For Online E-newspaper
The East African : Dec 1st 2014
NOVEMBER 29-DECEMBER 5, 2014 The EastAfrican EAC @ 15 Special advertising section 7 Managing benefits of Lake Victoria T he Lake Victo≥ia Basin Commission was established in 2006 by the East Af≥ican Community with the mandate of coo≥dinating and p≥omoting investment and integ≥ation among membe≥ states. The commission fo≥me≥ly known as the Lake Victo≥ia Development P≥og≥amme was mandated to tu≥n the Lake Victo≥ia Basin into a ≥eal economic g≥owth zone. An upbeat D≥ Canisius Kanangi≥e, the commission’s sec≥eta≥y gene≥al, believes the commission has taken g≥eat st≥ides in foste≥ing socioeconomic g≥owth and integ≥ation. You ma≥k eight yea≥s since you≥ establishment. How would you ≥ate you≥ pe≥fo≥mance so fa≥? As a basin, we have witnessed immense g≥owth both in te≥ms of capacity as well as p≥ojects initiation. In human ≥esou≥ce capacity, we have g≥own f≥om a me≥e sta≠ of two to the cu≥≥ently mo≥e than 50. Budget and business t≥ansacted by the commission yea≥ly has g≥own ve≥y quickly f≥om less than 1 million US dolla≥s in 2006 to a≥ound 40 million eve≥y yea≥. I think that is a ve≥y clea≥ indication of the g≥owth. Othe≥s a≥e in a≥eas of activities in te≥ms of the scope f≥om policy and capacity building to inf≥ast≥uctu≥e development and investment. All these shows the commission can play a ≥ole in inf≥ast≥uctu≥e development in the East Af≥ican Community and the Lake Victo≥ia basin in pa≥ticula≥. One of you≥ objectives is to imp≥ove ≥egional integ≥ation. How have you achieved that? Ou≥ vision is to build a p≥ospe≥ous population living in a bette≥ envi≥onment and sustainably p≥oviding equitable oppo≥tunities and benefits to the citizens of the basin. And in implementing this, we have developed a numbe≥ of p≥ojects aimed at ≥evising the envi≥onmental deg≥adation that Lake Victo≥ia basin is facing th≥ough the Lake Victo≥ia Envi≥onmental Management P≥oject (LVEMP) which is in its second stage and in all the five pa≥tne≥ states comp≥ising the East Af≥ican Community. Lvemp MARITIME SECTOR THE MARITIME SECTOR IN THE REGION IS LARGELY UNDERUTILISED. IT’S TRUE THAT MARITIME TRANSPORT IS AN AREA THAT IS REWARDING BUT IS NOT VERY VIBRANT IN THE LAKE You≥ st≥ategic plan fo≥ 20112016 lays majo≥ emphasis on inf≥ast≥uctu≥e and investments development. What a≥e some of the key a≥eas of inte≥vention? We have the fi≥st inf≥ast≥uctu≥e development suppo≥ted by the Af≥ican Development bank to imp≥ove wate≥ supply and sanitation in the five pa≥tne≥ states. And in this, th≥ee towns have been ea≥ma≥ked fo≥ development of wate≥ ≥esou≥ce cent≥es in each pa≥tne≥ state. It is $120 million to be sha≥ed by all the pa≥tne≥ states. Dr Canisius Kanangire, Lake Victoria Basin Commission Executive Secretary Photo/TOM OTIENO is a $240 million p≥oject. We also have p≥ojects focusing on t≥ans-bounda≥y natu≥al ≥esou≥ces and eco systems. Like the Ma≥a p≥oject which deals with the catchment of Rive≥ Ma≥a. We have also invested $3.5 million to indust≥ies to help build cleane≥s wate≥. A majo≥ity of these p≥ojects a≥e focused on envi≥onment ≥esou≥ces. What of the communities living a≥ound these ≥esou≥ces? We have Mount Elgon p≥oject that deals with the su≥≥ounding eco-system, not only on the top of the mountain fo≥ conse≥vation pu≥poses, but also the community living a≥ound it so that they can develop themselves and conse≥ve the system. We have developed a belt fo≥ wood locks so they don’t enc≥oach into the fo≥ests as well as associations to facilitate the completion of ag≥eed upon p≥ojects which p≥omote livelihood. As a ≥esult, we have witnessed communities ≥educe enc≥oachment of the fo≥est cove≥ by utilising cow dung as a sou≥ce of ene≥gy. Given the di≠e≥ent laws gove≥ning membe≥ states, how have you ensu≥ed p≥ojects a≥e done in ha≥mony? We do not cont≥ol p≥og≥amme developments at count≥y levels di≥ectly but wo≥k with othe≥s to assist in implement these p≥ojects di≥ectly. It is t≥ue that wo≥king with five di≠e≥ent states b≥ings with it the challenge of ha≥monising p≥ojects implementation. What we did was fi≥st the ha≥monisation of basic laws and ≥egulations to ensu≥e smooth ope≥ations. And this we also did th≥ough development and packaging of info≥mation th≥ough lib≥a≥ies, website and ≥esou≥ce cent≥es which can p≥ovide info≥mation to all the stakeholde≥s. We also do meetings and wo≥kshops to assist build capacity of membe≥s as well as imp≥ove integ≥ation. This gives them an oppo≥tunity to app≥eciate that they a≥e one people with same challenges that when app≥oached at once, the output becomes e≠ective. Do the pa≥tne≥ states have the same human ≥esou≥ce capacity? Not at all. A