Regional food security and water in SADC: The potential for sectoral-synergies within CAADP for the implementation of the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy
About this study
The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) was established by the Assembly of the African Union (AU) in 2003. The Programme’s main aim is to raise agricultural productivity by at least 6% per year while increasing public investment in agriculture to 10% of the annual national budgets. Following an initial focus on interventions at the national level, there is growing awareness of the need to work more on the regional dimensions of the CAADP.
In this context, the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) undertakes, with its African partners, relevant policy-oriented analysis and multi-stakeholder dialogue facilitation around the regional CAADP issues and processes as well as on their linkages with the broader regional integration dynamics, in various African regions. This paper focuses on regional water management and cooperation in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and its Regional Agricultural Policy (RAP), with the objective to stimulate further discussions among involved stakeholders, to contribute to the consultative processes and implementation of CAADP at regional level, as well as contribute to lessons-sharing across Africa on regional approaches to water for agricultural production.
Whereas global, regional, national, and local realities of water management are fundamental to consider in the preparation and implementation of the RAP - essentially the CAADP Regional Compact in Southern Africa - water issues do not feature prominently in CAADP processes in the SADC region. This is despite the Region’s strong efforts to address water resource management through transboundary frameworks and organisations. Water has played a unifying role to spearhead cooperation in the Region with the Protocol on Shared Watercourses being the first treaty to be ratified at the level of SADC. As a result of this historical and political standing of water governance in the machinery of SADC regional cooperation, the Region presents interesting cases of Transboundary Water Resources Management (TWRM).
Linking TWRM processes with CAADP objectives has remained minimal in SADC. As a result of recent regional planning processes however, the SADC RAP, adopted by the SADC Ministers in June 2013, acknowledges this crucial link between the agriculture and water sectors. The RAP emphasises in this sense that integrating water management concerns into agricultural policy and investment could generate considerable economic and social gains for the region and its member states.
Food security is very much a regional issue and requires transnational trade and agricultural cooperation. This paper therefore focuses on regional food security issues while linking to the national as well as the household levels where food is produced, distributed and consumed. Likewise, any analysis of water resources management cannot exclude local realities, as water remains, to a large extent, a local resource. This is particularly relevant for the biggest water consumer in Southern Africa: agriculture.
To ensure focus and relevance, the following guiding questions were used to assess the potential for sectoral and geographical synergies in the implementation of the SADC RAP:
Why is better management of shared water resources in SADC important for improving regional agriculture?
What are the complexities related to multi-sectoral (water, agriculture and trade) interactions and geographical (local, national and regional) interactions that affect the contribution of water management to regional food security?
In what ways can the RAP be translated into better policy, coordination and investment for using such synergies to improve regional food security?