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TALKING NOTES ON THE 4th REMCO - INTERNATIONAL TRANSBOUNDARY WATER MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE, ROYAL SWAZI SUN,
26 SEPTEMBER, 2016.
BY

THE HONOURABLE MINISTER – MNRE


Members of the Tripartite Permanent Technical Committee
and its task team,
Honourable Governing Board Members of the local water management institutions in Swaziland, South Africa and Mozambique,
Representatives of the Dutch Embassy,
Our distinguished guests from the water management institutions in the Netherlands and Germany,  
Executive members of partnering institutions in Swaziland, South Africa and Mozambique
Government Officials from the Departments of Water Affairs in Swaziland, South Africa and Mozambique,
Invited conference presenters and distinguished guests
Master of Ceremonies,
 Ladies and Gentlemen.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to this important gathering. We are gathered here as witnesses and to bear testimony to the effectiveness of transboundary cooperation in water resources management.
The Governments of Swaziland, South Africa and Mozambique have a long history of cooperation. As countries sharing common watercourses, we have established a number of platforms such as the Tripartite Permanent Technical Committee (TPTC), Joint Water Commissions (JWCs) and have also initiated joint projects such as Progressive Realisation of the IncoMaputo Agreement (PRIMA) to discuss common problems and propose solutions for our shared rivers. The Kingdom of Swaziland is proud to welcome you all today to our beautiful country to further explore common problems, share experiences and lay the basis to strengthen relationships in integrated water resource planning and implementation in a quest to foster sound transboundary cooperation amongst ourselves and our governments.

Director of Ceremonies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am told that this cooperation has a long history wherein our local water management institutions in Swaziland, South Africa and Mozambique coordinate their activities regarding the operational management of the shared Incomati and Maputo river basins. Through this, a special focus is also turned towards the sharing of information and acquisition of relevant knowledge and skills in the field of transboundary water management between our African colleagues and the Dutch and German water management organizations responsible for the management of the river Vecht.
It gives me joy to note that this relationship has yielded tangible outcomes for our joint efforts to manage our shared basins as a whole.  Through this cooperation, Swaziland has benefited by initiating a three year project with Vechtstromen Water Board aimed at building the operational capacity of the Komati, Lomati and the Usuthu River Basin Authorities. We are already benefiting from this project through initiatives such as the fully sponsored participation of two of our young water professionals at the Talent for Governance training course for Multi Level Water Governance which was held in The Hague. Moreover our RBA Board members have been engaged in capacity development initiatives where our Dutch partners came into the country to share their practical knowledge and skills on governing water resources through water boards, experience that they themselves have accumulated over decades.

We see the fruits of such cooperation as the 3 neighbouring countries as well. Projects such as the Kingfisher endorsed by the Government of South Africa and the Twinning of Dutch Water Boards with Mozambican water management institutions bring about a high level of skills and expertise to our region that we all eventually benefit from. To date we boast of projects such as the Hydronet Platform for rain forecasting and water control, the use of the Adaptive Operational Governance Dashboard to monitor our performance against our strategic plans, the use of smart phone technology in collecting water data as well as the use of satellite images for observations and measurements of agricultural water use. These clearly indicate that a lot of efforts are being made to develop tools, exchange knowledge and share ideas to improve our capacity in the management of our transboundary water resources.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests,

As the cooperating riparians within the Incomati and Maputo basins, we are grateful for the support and cooperation of the Dutch and German water boards involved in the management of the River Vecht. Though geographically far apart, common problems exist between these different basins and twinning arrangements such as this can help us identify common solutions and potential areas for further collaboration. It is common knowledge that local level water management institutions face a lot of serious operational bottlenecks and challenges and it is through such information and knowledge exchange that potential solutions can be identified as we learn from each other’s failures and successes.

At this point, may I take this opportunity to thank you all for having made time to attend this important conference. You have made a full circle by coming to attend this conference in Swaziland once again, following our earlier hosting in 2009. Through the years, we have surely grown and our relationship has matured as evidenced by the magnitude of tasks that we now jointly undertake.
My special thanks go to our European partners who have shown willingness to share with us their water resources management expertise and experiences in an effort to solve our challenges in the area of transboundary water management. Sincere thanks also go to the different water management institutions in South Africa and Mozambique who have collaborated with us to make this conference a success. I would also like to recognise and appreciate the support, funding and otherwise from all our partners who have contributed in different ways to make this conference a great success.

I notice that a great programme has been lined up, with a touch of Swazi flavour. I sincerely wish you fruitful deliberations and it is my fervent hope that we shall emerge from this conference with concrete strategies and action plans to foster future cooperation. While you have great deliberations, I would like to encourage you to also enjoy our hospitality and beautiful scenery.

With these remarks, Ladies and Gentlemen, I declare this gathering officially opened. MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!!

Thank you

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