Okavango facts

More than 150,000 islands dot the Delta, varying in area from several metres to more than 10 km.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Common questions about OKACOM.

How are the Commission's members selected?

Commissioners are appointed by the contracting parties -- the riparian states -- from the ranks of senior officials, usually at the level of national director or permanent secretary. Membership is permanent. Countries are to have three members in each of the the internal organs. OBSC members are technocrats selected from relevant departments of national governments. The are appointed by the riparian states through delegated authority.

How often does the Commission meet?

The Commission has one ordinary meeting a year, usually at the end of May, with provision for extraordinary meetings. The OBSC meets twice a year, in May and September, also with provision for extraordinary meetings. Task forces and project management committees meet on demand, but task forces usually have their major meetings each year in May before the OKACOM annual meeting. The location of meetings rotates among the three countries.

Are the meetings of the Commission open to the public?

The procedural segments of meetings of the Commission and OBSC are closed, with technical advisors and project managers invited as needed. Since 2010, OKACOM's annual meeting includes an Open Dialogue Forum to which the general public is invited.

Can I get the reports and minutes of the Commission?

Minutes of OKACOM and OBSC meetings are considered internal documents. At the end of OKACOM's annual meeting, the Commission issues a press release that summarizes key decisions reached at the meeting. During the working year between OKACOM's  ordinary meetings, the Executive Secretary may be contacted for information about OBSC and task force decisions. OKACOM's Access to Information Policy provides further guidelines.

How do I notify OKACOM of an issue that concerns me or my community?

Contact OKACOM's Secretariat with an explanation of your issue.

We would like to start a research project in the Cubango-Okavango River Basin. Do we need to get OKACOM's permission?

OKACOM welcomes projects that work to expand the knowledge base of the basin and that contribute to improvement of the living and working conditions of its people. Because OKACOM is working on a master plan for Basin development, the Commission requests early notice of such projects to reduce duplication of effort and facilitate building of effective partnerships.

How does OKACOM deal with national development projects?

OKACOM is a tri-country negotiation platform for decisions already taken or to be taken by the riparian states of the Cubango-Okavango River Basin. Each country in OKACOM has a legal requirement to carry out environmental impact assessments (EIAs) for major development projects. It is implicit that in these national EIAs there is alignment with the principles of the Revised SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses. OKACOM provides a facilitating mechanism to ensure that this alignment is in place.

Does the Commission deal with issues not related to water?

Yes. While the focus of OKACOM's technical work is the flow and quality of the river's water, the Commission's Strategic Action Programme recognizes the inter-connectivity of natural and human systems through its thematic areas: livelihoods, socio-economic issues, water resources management, land management and environment and biodiversity. OKACOM looks at the basin as a whole, promoting the integration of land and water resources. This approach goes hand in hand with the trend in river basin management to focus on sharing benefits, including those offered by ecosystem services, rather than on quantities of water.

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