Groundwater Management Programme in SADC

Groundwater Management Programme in SADC


12 Economic Accounting of Water Use

Support of Strategic and integrated Water Resources Planning


2 Regional Guidelines for Dam Safety Legislation and Procedures

Dam Safety, Synchronisation and Emerging operations

Infrastructure Development Support


13 Study for Expanding Private Sector Participation in Water and Sanitation Services

27 Control and Development of Lake Malawi and Shire River

28 Study of the Navigability of the Zambezi and Shire Rivers

29 Stabilisation of the Course of the Songwe River

30 Lower Orange River

Regional Strategic Water Infrastructure Programme


5 Programme on Water Supply and Sanitation for SADC Region

Implementation of the Water Supply and Sanitation Programme for SADC

Water Governance

WG 1

8 Implementation Programme for SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses

30 Lower Orange River

31 Integrated Basin Management Plan for the Okavango River

Implementation Programme for SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses

WG 2

4 Consultative Forum on Water Issues

20 Awareness-Building for Decision-Makers

21 Involving the Media in Water Issues

24 Promotion of Stakeholder Participation in Water Resources Management

25 Feasibility Study for Creating Fund to Support NGO/CBO Participation in Water Resources Management Activities

26 Programme on Means to Empower Women in Water Issues

Promotion of public participation in water resource development and management

WG 3

1 Regional Guidelines for Review and Formulation of National Water Legislation

Promotion of Implementation of Regional Water Policy and Strategy

9 Regional Guidelines for Water Policy and Review in Member-States

10 Develop and implement National Water Sector Strategies

11 Establish Regional Water Sector Policy and Strategy

Capacity Building

CB 1

22 Human Resources Development Programme

17 Training in Surveying, Mapping and Geographic Information Systems

Skills training for water policymakers, managers and practitioners

CB 2

23 WaterNet


CB 3

7 WSCU Capacity Building Project

Capacity Building Support to the SADC Water Division

CB 4

3 Capacity Building for Joint Integrated Basin Management

Strengthening River Basin Organisations

CB 5


Regional Water Research Fund

Total No. of Projects



To learn more about the Regional Strategic Action Programs, please refer to the SADC website.

The third  strategic action plan has a slightly different structure to the two previous plans.The table below shows a summary of the list of programme objectives the RSAP 3 aims to achieve, these have been grouped into the strategic areas and objectives under which they fall.Specific activities and interventions fall within each of the overarching programme objectives.

Strategic Objectives No. Category Stragetic Area
      Water Governance Infrastructure Development Water Management
Capacity Development 1

River Basin


Strengthen the organisational and institutional
mechanisms for river basin management
2 Regional Instruments
Strengthen the enabling environment for the
coordinated management and development
of water resources
3 Management & support
Develop the capacites of the SADC Water
Division to ensure the sustainable and
coordinated management of the RSAP



Raise awareness and share information on
integrated water resources management
5 Research & education    
Develop the skills and knowledge of water
professionals on integrated water resources
6 Stakeholder Participation
Involve stakeholders in the management of
transboundary water resources
7 Infrastructure project preparation
Prepare bankable water infrastructure
8 Resource Mobilisation for Infrastructure Developlment  
Improve grant and investment infrastructure
10 Water Supply& sanitation    
Improve access to water supply and
sanitation services
11 Ground water management & development    
Improve coordination over the management
of groundwater resources
12 Water Economics     Account for the contribution of water to the economy.
13 Hydrology & Basin management    
Develop planning mechanisms and operational
procedures for managing water resources
14 Environmental water management     Institutionalize water quality Managemenyt in the region.
Social Development 9 Infrastructure pilot projects  
Demonstrate the benefits of joint infrastructure
development initiaves.
Climate Change 15       Integrate climate change adaptation into water resources planning and management.
TOTAL 15  




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