Cooperation with South Africa
We cooperate with South Africa on marine spatial planning, environmental monitoring and integrated management from source to sea.
Our partner in South Africa is the country's equivalent to the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, namely the Oceans and Coasts Branch, at the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment. To guide our partnership we have a technical cooperation agreement that runs for five years, from 2021 to 2026. The agreement renews and clarifies the cooperation that began already in 2015.
Management from source to sea
Together with South Africa, we strengthen our two agencies’ knowledge of how a national holistic water management, so-called source-to-sea management, is implemented. By exchanging experiences and creating new knowledge together, our understanding of how activities on land and upstream affect coasts and seas increase.
Since 2019, SwAM has specifically supported South Africa's ambition to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in their seas. One way of doing this is to focus on littering that takes place further inland, but is carried by the country’s large rivers, and later ends up at sea. Within our cooperation, we have commissioned two studies that map flows, management and socio-economic costs of plastic waste in the lower reaches of the uMngeni River in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
Both South African and Swedish authorities are tasked to carry out effective national environmental monitoring of the coastal and marine environment. Oceans and Coasts Branch and SwAM have decided to learn from each other. In the technical cooperation agreement 2021-2026, we agree that we will exchange knowledge about methodology, tools and priorities within risk-based environmental monitoring of the coastal zone over the coming years.
The Oceans and Coasts Branch has also asked SwAM to contribute to the quality assurance process of one of South Africa's laboratories tasked with supporting national marine environmental monitoring. In order to do this we plan to provide training in analysis and sampling methodology.
Marine spatial planning
Both Sweden and South Africa conduct marine spatial planning. As we are in different phases of our national processes and do, to some extent, implement the planning in different ways, we have realized that we can learn a lot from each other.
One important issue where we have agreed to exchange experience is how national authorities can work for inclusive and effective collaboration processes with stakeholders. Another issue we cooperate on is to create conditions for high-quality impact assessments of environment and socio-economics perspectives.
To address the last issue SwAM together with South Africa and other countries in the Western Indian Ocean region are developing a regional version of the Swedish marine spatial planning tool Symphony that assesses cumulative environmental impact. The regional tool is meant to be used by the region’s coastal states and is called WIO Symphony. A national component that further develops assessments in South Africa's planning process is also under development.