EAC Council of Ministers Chair visits Lake Victoria Basin Commission / Hon. Musa Sirma encourages LVBC to prepare more investment projects
4/13/2012 4:30:00 PM -
NAIROBI, Kenya, April 13, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Chairperson of the East African Community Council of Ministers has encouraged the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) to bolster the preparation and implementation of more investment projects in the Lake Victoria Basin. Hon. Musa Cherutich Sirma, who is the Minister for East African Community in the Republic of Kenya, said this during a one-day visit to the Lake Victoria Basin Commission Secretariat in Kisumu, Kenya, yesterday.
Hon. Sirma was responding to the information provided by the LVBC Executive Secretary, Dr. Canisius Kanangire, indicating that the Commission was planning to implement more tangible investments, in addition to its current role of promoting, facilitating and coordinating the sustainable development agenda of the Lake Victoria Basin.
'We are now working on how to move steadily from only preparing policies and strategies, to having projects and investments that are tangible in areas like infrastructure; projects that shall have more results which can been seen and touched,' Dr. Kanangire told Hon. Sirma.
Dr. Kanangire expressed hope that one of the tangible results of LVBC during the next five years would be the building of its headquarters. He noted that proposed architectural models would soon be presented by the EAC to the Government of China, which has expressed intention to support the construction process. Dr. Kanangire called for the support and guidance of the EAC Council of Ministers to ensure that this project is successfully completed.
During his submission, the Deputy Executive Secretary (Project and Programmes), Mr. Samuel Gichere, indicated that out of the US$44.5 million budget for the Financial Year 2011-2012, the EAC Partner States contributions totalled US$2.3 million. He summarised the successes and challenges of LVBC's projects and programmes, namely: the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project Phase II (LVEMP II); the Lake Victoria Water Supply and Sanitation Programme Phase II (LVWATSAN II); the Mount Elgon Regional Ecosystem Conservation Programme (MERECP); the East African Community/AMREF Lake Victoria Partnership (EALP) Programme on HIV&AIDS; the Maritime Communication and Safety on Lake Victoria (MCSLV) Project; and the Trans-boundary Water for Biodiversity and Human Health in the Mara River Basin (TWBHH-MRB) Project.
The Commission presented various environmental challenges, including the changing water quality, biodiversity decline, emergence of water hyacinth and other evasive weeds, pollution, deforestation rates, catchments degradation, and the drainage of critical wetlands.
It also presented management challenges, including diverse stakeholders' interests, projects and programmes implemented by independent players, minimum interaction between and among the various stakeholders, duplication of efforts, as well as population growth. The high expectations from stakeholders were also presented as a challenge.
Dr. Kanangire requested Hon. Sirma to provide support to LVBC's search for funding to implement the next phases of three important projects: the MCSLV, MERECP and EALP. He also emphasised the need to support the preparation of feasibility projects that will lead to tangible investment in relevant infrastructure projects in the basin.
On his part, Hon. Sirma promised to support LVBC's search for funding to ensure that the next phases of the MCSLV, MERECP and EALP projects are implemented.
'I do hope that the donors will be able to see the good things done by these projects and therefore allow the Commission to attract more funding. As the Chair of the Council of Ministers, I will ensure that I encourage the Partner States to make more funding commitments to LVBC,' Hon. Sirma told LVBC staff.
Hon. Sirma promised to fully participate in the upcoming 10th Meeting of the Sectoral Council of Ministers for the Lake Victoria Basin scheduled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda, from 30th April to 5th May 2012. He thanked the Commission for working closely with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of EAC, Mr. David Nalo, and encouraged the continued close collaboration between his Ministry and LVBC.
The Minister later visited the plot of land that the Government of Republic of Kenya offered to LVBC to build its headquarters. He encouraged the Commission to ensure that the headquarters is built as soon as possible.