Donors pledge new support for Lake Victoria basin projects

By East African Community (EAC)
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Donors pledge new support for Lake Victoria basin projects

KAMPALA, Uganda, June 18, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Regional and International Development Partners have pledged new support to fund the implementation of projects and programmes for the Lake Victoria Basin. The commitment was made during the two-day 3rd Lake Victoria Basin Donors' Conference, hosted by the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) at Protrea Hotel in Entebbe, Uganda.

The Conference was meant to strengthen relationships and solidify plans with development partners in the implementation of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission's Strategic Plan (2011-2016. It was co-sponsored by the government of Sweden, the government of Finland and the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA).

The Conference was attended by representatives of various international Development Partners, including the African Development Bank, the Embassy of Japan, the Embassy of Belgium, NORAD, USAID, IFAD, UNEP, PACKARD Foundation, the World Meteorological Organisation, the International Finance Corporation, the French Development Agency, DfID, FAO, European Union, and SNV.

In his statement during the opening of the Conference, the Vice President of the Republic of Uganda, His Excellency Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, expressed concern about the degradation of the natural vegetation in the Lake Victoria Basin region as well as the rising population density putting pressure on the Basin. ”All these issues have social and economic implication for our people and nations,” he said.

The Minister of Water and Environment of the Republic of Uganda and Chairperson of the Sectoral Council of Ministers for Lake Victoria Basin, Hon. Ephraim Kamuntu, thanked development partners for supporting all the projects and programmes coordinated by LVBC and added that the Lake Victoria Basin was still in need of more similar initiatives to allow for sustainable eradication of poverty.

“My appeal, therefore, goes to the Development Partners that have already invested in the ongoing initiatives as well as those who wish to partner with the East African Community states in their struggle of lifting the forty million people of the Lake Victoria Basin out of poverty, to give consideration to the 22 Project Concept Notes presented before you today. It is through such concepts that the Partner States of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda will be able to jointly address the key challenges of the Basin,” Hon. Kamuntu said.

LVBC presented, for consideration, 22 project project concept notes in three thematic areas: environmental stewardship and natural resource management; economic and infrastructure development; as well as improvement of health status and promotion of access to water and sanitation. During discussions with Development Partners, LVBC received new promises of specific support based on the project concept notes. The issue of institutional strengthening and capacity building for the LBC was considered as a cross-cutting issue across the three technical themes. Swedish government officials articulated the importance of supporting LVBC build it's capacity and generally strengthen the institution.

The Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA); a co-sponsor of the conference – is a membership organisation of G8 members. ICA is dedicated to mobilising resources for infrastructure projects in Africa– and was represented in Entebbe by several professionals, including their Water Platform Specialist and Coordinator, Mr. Mohamed Hassan. In his remarks at the end of the conference, ICA Coordinator, Mohamed Hassan said, ”… We at the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa are happy to have started you on this journey … we [all] came here because of the need to mobilise resources … we have been successful in this endeavor … we encourage you to keep up the momentum … and to follow-up with the new professional friends and colleagues you have made here. These relationships are valuable … like the Lake Victoria Basin itself, these relationships have tremendous potential …”

While closing the Conference, the Governor of Kisumu County, Republic of Kenya, His Excellency Jakton Ranguma, hailed LVBC for putting forward “overwhelming evidence” of the need for new support to bridge the gaps identified by the East African Community Partner States.