The Executive Secretary of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), Dr. Ali-Said Matano, held inaugural media briefing centered on the LVBC strategic and programmatic focus of the commission in the next five years. Dr. Matano, a Kenyan, took over from Dr. Canisius Kanangire (Rwandan) will steering LVBC in the next five years. In his maiden media briefing, held on Friday, 15th July 2016, Kisumu, Kenya he emphasized the importance of remaining focused on LVBC mandate as enshrined in the LVB Protocol on Sustainable Development of Lake Victoria Basin and EAC Treaty. Outlining the LVBC achievements the last Financial Year (2015-2016) and LVBC focus--strategic and programmatic in the next 5 years (2016-2020), the new Executive Secretary praised the role of the news media. “We cannot afford to be doing all the good things that we do around the Lake Victoria Basin without involving the media because through the media, what we do gets traction,” Dr Matano emphasized. He emphasized : “Media is the mouth piece of development.” He said will prioritize building on achieved milestones and fast-tracking the implementation of decisions and directives of the Council of Ministers. Since his ascension, LVBC Executive Secretary has communicated the importance of delivering the community as one.
He acknowledge that though LVBC has made significant milestones in harmonizing policies, laws and standards as well as delivering both soft and hardware interventions in the Basin, there are still critical development challenges. He cited water quality and quantity, invasive weeds, population growth, sanitation, poor land use, loss of biodiversity and climate change as key challenges requiring strategic and programmatic intervention. “Our work over the past two Strategic Plans have been clearly focused on addressing a number of interrelated challenges."
Dr. Matano noted that there is proximate linkage between the above challenges and delays in achieving sustainable development objectives in the wider Lake Victoria Basin. As the new Executive Secretary, Dr. Matano's strategic priorities will include strategic mobilizing of resources for LVBC Headquarters, raising the visibility of the Commission, promote equitable economic growth; promote measures aimed at eradicating poverty; promote sustainable utilization and management of natural resources; protection of environment with the Lake Victoria Basin; and promote compliance on safety of navigation amongst other things. Asked on strategies to realize building the Headquarters to house the Commission, Dr. Matano, outlined "Public Private Partnership (PPP) Approach and engaging Development Partners and EAC Partner States and a hybrid of the strategies." “We have started negotiations with various stakeholders and partners in a bid to raise funds to build our headquarters on our piece of land located adjacent to the Lake here in Kisumu city,” said Mr. Patrice Niyongabo, LVBC’s Deputy Executive Secretary for Finance and Administration.
Questions raised by the media centered on strategies to improve the water quantity and quality of Lake Victoria, curbing fisheries resources, prevention of incidents and accidents on Lake Victoria, water hyacinth control measures among others.
The LVBC Executive Secretary highlighted programmatic interventions aimed at reversing water resources challenges through projects coordinated by LVBC and implemented by EAC Partner States. He also highlighted projects in pipeline aimed at making Lake Victoria a more productive resource to the equal benefits of EAC Partner States.
He noted that LVB Protocol for the Sustainable Development and the forthcoming LVBC Strategic Plan (2016-2020) spell out strategic and programmatic mechanisms and strategies of responding to some of the development challenges in Lake Victoria Basin.