Hon. January Makamba, State Minister for Environment and Unions in the Vice President's Office, Tanzania at LVBC Exhibition Stand
The sixth Mara Day Celebrations held on 15th September 2016 in Tarime, the United Republic of Tanzania stressed effective partnership between States and non-states as a pathway to conservation success. Speeches, exhibitions, songs, poems and other edu-entertaining activities were centered on the theme: "Healthy Mara River for Sustainable Development."
The Chief guest, Hon. January Makamba, the Minister of State in the Vice President's Office, Environment and Unions of the united republic of Tanzania said that Mara River is the lifeline of two major tourism attractions--Serengeti National Park and Maasai Mara Game Reserve. To this end, he urged for deeper cooperation for sustainable conservation of Mara ecosystem. He reiterated Tanzania's commitment in protection and conservation of Mara River for the current and future generations. "Protection of Mara River is inevitable. As a government, we will continue to fulfill our responsibilities," Hon. Makamba said. He commended the presence of the Republic of Kenya and actors from private sector, conservancy organizations as an indication of public-private partnership for sustainable conservation of Mara ecosystem.
The Principal Secretary of Environment, Kenya Mr. Charles Sunkuli said that Mar River is a connector of the peoples of the two Republics and an economic gift to communities and water provider to growing economies. He recommend: "This is a resource we must diligently plan and manage sustainably to meet these legitimate demands."
Deputy Director for East Africa, Brad Arsenault, USAID Representative in the sixth Mara Day Celebrations underscored the importance of protecting Mara River, "not only does the Mara River need to be protected because of its one-of-a kind migration phenomenon and natural beauty, but because Mara River is critical for people's livelihoods people's livelihoods in Kenya, Tanzania and through the entire East African region."
Similarly, he expressed USAID's commitment to partnering with LVBC in the sustainable conservation of Mara ecosystem. " Our new five-year regional strategy, we will continue to deepen our longstanding partnerships [...] The strategy affirms our commitment to East African-led economic growth that is both sustainable in its management of natural resources," Arsenault said.
LVBC Executive Secretary Dr. Ally Said Matano also pointed out that warm relations existent throughout the preparations and celebration of Mara between state and non-state actors is a commendable practice in managing shared resources. He thanked Us AID's contributions and investment in Mara ecosystem through Lake Victoria Basin Commission.
Using its convening powers, LVBC has coordinated six Mara Day Celebrations since 10th Sectoral Council of Ministers for Lake Victoria Basin declared 15th September of each year as Mara Day. The Ministerial Council made the decision to emphasize the importance of Mara ecosystem to economies and livelihood of peoples in Kenya and Tanzania.
In retrospective, the objectives of Mara Day Celebrations were to create awareness among key stakeholders of the importance of Mara River Basin and its resources; to recognize the involvement of different private and public sector in the management of Mara River Basin Resources; and to promote public and private partnerships to improve management of mara's water and biodiversity resources.