Mara Day Celebrations 2019 to be preceded by Evidence-based Seminar
The 8th Mara Day Celebrations will be preceded by the evidence-based seminar papers centered on four thematic areas each emphasizing the current state of the Mara ecosystem and action-oriented recommendations for the sustainable water resources, biodiversity and livelihoods in Mara River Basin.
The directive to celebrate the 8th Mara Day differently came from the Regional Commissioner of Mara Region, Hon Adam Kigoma Malima on 13th August 2019 during the preparatory meeting held in Mugumu, Serengeti, the United Republic of Tanzania. Similar emphasis was also echoed in 2017 Mara Day Celebrations held in Tarime, Tanzania.
“We need deep reflections on the state of the Mara River Basin to foretell its future. 60 minutes of degradation of Mara ecosystem can compromise the future of an entire generations” Hon Adam Kigoma Malima observed while emphasizing the need for coherent and integrated actions to sustainably manage Mara River Basin.
According to Kigoma Malima, evidence-based seminar will be held in Mugumu, Tanzania and various papers will be presented and discussed by multiple actors in the Basin. Outcomes of the seminar scheduled on 14th September 2019 will inform immediate and future interventions at all levels –decision-making (regional and national), community levels and grassroots levels.
Thematic areas of the seminar are tentatively proposed as: Environment and Ecosystem of Mara River Basin, Socio-economic issues and livelihood in Mara River Basin, importance of Mara River Water to the Community and the Role of key players in Mara River Basin for Sustainability and improved livelihoods. These thematic areas were informed by the central theme of the forthcoming 8th Mara Day Celebrations: “I, Mara River – Stand with Me.” The theme calls for coherent, no regret interventions of different actors in Mara River Basin and its Swahili version is “Mimi, Mto Mara –Nisimamie.”
The central theme was formulated through participants-centered discussions guided by the Lake Victoria Basin Commission and the United Republic of Tanzania. The latter (Tanzania) will be the host of the 8th Mara Day Celebrations.
Opening the Regional Mara Day Preparatory Meeting on 14th August 2019, Mr. Eliabi K. Chodota, Assistant Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Community, the United Republic of Tanzania commended the 2019 Mara Day theme compared to previous ones which mainly overplayed praises for Mara River. Besides calling for actions, the 2019 theme resonates with the current state of affairs in Mara River Basin.
He urged participants to the Regional Mara Day Celebrations Preparatory Meeting to also consider using the 15th September 2019 Mara build-up and eventual celebrations to commemorate the 20th East African Community (EAC) integration process and successes gained. The EAC 20th commemoration are planned for November 2019.
The meeting was attended by multiple stakeholders from Mugumu, Serengeti District, Grumet Fund, Mara Region Secretariat, Vi-Agroforestry, Serengeti National Park, WWF, Sustainable Water Partnership, Nile River Basin, Tanzania Forest Services and it was convened by Lake Victoria Basin Commission in line with its mandate as stipulated by the Protocol for Sustainable Development of Lake Victoria Basin (2003).
LVBC’s mandate is to promote, facilitate and coordinate different actors in Lake Victoria Basin towards sustainable development and poverty eradication. Mara River which acts the lifeblood of millions of humans and animals is also situated in Lake Victoria Basin.
Recognizing the importance and challenges of the Mara ecosystem, the 10th Sectoral Council of Ministers for the Lake Victoria Basin, held in Kigali, Rwanda on 4th May 2012, declared every 15th September “Mara Day”, to coincide with the great migration of wildlife from Serengeti National Park in the United Republic of Tanzania to the Maasai-Mara National Game Reserve in the Republic of Kenya.
The Mara Day Celebrations are guided by three inter-woven objectives: to create awareness among key stakeholders of the importance of Mara River Basin and its resources; recognize and involve the contribution of different public and private actors in management of Mara River Resources and to promote public-private partnerships as a pathway towards sustainable management of Mara River Waters and biodiversity.