Climate-induced floods feature prominently in the 9th Joint Regional Policy Steering Committee (JRPSC) Meeting taking place from 10th-14th February 2020 in Kisumu, Kenya.
Agnes Yobterik, from the Republic of Kenya referred to the floods as an emerging threat to economic activities in Kenya and her neighboring countries. She attributed such foods to climate change.
Noting the laudable programmatic interventions spearheaded by LVBC in EAC Partner States, Kenya’s representative to the senior level of the JRPSC stressed that the region is still faced with environmental challenges exacerbated by climate changes in Lake Victoria Basin. She cited the unusual wettest months—December (2019) through January (2020)—as one typical examples of changing climate in Lake Victoria Basin. December and January are characteristically drier months in Kenya.
Also, locust infestation emerged as another major challenge affecting the EAC Partner States. Wind movements are reportedly said to have favored the spread of the desert locusts from one EAC Partner State to another. Media articles report desert locusts are in the Republic of Uganda and they are likely to head northward.
Welcoming Senior Officials from EAC Partner States, the Kisumu JRPC undertook one minute of silence to reflect on the demise of former Kenyan head of state, President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi and his notable contribution to the revival of East African Community. “As we widen and deep regional integration, we can remember the late mzee Moi as one of the promoters of EAC,” Yobteric remarked. Different speakers recalled the clarion call of former President: peace, love and unity.
Likewise, LVBC Executive Secretary, Dr. Ally Said Matano expressed condolences to the Republic of Kenya for the demise of the former Head of State.
LVBC Executive Secretary briefed delegates to the JPSC Meeting about LVBC programmatic implementation milestones, challenges facing the Lake Victoria Basin and resource mobilization initiatives the Commission has pursued since the last JPSC.
He informed delegates about the launch of Lake Victoria Integrated Water Resources Management Programme (LVB-IWRM) on 14th February 2020 in Kisumu as one of the evidences for growing cooperation between LVBC, Federal Government of Germany and European Union. He thanked the support from EAC Partner States, Development Partners specifically, the Federal Government of Germany, the European Union and others which provided Euro 30 million for improvement of water quality and availability in LVB.
Remy Duhuze, the Chairperson of the JPSC from Rwanda also acknowledged the potential dangers posed by desert locusts and floods to economies of the EAC Partner States. “These challenges in our countries require us to come up with solutions to common challenges through well packaged projects,” Duhuze remarked. The chairperson called for regional interventions to enable rural population in EAC Partner States to be more adaptive and resilient to climate change.
The JRPSC provides policy guidance to the smooth coordination and implementation of programmes and projects in EAC Partner States. The 9th JRPSC analyze and consider the status of implementation of the recommendations and decisions of the previous JPSC and progress reports of the programmes and project. It is comprised of experts and Principal and Permanent Secretaries from the Sectoral Ministries relevant to LVBC’s some of the 14 thematic intervention areas.