EPSMO Project Background
The EPSMO project had its beginnings in awareness of the need to support the Permanent Okavango River Basin Commission (OKACOM) with accurate and comprehensive data about environmental conditions in the river basin. Conflict in Angola had prevented a basin wide study of existing information and any new survey work since OKACOM's establishment in 1994. Global Environment Facility funding was obtained in April 2003.
The project was designed to alleviate imminent long-term threats to the linked land and water systems of the Okavango River Basin through joint management of the water resources and the protection of its linked aquatic ecosystems and their biological diversity. Its threefold strategy aims to overcome current policy, institutional, human resource and information barriers and constraints to co-ordination and joint management of the basin; to complete a transboundary analysis (TDA); and to design and implement a Strategic Action Plan (SAP) for joint management of threats to the basin’s linked land and water systems.
The project seeks to increase understanding of environmental issues and commitment to sustainable development and to create a basin-wide policy perspective. It also aims to provide appropriate political and financial support so that capacity and expertise can be built up within OKACOM, thus strengthening the organization’s role in political and technical dialogues between ministries, sectors and disciplines in all three countries.
Other objectives include increasing awareness, consultation and stakeholder communications; developing knowledge based planning frameworks building basin-wide technical criteria, and developing indicators and benchmark monitoring arrangements. The project will also provide specialized training for all levels of technical and professional level staff in water, environmental and community development agencies as well as specialist training in investment.