The Republic of Uganda which has been chairing the Joint Regional Policy Steering Committee Meetings (JRPSC) for Lake Victoria Basin handed over the chairmanship to the Republic of Rwanda, February, 28th 2019 in Acacia Premier Hotel, Kisumu, Kenya.
Handing the instruments of chairmanship over, Alfred Okot Okidi the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water and Environment, Republic of Uganda outlined to participating delegates to JRPSC, the key achievements registered during his chairmanship. These included, but not limited to successful completion of two mega flagship projects—Lake Victoria Water Sanitation Project phase two (LVWATSAN II) and Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project phase two (LVEMP II).
The two regional projects have been coordinated by Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) and implemented by five East African Community Partner States. Reports from LVBC indicated that the two projects registered tangible outcomes at community levels through improved livelihoods and environmental conservation in East African Community Partner States.
Acknowledging challenges still hampering the Lake Victoria Basin, the outgoing chairperson of the JRPSC observed that consensus and moving forward with a purpose would contribute in advancing East Africa Community integration agenda through programmes and projects.
The incoming chairperson, Fatina Mukarubibi, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Republic of Rwanda commended the good leadership of the outgoing chairperson and committed to keep the pace set by members of JRPSC and LVBC—the latter is the implementer of the decisions and directives of the former.
Mukarubibi called for adoption of innovation, effective regional coordination and working extra harder by EAC Partner States as a way of unlocking existent development challenges—climate change, water hyacinth, among others. “On climate change, we need to embrace climate adaptation measures in our long term development plans and work together,” Fatina Mukarubibi, the chairperson of RJPSC said.
The LVBC Executive Secretary, Dr. Ally-Said Matano also applauded the able leadership of the outgoing chairperson and congratulated the in-coming chairperson for assuming new responsibilities of steering the policy-making forum (JRPSC) for programmes and projects in the Lake Victoria.
Dr. Matano expressed gratitude for the policy and strategic support from Principal and Permanent Secretaries and Ministers of the East African Community Partner States to the Lake Victoria Basin Commission. He lauded the ongoing support from development partners, specifically, World Bank, African Development Bank, KfW, EU, and USAID among others.
He cited Lake Victoria Bill as one of the legal and policy instruments which if enacted into law by the EALA Members of Parliament will reinforce LVBC’s resource mobilization efforts.
The host of the JRPSC, Ali Noor, the Principal Secretary for Environment and Forestry, Republic of Kenya welcomed delegates to Kisumu, one of Kenya’s Lake Cities. He commended LVBC’s use of common approaches in sustainable management of shared resources in the five EAC Partner States. He urged delegates to generate recommendations aimed at realizing the shared vision of Lake Victoria Basin. The Kenyan representative called for delegates to observe one minute of silence in remembrance of marine victims from two sister EAC countries—Republic of Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.
The 8th JRPSC considered among other things the status of implementation of the recommendations and decisions of the previous JRPSC for Lake Victoria Basin held in April 2018 in Entebbe Uganda and other subsequent policy related meetings.
The JRPSC meeting also considered the progress reports for projects and programmes. Other pertinent issues on agenda included, but are not limited to LVBC Resource Mobilization Initiatives—Pipeline projects and programmes.