Opening the Regional Policy Steering Committee Meeting (RPSC), a policy guiding forum for projects implementation and coordination, LVBC Executive Secretary, Dr. Ally Said Matano, expressed his appreciation to the EAC Partner States for not only owning up, but being supportive to all the process in the ongoing preparatory stages of the LVEMPIII.
The RPSC Meeting in Entebbe, was in accordance with the 19th Sectoral Council of Ministers for Lake Victoria Basin (19th SECOM) which directed Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) to organize the extra-ordinary Regional Policy Steering Committee involving all EAC Partner States to consider and adopt the LVEMP III Concept Note.
The Entebbe RSPC for LVEMP II focused on reviewing and fine-tuning the third phase of the project by aligning it to regional and national development priorities. Hardware—infrastructure— investments emerged as one the key priorities from the meeting. Citing Uganda’s experiences in using cost effective means to control pollution, the Chairperson of the RPSC, Alfred Okot Okidi, the Permanent Secretary observed: “As much as some infrastructure may seem expensive, we need to make the right choice of technology to reduce the costs.”
Dr. Matano added that the active participation of Principal and Permanent Secretaries from the 5 EAC Partner States in the RPSC is “a great commitment by all the Partner States to the conservation and protection of environmental natural resources within the Lake Victoria Basin.”
He pointed out that implementation of the first LVEMP (1996–2005) and second LVEMP (2009-2017) as a testimony indicative of how the EAC Partner States have proactively taken joint actions to address environmental challenges affecting the Lake Victoria Basin.
Such joint endeavors are in line with article 6 of the Protocol for Sustainable Development of Lake Victoria Basin committing all EAC Partner States to take all appropriate measures—individually or jointly—and where appropriate with participation of stakeholders to protect, conserve and where necessary, rehabilitate the Basin and its ecosystems.
Alfred Okot Okidi, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water and Environment, Republic of Uganda commended LVBC for coordinating the first and second phases of LVEMP and encouraged delegates in the Regional meeting to building on lessons learned in designing a measurable, impact-focused third phase of the regional project.
He called on all EAC Partner States and other development actors to reverse the continuing environment related pressure by specifically targeting hotspots and point source pollution areas in the Lake Victoria Basin. “We need to use the available resources to maximize intervention impacts under LVEMPIII by consolidating collective efforts of actors,” the Chairperson of RPSC stressed.
The RPSC meeting considered the concept note for the next phase of Lake Victoria Environment Project in Lake Victoria Basin. The project is mainly funded by World Bank.
The meeting was attended by Principal and Permanent Secretaries from Burundi, Republic of Kenya, United Republic of Tanzania, representative from the Republic of Rwanda and Republic of Uganda (the host) as well as the Executive members and technical staff of Lake Victoria Basin Commission.