Members of EALA MPs and LVBC Staff Inspecting the Waste Water Treatment Plant in Kisumu, Kenya
Members of Parliament for the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) February, 11th 2021 commended Lake Victoria for the achieved milestones and highlighted key challenges still facing Lake Victoria Basin.
Presenting the findings from the On-spot Assessment Report to the House in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Mathias Kasamba observed, “the LVBC has achieved a number of achievements including preparation of the LVBC Bill, 2019, installation of 86 aids to navigation equipment in the Lake to ensure safety of navigation and formulation of the Oil Spills and Toxic Chemicals Contingency Plan.”
According to Hon. Kasamba, the Bill has since been passed by the EALA and awaits assent by the EAC Heads of States. The report also brings to the fore significant progress on the living standards of the people in the region.
The Contingency Plan aims at guiding necessary actions to be taken, should a marine incident or accident that spills toxic chemicals into the Lake Victoria take place.
“The Assembly notes support to cross-border populations that are vulnerable to health risk and environmental degradation to improve their livelihood and conserve fragile ecosystem in Bisoro and Nyarusange Communes (Burundi), Endebbes and Saboti (Kenya), Rulindo and Bugesera (Rwanda), Maswa and Itilima (Tanzania) and Mbale and Kapchorwa (Uganda),” Kasamba noted. The foregoing communities were supported under the USAID-funded Population, Health and Environment (PHE) Programme of LVBC. The foregoing achievements, reflect significant progress on the living standards of the people in the Lake Victoria Basin, EALA MPs underscored.
The presented report was compiled after an on-spot assessment of Lake Victoria Basin Commission and Lake Victoria Basin by the EALA Committee on Agriculture, Tourism and Natural Resources (ATNR) held in Kisumu, Kenya in 2020. The Committee analyzed LVBC’s functions, activities, programmes and projects.
Challenges identified included, but not limited to encroachment in the ecosystem, unsustainable land use practices and construction and farming on wetlands. Similarly, MPs observed LVBC’s operational capacity needs strengthening through enhanced funding and provision of requisite human resources.
According to the from Press Release from EALA, during the debate, Hon. Adam Kimbisa, called for serious investments in the Lake Basin by the EAC Partner States if the region was to develop economically, while Hon. Fatuma Ndangiza devising strategies for diversification of LVBC’s financing. She further called for immediate address of the legal instruments that currently challenge the legal existence of LVBC. On his part, Hon. Pierre Celestin Rwigema and Hon. Francoise Umuwukiza, urged the EAC Council of Ministers to look for alternative mechanisms to fund LVBC and other EAC institutions. MP Oburu Oginga, reiterated staffing as critical in efficient delivery of services at the Institution.
From the on-spot assessment, EALA advocated for EAC Partner States to harmonize policies and laws pertaining to the Lake Victoria Basin.