Members of Coordination Comittee of 20th SECOM, 23rd May 2019, Kisumu, Kenya
The host of the Coordination Committee for 20th Meeting of the Sectoral Council of Ministers for Lake Victoria Basin (20th SECOM), Dr. Margaret Mwakima, Principal Secretary State Department of East African Community and Regional Development urged delegates from EAC Partner States to operationalize climate adaptation and mitigation measures to reverse climate change negative impacts in Lake Victoria Basin.
She made the remarks during the 20th SECOM at the opening of the meeting for members of the Coordination Committee of the Meeting of the Sectoral Council of Ministers for Lake Victoria Basin held 23nd March 2019 in Kisumu, Kenya. Coordination Committee comprises Principal and Permanent Secretaries of the Meeting of the Sectoral Council of Ministers for Lake Victoria—a policy making forum of the East African Community (EAC).
In her statement, the Principal Secretary, Dr. Margaret Mwakima, remarked: “We have suffered consequences of climate change such as drought and floods which have led to loss of lives, disruption of livelihoods and our infrastructure.” She added that delayed rains in the month of March and April in some parts of Kenya affected planning for agricultural activities in Kenya and in other EAC Partner States.
Dr. Mwakima contends, adoption of climate adaption, mitigation measures across all EAC Partner States and other stakeholders will enhance community resilience to climate change. She implored the 20th SECOM to make policies geared towards integrating climate resilience in programmes and projects coordinated by Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC).
LVBC Executive Secretary, Dr. Ally Said Matano outlined to delegates key milestones that the organization has achieved, the status of implementation of the previous decisions and directives, challenges and way forward. Among the solutions Dr. Matano suggested included, but not limited to strengthening cooperation, linking environmental interventions with economic benefits at community levels of the EAC Partner States for greater citizen ownership and sustainability. Matano’s recommendations resonated with Green Growth Economic model which continues to feature in most forums in EAC Partner States.
Dr. Matano also proposed infusing political commitments into programmes and projects implementation as a strategic pathway to realizing intended objectives of programmes and projects specifically focused on climate adaptations or with integral components of mitigation and resilience in Lake Victoria Basin. He also proposed acknowledging existing challenges and having a solution-oriented dialogue.
The Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, East African Community, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, cited some of the EAC legal and policy frameworks reflecting high level commitments to sustainably manage environment in EAC Partner States. For instance, Bazivano reiterated the commitment of the Summit to orient regional efforts towards a business-driven and people-centered EAC integration agenda. He also underscored the importance of developing sustainable industrial growth as an integral solution to environmental and economic challenges in the Lake Victoria Basin.
Rwanda’s Permanent Secretary for Environment, Fatina Mukarubibi, the chairperson for the Coordination Committee emphasized the strategic function of SECOM, specifically providing the overall policy guidance and guiding the implementation of programmes and projects coordinated by Lake Victoria Basin Commission. She also recommended carrying out mapping of regional environmental initiatives to determine gaps on ground and come up with focused interventions for greater impacts. “The Coordination Committee of SECOM is a strong foundation upon which regional interventions are based,” she remarked.