Management of Transboundary Rivers and Lakes

Part of the series Water Resources Development and Management pp 81-103

Okavango River Basin

  • Thayer ScudderAffiliated withAnthropology, California Institute of Technology

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The Okavango River Basin presents an incredibly dynamic and complex situation. It is a double challenge: first to convey the river’s importance in a policy-relevant way to all kinds of people interested in its management, and second to draw upon a vast literature in hopes of making useful suggestions for the way forward. Four sections follow. The first deals with the basin’s exceptional bio-cultural diversity. The second examines ongoing political economy, environmental, and international constraints to the basin’s sustainable conservation and development. The third section deals with the pioneering shift in the mid-1990s for Southern and Central Africa from a conflict-laden nationalist approach to international waters to the formation of the Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM) in 1994 and to a “water for peace” approach. The final section presents some suggestions on the way forward during the 21st century.