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Okavango facts

The average size of the Okavango River as it enters Botswana is 200 metres wide and four metres deep.

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Strategic Action Programme ( SAP )

OKACOM's Strategic Action Programme (SAP) builds on the knowledge collected by the TDA to work towards defining a acceptable development space in the Cubango-Okavango basin.

Rural household with agricultural fields in the upper catchment area, River Systems Angola, AngolaThe Strategic Action Programme (SAP) is a basin-wide policy framework document for the Cubango-Okavango river system basin that lays down the principles for the development of the basin and improvements of the livelihoods of its people through the  ooperative management of the basin and its shared natural resources.

The SAP balances the shared commitments of the basin states for environmental sustainability, alleviation of poverty and improvement of the welfare and living conditions of the population through increased economic growth, using the mechanism of IWRM. The SAP is a mid-term planning document that is designed for voluntary adherence by the Cubango-Okavango basin states. Its contents are supported by and in accordance with their national development plans and the National Action Plans (NAPs) for their part of the basin that have been developed in parallel with the SAP. Implementation of the SAP is the responsibility of the basin states independently as component of their NAPs, and collectively as part of OKACOM.

The overarching objective of the SAP is to promote and strengthen the integrated, sustainable management, use and development of the Cubango-Okavango basin at national and transboundary levels according to internationally recognised best practices in order to protect biodiversity, improve the livelihoods of basin communities, and the development of basin states.

Drawing on the findings of the research carried out for the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis, the SAP focuses on developing a shared vision that defines an acceptable development space for the basin that incorporates

  • responsive livelihood strategies
  • shared water resources
  • harmonized land management practices
  • transboundary conservation practices that benefit people and ecosystems.

Integral to successful implementation of the SAP is filling of knowledge gaps with improving capacity of member states to manage and monitor the river’s resources.

The SAP was developed over three years (2008-2010) through a consultative process with a wide range of stakeholders from government departments, academic and scientific institutions, civil society, the private sector and community representatives. The SAP is a coordinated management response to the problems posed by these Driving Factors and Priority Areas of Concerns as identified by the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) carried out for the basin (as part of the GEF funded EPSMO project). The TDA identified four emerging Areas of Concern in the basin and for underlying Driving Factors:

Areas of Concern

Driving Factors

Variation and reduction of hydrological flow Population dynamics

Changes in sediment dynamics

Land use change
Changes in water quality Poverty
Changes in the abundance and distribution of biota Climate change

SAP Structure and |ntegrated Management Objectives

In response to these challenges the Cubango-Okavango basin states have agreed on a set of six Integrated Management Objectives (IMOs) that guide implementation of the SAP:

IMO 1: The sustainable management of the Cubango-Okavango basin is based on a shared basin-wide vision and jointly agreed decision framework.
IMO 2: Decisions are based on solid scientific analysis of available data and information and improved basin knowledge through research programmes designed to answer management questions.
IMO 3: Focused environmental and socio-economic monitoring programmes to support management decisions and track long-term trends are established and strengthened, and the results are used in adaptive management strategies.
IMO 4: Integrated planning criteria and objectives for sustainable development of water resources of the Cubango-Okavango basin are agreed and established.
IMO 5: The livelihoods of the basin’s peoples are improved.
IMO 6: Technical capacity in the basin and involvement of stakeholders in SAP and NAP implementation is improved.

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