The 20th SECOM, Acacia Premier Hotel, Kisumu, Kenya, 24th May 2019
The Chairperson of the 20th Meeting of the Sectoral Council of Ministers for Lake Victoria Basin (20th SECOM), Dr. Vincent Biruta, Minister for Environment of Rwanda has urged delegates from five Partner States of the East African Community to enhance efforts towards meeting present needs without compromising next generation’s needs.
According to the Chairperson of the 20th SECOM, the realization of such development aspiration lies in putting in place a green economy model, ensuring social equity and striving for wellbeing of citizens in East African Partner States. He made the remarks while opening the Ministerial Session of the 20th SECOM held in Kisumu, Republic of Kenya, 24th May 2019.
The Chair’s call for sustainability was also emphasized by the Executive Secretary of Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) Dr. Ally Said Matano whose message to the Ministers from EAC Partner States centrally focused on 14 areas of cooperation for Lake Victoria Basin as articulated in the Protocol for Sustainable Development for Lake Victoria Basin.
Central areas of cooperation in the Protocol for Sustainable Development include, sustainable and development of water resources, promotion of sustainable agriculture, sustainable management and development forestry, improvement of public health and sanitation, wildlife conservation and sustainable tourism, among others.
Interventions through programmes and projects regionally coordinated by LVBC and implemented in EAC Partner States are informed by the 14 areas of cooperation and existing development needs of the citizens in the EAC Partner States. LVBC Executive Secretary underscored the importance of the 20th SECOM, noting its decisions and directives guide the LVBC towards the attainment of its objectives and implementation of programmes and projects in Lake Victoria Basin and EAC Partner States.
The Executive Secretary informed the Meeting that after the succesful completion of the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation project phase II, over 7 million people are expected to access clean water while 1.5 million will have access to healthy sanitation facilities in Lake Victoria Basin. Several socio-economic and environmental benefits can be attributed to this project in all five Partner State. The SECOM comprises of Ministers of Environment, Water, Health, Sanitation, Forestry and other interrelated sectors.
He outlined key achievements and future targets for the LVBC which included fast-tracking processes towards actualizing “the Commission’s and Partner States’ dream to have a permanent home” in Kisumu, Kenya. The foregoing is in line with directive of the Council of Ministers relating to disbursement of funds for construction of LVBC Headquarters in Kisumu, Kenya. LVBC Executive Secretary commended the chairmanship of the Republic of Uganda which enabled securing of $ 1,350,000 as partial funds for construction of LVBC Headquarters.
He equally extended his appreciations to the Development Partner such as World Bank, Nordic Development Fund, KWF, USAID, AfDB and others for supporting LVBC’s sustainable development process in the wider Lake Victoria Basin. He pledged proactive engagement of development partners and other stakeholders for further support specifically on initiatives such as Climate Smart Agriculture in the Lake Victoria Basin, Transboundary Sludge Management poor urban dwellers and promotion of Integrated Water Resources Management.
Kenya’s delegate to the Meeting 20th SECOM, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of East African Community and Regional Development, Hon. Ken Obura reiterated Kenya’s commitment towards regional integration and sustainable conservation of natural resources within Lake Victoria Basin.
“Kenya is fully committed to the regional cooperation process and shall continue supporting projects and programmes implemented in the Basin for the benefit of citizenry of the East African Community,” Hon. Obura said. He noted that the LVBC’s promotion of sustainable development in Lake Victoria was a worthy cause and in line with Kenya’s development agenda.
The Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, East African Community, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, commended EAC Partner States for joining a community of other African States in signing agreements and conventions geared towards environmental sustainability. He lauded LVBC for completing Climate Change Adaption Strategy and Action Plan adopted by the 38th Meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers.
EAC Deputy Secretary General remarked that emerging environmental and natural resources management challenges need concerted efforts so that Partner States’ commitments—improving the quality of life of EAC citizens and attaining sustainable development objectives—are not undermined in the future. He outlined key EAC policy and legal frameworks acting as ample evidence of EAC’s readiness to achieve sustainable development. In line with EAC guiding ideal—citizen centered regional integration, Hon. Bazivamo urged delegates to reprioritize regional initiatives with greater and tangible impacts to local communities.