Eng Mbogo Futakamba, PS Ministry of Water and Irrigation and Cabinet Secretary for Water and Irrigation, Kenya signing the MoU on Mara River Ecosystem Management
Tanzania-Kenya Mara River Basin MoU Signing In Perspective
The 4th Mara Day held in Butiama, the United Republic of Tanzania was another celebration in style. Celebrating the previous Mara Day in Butiama, the birth place of Mwarimu Julius Nyerere, a renowned Pan-Africanist and founding father of the United Republic of Tanzania was worth celebrating.
Also significant during the Butiama’s Mara Day Celebration was the signing of the Joint Water Resources Management of the Trans-boundary Mara River Basin between the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Kenya.
Such signing revealed high-level commitment to jointly conserve and sustainably manage Mara River-the lifeline of over 2 million wild beasts, livelihoods and economies of the two sister countries (Tanzania and Kenya). The signing is in resonance with the theme of this year’s Mara Day Celebrations: “Mara Conservation, My Responsibility.”
The signing was done by Hon. Prof. Jumanne A. Maghembe (MP), Minister, Ministry of Water, the United Republic of Tanzania and Hon. Eugene L. Wamalwa, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Water and Irrigation, the Republic of Kenya on 15th September 2015.
The signing signified a key milestone in the context of sustainable management of shared Mara River Basin and other trans-boundary ecosystems. It reflects the importance of cooperation as a means to managing trans-boundary resources in the wider Lake Victoria Basin.
LVBC/EAC in context
Article 111 and 112 of the East African Community Treaty (1999) point out that “cooperation should be fostered in the joint and efficient management and sustainable utilization of natural resources within the EAC […].” Article 114 of the EAC treaty further underlines EAC Partner States shall “cooperate in the management of their natural resources for the conservation of the ecosystems and the arrest of the environmental degradation.” Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), a specialized institution of the EAC was charged with a mandate: coordinating, promoting and facilitating different [state and non state ] actors towards sustainable development and poverty eradication in the Lake Victoria Basin.
The signing of the MoU on Joint Water Resources Management of the Trans-boundary Mara River Basin was a product of diplomatic and technical efforts coordinated and facilitated by LVBC since the 10th Sectoral Council of Ministers for the Lake Victoria Basin meeting held in Kigali, Rwanda on 4th May 2012.
Objectives of the MoU
The objective of the Joint Water Resources Management of the Trans-boundary Mara River Basin are: to set up an institutional arrangement for the joint management of projects, programmes and initiatives related to water resources management and development in the Basin and to pave way for the establishment of a joint mechanism/cooperative framework for the sustainable development and management of water resources in the Basin. An evaluative statement about how the above objectives have translated into outcomes can be found in the extract from the speech delivered during the Mara Day Preparatory Meeting in Bomet County, on 25th August 2016, of Dr. Ally-Said Matano, LVBC Executive Secretary observed:
“…such convergence of multiple actors from EAC Partner States to discuss and chart a way forward on sustainable conservation of Mara ecosystem, is a practical reflection of how the regional integration is delivering results. It is the practical evidence of how cooperation leads to conservation results.”