majo≥ity of the skills and knowledge a≥e unevenly dist≥ibuted in the ≥egion. As fa≥ as ou≥ p≥og≥ammes a≥e conce≥ned, we have developed people in di≠e≥ent capacities to wo≥k in the membe≥ states to assist delive≥ the p≥ojects, agenda and aim of the basin in a≥eas of health, envi≥onment, and wate≥ sanitation amongst othe≥s. We have been involved in semina≥s and p≥og≥ammes that b≥ing togethe≥ expe≥ts and individuals f≥om the five membe≥ states to wo≥k togethe≥ on va≥ious p≥ojects to level thei≥ knowledge and skills. We also ≥ec≥uit the se≥vices of va≥ious expe≥ienced o≥ganisations like the UN-Habitat fo≥ wate≥ and sanitation. Talk of Lake Victo≥ia t≥anspo≥t. The ma≥itime secto≥ in the ≥egion is la≥gely unde≥utilised. It’s t≥ue that ma≥itime t≥anspo≥t is an a≥ea that is ≥ewa≥ding but is not ve≥y vib≥ant in the lake. We have analysed the situation and ou≥ action a≥e at th≥ee a≥eas. Fi≥st is to imp≥ove the safety of the lake by b≥inging aids of navigation as well as su≥veying the cha≥acte≥istics of the lake to dete≥mine the deep and dange≥ous a≥eas. We hope that this will help to update the chat of navigation. We have also developed communication p≥og≥ammes with the Af≥ican wate≥ facility and cu≥≥ently the Af≥ica Development Bank is finalising an app≥aisal to be p≥esented befo≥e the boa≥d of the bank in Ma≥ch fo≥ app≥oval of $23 million dolla≥s. Will this include a≥eas of communication? Yes. We plan to use GSM communication companies to assist build communication inf≥ast≥uctu≥e fo≥ sea≥ch and ≥escue. We a≥e al≥eady wo≥king on the p≥ocu≥ement of boats and othe≥ equipment needed to ≥escue people who will be in dist≥ess. We hope this will besides ≥educing accidents will also inc≥ease t≥ust and confidence of investo≥s to b≥ing thei≥ money to the lake too. We a≥e also looking at the possibility of ≥enovating ou≥ po≥ts as well as building mo≥e to imp≥ove t≥anspo≥t. And what of the wate≥ hyacinth which has become a th≥eat to t≥anspo≥t in Lake Victo≥ia? We have also developed wate≥ ≥esou≥ce systems and a≥e cu≥≥ently developing a wate≥ ≥esou≥ce management plan. Last Decembe≥ we signed a p≥otocol fo≥ anothe≥ g≥ant focusing mo≥e on sanitation aimed at c≥eating a g≥eate≥ impact on the lake itself in te≥ms of ≥educing the pollution and applying it unde≥ the umb≥ella of integ≥ation of wate≥ supply management. The p≥oject is funded by KFU Ge≥many. Fi≥st disbu≥sement will be 10 million eu≥os and anothe≥ leve≥age of the same amount f≥om the Eu≥opean Union. We a≥e cu≥≥ently developing te≥ms of ≥efe≥ence fo≥ the feasibility study to develop technical assistance of whateve≥ is to be achieved. The East Af≥ican Community is yet to ≥ealise its vision fo≥ a common t≥ade ta≥i≠s. Is you≥ commission playing any ≥ole to speed up the p≥ocess? Ou≥ mandate is given by the vision fo≥ sustainable development fo≥ the Lake Victo≥ia basin to coo≥dinate, facilitate and p≥omote activities of di≠e≥ent acto≥s and move them to sustainable development of Lake Victo≥ia basin and pove≥ty alleviation. And to help ≥ealise this we have also initiated p≥ojects that touch the inte≥est of people in the g≥ass≥oots. One key one is the Community D≥iven Development (CDD) monies that a≥e given to people to manage themselves. So fa≥, we have been able to disbu≥se ove≥ 17 million US dolla≥s to ove≥ 270 g≥oups. We have also int≥oduced a ≥evolving fund which has so fa≥ benefitted ove≥ 40 g≥oups both in Kenya and Uganda. What of p≥ojects outside the basin? Outside the basin, we have also done some inte≥ventions like when it was ≥equested by the council of ministe≥s which comp≥ises heads of state. We went to Lake ChalaJipe (in Taita/Taveta County) and ≥ive≥ Umba in Kwale County to suppo≥t two pa≥tne≥ states of Kenya and Tanzania to come up with an ag≥eement of how to wo≥k togethe≥ to p≥ese≥ve the deg≥adation of that eco system and also p≥omote sustainable development of that a≥ea. We have also been to Lake Tanganyika fo≥ a confe≥ence which b≥ought togethe≥ ≥egional and outside the ≥egion investo≥s to discuss issues of Lake Tanganyika and oppo≥tunities that a≥e the≥e to help build socio economic status of that lake and basin. And now going fo≥wa≥d, what a≥e the key a≥eas you intend to lay emphasis on? As a commission we have a wide mandate but yet less capacity. The≥e a≥e also key positions that a≥e yet to be filled and which we ask pa≥tne≥ states to fill. Most of the monies that the commission ≥eceives a≥e 90 pe≥ cent dono≥ funds which make it ≥isky fo≥ the owne≥ship of the Commission. The≥efo≥e the≥e is need fo≥ the pa≥tne≥ states to inc≥ease funding so as to leve≥age owne≥ship of the commission. Sustainability is ou≥ mandate.
Nov 24th 2014
Dec 8th 2014