The Land and Water Division (NRL) at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) facilitated a Roundtable with the Partnership for Agricultural Water for Africa (AgWA) and representatives from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to share insights on agricultural water management (AWM) in both regions and to ensure harmonization between AgWA’s activities and COMESA’s strategic priorities, in particular around issues related to policy, strategy, lines of interventions.
In addition, the Roundtable provided the opportunity to discuss the progress of the FAO funded project “Support to the pre- and post-CAADP Compact process for improved agricultural water management in Egypt, Malawi, the Sudan and Swaziland”.
The project was launched in October 2013 and has as implementation partners AgWA and COMESA, and the technical backstop of NRL. The main goal of this project is to foster AWM, in the four COMESA member states, through the effective implementation of Pillar 1 (Land and water management) of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). Taking into account that the countries are in different CAADP Compact stages , in Egypt the focus will be on pre- CAADP Compact process, while in Malawi, the Sudan and Swaziland the project will support the post-CAADP Compact phase.
COMESA’s role in the implementation of the CAADP has been remarkable and of key importance for the development of the agriculture sector in Eastern and Southern African countries. AgWA has been working together with COMESA as an “expert pool” to promote investment in water for agriculture within CAADP framework. The collaboration has been very successful that COMESA has recently taken the role of the chair of AgWA’s Steering Committee.
During the Roundtable, participants were able to share their different points of view, generate ideas, and take common decisions regarding the project, the AgWA Partnership and also for future collaboration. The results of the Roundtable were:
- An agreed-upon FAO/AgWA-COMESA workplan, detailing the tasks and responsibilities within the project;
- FAO/AgWA-COMESA’s Guiding Principles of collaboration;
- A draft agreement of the Roles and Responsibilities of the Chair of AgWA’s steering committee; and
- FAO/AgWA-COMESA’s Roadmap with the next steps and follow-up actions for possible future collaboration.
These outputs set the foundations for regional integration, coordination and partnership between AgWA, COMESA and FAO.