ABOUT 30 stakeholders are meeting in Kampala to discuss sustainable development and explore economic opportunities of Lake Victoria.
The Head of Regional Programme, Energy, Security and Climate Change Sub-Saharan Africa, Anja Berreta said in a statement issued ahead of the conference that it falls under the theme ‘Lake Victoria: Sustainable Development and Blue Economy Opportunities’ will also dwell on, among other topics, impact of water and sanitation provision on sustainability of Lake Victoria in a changing climate, the role of local institutions and community engagement on sustainability on Lake Victoria in changing climate: Lessons and opportunities, and sustainable economic development practices from Lake Victoria.
Participants will also discuss trans-boundary water management: Current state and legal background.
Representatives of government, local government, civil society, academia and international conservation organizations will take part in the conference.
Environment experts will also take part in the conference which draws representatives from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Blue Economy comprises all activities, developing or deriving from marine and aquatic ecosystems including oceans, coasts, seas, rivers, lakes and groundwater, and associated resources.
It advocates for a multispectral and integrated approach towards the sustainable management of these activities in attaining socioeconomic transformation and sustainable development.
More than 30 million people in the three countries rely on the lake for its natural resources while this Lake receives 80 percent of its water from direct rainfall which makes it very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
“The lake is an important trans-boundary resource for East African countries with a high potential for economic growth if managed and harnessed in a sustainable way. In recognition of the importance of the lake and in the face of rapid urbanisation that causes a potential threat to the lake unless managed in a sustainable way, various organisations and stakeholders are engaged to preserve the ecosystem around Lake Victoria,” said Berreta.
Special focus will be placed on the implementation of existing policy frameworks such as the reform strategy for fisheries and aquaculture in Africa, the ecosystem approach to aquaculture as well as the Regional Framework on Environmental Management for Sustainable Aquaculture Development in Eastern Africa and the Great Lakes Region.
Delegates will also pay special attention to Africa’s 2050 Integrated Maritime Strategy and the UNECA’s Handbook on blue economy that aligns with the requirements of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“This conference brings together different stakeholders who are engaged in preserving the ecosystem around Lake Victoria. Based on scientific research, it aims to find policy conclusions on the issues of trans-boundary water management and enhanced public participation in water resources management,” explained Berreta, adding that opportunities for economic growth and sustainable development that are deriving from the ecosystem of Lake Victoria will be consequently another focus of the conference.