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By East African Community (EAC)
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KIGALI, Rwanda, May 7, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The 10th Meeting of the Sectoral Council of Ministers for Lake Victoria Basin has considered and adopted the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) Strategic Plan 2011-2016. The Sectoral Council held in Kigali, Rwanda, from 30th April to 5th May 2012, also directed the LVBC Secretariat to prepare a resource mobilisation strategy to guide its implementation.

The LVBC Strategic Plan 2011-2016 shall contribute to the realisation of the aspirations set out in the 4th East African Community Development Strategy 2011-2016.

The LVBC Strategic Plan has got six development objectives, including: (1) strengthening the coordination and management capacity of the LVBC Secretariat; (2) enhancing cooperation between LVBC and EAC organs, institutions and partners; (3) harmonising approaches for sustainable management and development natural resources of the Lake Victoria Basin; (4) harmonisation of HIV&AIDS policy frameworks and practice for mobile population across the East African region; (5) improvement of safety of navigation and security on Lake Victoria; (6) promoting conservation and management of natural resources and biodiversity in and outside protected areas.

Other reports considered and adopted included progress reports for LVBC projects and programmes as well as finance, administrative and institutional matters.

In his statement, the Chairperson of the East African Community Council of Ministers and Minister for East African Community in the Republic of Kenya, Hon. Musa Sirma, hailed Sectoral Council for Lake Victoria Basin for making policy decisions that were yielding desired results.

He expressed appreciation for the support provided by EAC's development partners including, the International Development Association, the European Community, the Global Environment Facility and the Swedish International Development Agency.

During the meeting, the LVBC Executive Secretary, Dr. Canisius Kanangire, highlighted the problems faced by the Lake Victoria Basin.

“The Basin continues to be faced by poverty, environmental degradation, avoidable deaths from droughts, floods, landslides and accidents, as well as climate change challenges. Whereas commendable results are being achieved through our ongoing projects and programmes, these huge challenges call for an adjustment in our focus to allow a balance between the software and hardware interventions so that LVBC can support investment in infrastructure to address the above-mentioned challenges,” said Dr. Kanangire.

Dr. Kanangire thanked the Deputy Executive Secretary (Projects and Programmes), Mr. Samuel Gichere and the Deputy Executive Secretary (Finance and Administration), Mr. Stanley Matowo, whose tenures of service at LVBC is coming to an end, for their dedicated service to the Commission and wished them well in their future endeavours.

The ministers in attendance included: the Minister for East African Community Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers, Hon. Musa Sirma, Hon. Peter Munya, Assistant Minister, Ministry of East African Community and Hon. Josphat Nanok, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife in the Republic of Kenya.

Others included Hon. Jean-Marie Nibirantije, the Minister of Water, Environment, Land and Urban Planning in the Republic of Burundi; Hon. Stanislas Kamanzi, the Minister of Natural Resources in the Republic of Rwanda; Hon. Dr. Abdulla Saadala, the Deputy Minister for East African Cooperation, Ministry of East African Cooperation; as well as Hon. Flavia Nabugere, the Minister of State for Environment, Ministry of Water and Environment. The EAC Deputy Secretary-General in charge of Finance and Administration, Mr. Jean Claude Nsengiyumva, also attended the meeting.

The Sectoral Council of Ministers for Lake Victoria Basin provides overall policy direction for the implementation of projects and programmes in the Basin and meets regularly for the same purpose.

The meeting was concluded on 5th May 2012 with a Ministerial study tour to selected project sites of the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project Phase II (LVEMP II) in Kigali and the Lake Victoria Water Supply and Sanitation Programme Phase II (LVWATSAN II) in Rwamagana.

The Ministers also visited Lake Ihema to see the successful water hyacinth control interventions by the Government of Rwanda. At a media briefing held on the same day, Hon. Peter Munya, hailed the adoption of the LVBC Strategic Plan by the Sectoral Council as well as the LVEMP II and LVWATSAN interventions visited by the Ministers in the Republic of Rwanda for their potential to contribute to the sustainable development agenda of the Lake Victoria Basin.