Strategic interests in transboundary river cooperation in Southern Africa – the case of the Okavango

Msukwa, Chimwemwe Kanyamana (Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2010-12)

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Water is life. Its availability and quality directly relates to what is possible in agriculture as well as human health. In Southern Africa, water issues have become an important political agenda as a result of the droughts that the region has been experiencing. The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), in its water protocol advises its member states to set up river basin organisations to manage transboundary rivers in Southern Africa. The aim is to encourage the sustainable use of international rivers. Sharing international rivers has proven to be a very difficult issue as shown by the voting patterns on the UN Convention on the Law of Non Navigational Uses of Transboundary Rivers and the subsequent failure of entry into force of this convention. While strategic interests on the global levels manifest themselves in voting patterns in forums like the UN Assembly, the situation is trickier at the regional level. These strategic interests are ever present as a result of states’ need for recognition of their sovereignty and the inability of states to accept any hierarchical enforcement. This study investigates the impact of these interests at the basin level on the structure of cooperation. With the use of a case study, namely the Okavango River Basin Commission, and guided by regime theory, the study looks at the process of regime formation and maintenance in the basin. It concludes that states use cooperative arrangements (international water cooperation regimes) as tools for the strategic protection of their sovereignty.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Water is lewe. Die beskikbaarheid en kwaliteit het direk te betrekking op wat moontlik toeneemed is in landbou so wel as menslike gesondheid. Water as ʼn noodsaaklike bron in suider-Afrika word meer en meer beskou as ʼn belangrike kwessie op die politieke agenda as gevolg van droogte wat in die streek ondervind word. ʼn Hoë vlak van belangrikheid word aan die bestuur van water binne die streek geheg. Die SAOG (Die Suider – Afrikaanse Ontwikkelings gemeenskap), het in sy water protokol aan sy lid state beveel om rivier kom organisasies te stig om beheer uit te oefen oor riviere in Suider- Afrika wat oor grense heen vloei. Die doel is om lidstate aan te moedig om die volhoubare gebruik van internasionale riviere te bevorder . Die vedeling van internasionale riviere is ‘n komplekse kwessie soos wat VN stempatrone aandui ten opsigte van die Wet op die Verbod teen Navigasie op Oorgrensende Riviere en die daaropvolgende versuim van die inwerkingtreding van die Konvensie aandui. As gevolg van state se behoefte vir erkenning van hul soewereiniteit en hul strategiese belange bly die deel van rivierkomme ‘n moeilike internasionale probleem. Hierdie studie ondersoek die impak van die bogenoemde belange op die kom vlak op die struktuur van samewerking. Met die gebruik van ʼn gevallestudie, naamlik die Okovango Rivier Kom Kommissie, en aan die hand van regime teorie, ondersoek die studie die proses van regime formasie asook die problematiek rondom die instandhouding van die Komissie. Die gevolgtrekking is dat state koöperatiewe reëlings (internasionale water samewerking regimes) as instrumente vir die beskerming van hul strategiese soewereiniteit en eie belange gebruik.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5239
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