Members of Senior Officials Session of the 20th SECOM, 20th May 2019, Kisumu, Kenya
"The Lake Victoria Basin Commission of the East African Community brings the Regional Integration Agenda to the people", remarked Julius Nyagah Mwabu, Deputy Director Ministry of East African Community, the Republic of Kenya during the opening of the 20th Sectoral Council of Ministers for Lake Victoria Basin (SECOM), 20th May 2019 in Kisumu, Kenya.
Through LVBC, several programmes and projects relating to Environment, Water, Sanitation, Climate Change Adaptations, Population, Health, Integrated Water Resources Management, Planning for Resilience in East Africa through Policy, Adaption, Research and Economic Development (PREPARED) are implemented in the five Partner States of the EAC.
Interventions for some of the foregoing programmes and projects coordinated by Lake Victoria Basin Commission, specifically Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Programme phase two (LVWATSAN II) and Lake Victoria Environment Management Project phase two (LVEMP II) have attracted attention and commendations from policy-making forums and beneficiaries in the 5 EAC Partner States. LVWATSAN II has supplied drinking water in 15 towns of EAC Partner States while LVEMP II has significantly contributed to promoting cleaner technologies and promoting Community Driven Development Initiatives (CDDs).
The head of delegation from Kenya and host of the Session of Experts for the 20th SECOM, Mwabu also reminded delegates about Kisumu’s relevance to the EAC’s Sectoral Council of Ministers for Lake Victoria Basin specifically the location’s past historical significance as former hinterland for regional connections and business transactions through Lake Victoria and East African Railway.
He commended LVBC for organizing the 20th SECOM conference through which directives and decisions relating to programmes, projects and institutional (LVBC) implementation and performance respectively.
LVBC Executive Secretary, Dr. Ally Said Matano shared with delegates the objectives and expected outcomes of the conference as well as the registered achievements since the previous Sectoral Council of Ministers for Lake Victoria held in Republic of Uganda, 22nd June 2018.
Dr. Matano also provided outcomes from the Joint Regional Policy Steering Committee (JRPSC) held in Kisumu, Kenya, March 2019 to the delegates. Directives and decisions of JRPSC are discussed and adopted by the Sectoral Council of Ministers for Lake Victoria.
Acknowledging existing and emerging development challenges in Lake Victoria Basin, Dr. Matano commended both development partners and Partner States for their unwavering support to the LVBC. Similarly, LVBC Executive Secretary commended technical support from experts of the Sectoral Ministries of the East African Partner States which eventually act as the basis for policy guidance to the Lake Victoria Basin Commission.
The Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, East African Community, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo urged delegates to align LVBC interventions with the commitments of the Summit and global development initiatives. He emphasized the need for enhancing citizen participation and ownership of LVBC programmes and projects to achieve sustainability.
Representing the Government of Rwanda, the chairperson of the 20th SECOM, the Session of Experts, Gloria Mbabazi expressed the gratitude to the Republic of Kenya for the warm hospitality accorded to delegates.
She urged delegates to deliberate on critical development challenges in Lake Victoria Basin during the session of experts (Senior Officials) and come up with recommendations for the proceeding level—Coordination Committee comprised of Principal and Permanent Secretaries from the five EAC Partner States. Such concerted and focused deliberations, according to the Chairperson of Senior Officials, would ultimately lead to uplifting the lives of the EAC citizens. Climate change, hunger and poverty are some of development challenges deserving delegate’s attention, according to Mbabazi. She reiterated Rwanda’s commitment in supporting the realization of the objectives of the 20th SECOM and mission of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission.