4th Virtual Roundtable on Digitalisation for Transboundary River Basin Development Organisations: Knowledge exchange with the SADC Groundwater Management Institute (SADC-GMI)
On 24 February 2021 a virtual knowledge exchange with the SADC Groundwater Management Institute brought together more than 70 participants, mainly from Africa, including from the regional group currently working on transboundary cooperation in the Senegal-Mauritania Aquifer Basin (SMAB).
It was the fourth virtual roundtable of the series on Digital Transformation Challenges and Opportunities for West African River Basin Development Organisations (RBDOs), co-organised by the Pôle eau de Dakar and the Geneva Water Hub, on the initiative of the Gambia RBDO (OMVG) and in partnership with several global and regional partners, to explore how the digital transformation can help Transboundary RBDOs boost their power as connectors and catalysts for prosperity and peace, while managing inherent risks and barriers including cybersecurity.
Learning and insights from this virtual programme already attended by more than 500 participants will enrich a Strategic Foresight Discussion Document prepared under the aegis of the Global Observatory for Water and Peace. In addition, based on these exchanges a pilot action was initiated in January 2021 in support of OMVG and its Member states to enhance integrated data management (including groundwater), using digital tools and methods that can be replicated in other river basins, including the SMAB.
In the West African context, there is strong interest in learning from the successful experience of the Groundwater Management Institute of the Southern African Development Community (SADC-GMI) to improve groundwater management in SMAB region and beyond in the Sahel. Topics discussed during the roundtable included (i) SADC-GMI experience with knowledge, capacity and financing at national and regional levels (including through digital platforms and for young professionals); (ii) use of digital technologies and participatory approaches (including for its regional groundwater portal, community of practice and private sector platform); (iii) transboundary aquifer management in the Limpopo River Basin; and (iv) how SADC-GMI plans to harness new approaches and innovations. In addition, UN-IGRAC shared its experience with Groundwater data sharing in SADC since 2010.
The richness of the dialogues resulted in a fruitful and inspiring exchange. Proposals are being drafted for continuing and deepening this dialogue. Indeed, groundwater though invisible is a key instrument for sustainable peace and prosperity in the context of the climate, security, demographic and digital challenges of the 21st century. The preliminary documents are available below.