TANZANIA and Kenya yesterday held a high profile Mara River conservation forum that involved government leaders, conservationists and representatives of local communities living around the river basin.
The one –day conference was expected to come up with resolutions that would help to protect the trans-boundary river which empties its water into Lake Victoria on the Tanzanian side.
Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), Executive Secretary, Dr Ali Said-Matano said LVBC was ready to implement the resolutions through East African Community (EAC).
"We, as LVBC will give the resolutions top priority, and I ask our two governments also to give high consideration to the resolutions," Dr. Matano said at the beginning of the forum.
Dr Matano said the existence of Mara River has a significant role in sustaining the regional integration. "Mara River is important to all of us (Tanzanians and Kenyans).
When you fetch water in Kenya, that is water from Mara, and the same when you fetch water in Tanzania, that is Mara River water", Dr. Matano told the packed forum.
In his opening remarks, Mara Regional Commissioner (RC), Mr Adam Malima said deforestation is one of the major environmental concerns within the Mara River Basin.
"There is cutting of trees within the river basin without replacement (reforestation)", Mr Malima said. He called for concerted efforts that will help to preserve the river basin on both sides.
The forum was held as part of the 2019 Mara Day celebrations that end in Mugumu town today (Sunday).
Held on September 15th each year, Mara Day incorporates a different theme to campaign for sustainable conservation of the Mara River Basin."
I, Mara River- stand with me" is the theme of 2019 Mara Day celebration. The 10th Sectorial Council of Ministers for Lake Victoria Basin held in the Rwandan capital Kigali in May 2012 declared every September 15 the ‘Mara Day’.
The Mara River starts in the Mau forests on the Kenyan side, and flow through the Masai Mara Game Reserves and Serengeti National Park.
Apart from supporting wildlife conservation, Mara River is also a source of livelihood to around 1.1 million Tanzanians and Kenyans.
Commemoration of the day coincides with migration of wildebeest from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya