A High powered delegation from the five East Africa Community (EAC)member states( EAC) have converged in Kisumu for a five day conference to review progress of implementation of multi-billion projects being undertaken by the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC).
The LVBC is a special implementation agency of the EAC with headquarters in Kenya which coordinates sustainable management of the lake Victoria basin’s ecosystems.
For the last four years, the commission has been overseeing implementation of over six multi-billion donor funded projects in Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania and Rwanda.
Speaking during the opening of the 10th joint regional policy steering Committee meeting in Kisumu on Monday, the commission’s executive Secretary Dr Masinde Bwire said the aim these mega projects is to contribute towards the integration agenda of the EAC.
Dr Masinde said the projects also target to alleviate poverty while fostering cost effective management of lake Victoria basin.
” We are also ensuring, through implementation of these programmes that the movement of our people within the region is made smooth and trade is facilitated,” the executive Secretary said.
During the five days conference, the delegates will also recieve a report on resource mobilisation initiatives and pipeline projects including partnership for the last one year from the commission.
Some of the projects whose status will be reviewed by the delegates include the integrated water resources management project, adapting to climate change in Lake Victoria basin project, multi national Lake Victoria transport and communication project, Nile cooperation for climate resilience project among others.
” Partner states will discuss, review and assess progress made so during the ongoing implementation of the six mega projects during the conference,” Dr Bwire said.
Dr Bwire noted that adapting to climate change project which kicked off four years ago was almost coming to an end.
According to the executive Secretary the project implements practical solutions and technologies seeking to transform and build resilience of communities along the basin in regards effects of climate .
” In Kenya the project is implemented in Siaya and Busia while in Uganda it is in Masaka and Uvende districts . In Rwanda it is in Chirehe district and in Muhinga district in Burundi. It is also done in Magu district in Tanzania,” he said.
Dr Bwire further revealed that the integrated water resources management programme which is funded at the tune of 45 million euros target to transform sanitation systems mainly in slum areas within the EAC major cities .
Over 80,000 households will benefit from the project according to the commission.
In Kisumu, the project is being implemented in Manyatta estate where modern sanitation systems are lacking.
” Kisumu was selected because of the high pollution levels that is witnessed along the lake side city’s coastline and particularly communities around Manyatta slums where sanitation infrastructure is not well developed.
” The project is designed to transform such kind of poor infrastructure and create modern ones particularly in informal settlements in the cities ,” he said.
Dr Bwire however observed that despite the numerous initiatives, programmes and partnerships, Lake Victoria basin continues to witness negative environmental and ecosystems changes and land degradation.
” This contributes to a number of effects to the lake itself. The current smell from the lake is indication of high level of pollution. The sediment levels also continues to rise ,” he said.
” We need to continue to mobilse our people, governments, partners, private actors to be able to reverse this trend. What you see in Kenya is happening in most riparian ecological systems across the region,” he said.