• This was during the the 22nd Sectoral Council of Ministers on Lake Victoria Basin (SECOM-LVB) meeting in Kisumu.
• The meeting involved various delegates among them Cabinet Ministers and Permanent Secretaries from the seven Member States.
To safeguard Lake Victoria and other water bodies within the region, the East Africa Community Member States are set to adopt a unified water quality policy that will aid in this.
The EAC bloc agreed that time was ripe for them to embark on the process of developing a single policy to address issues affecting water quality in the region.
This was during the the 22nd Sectoral Council of Ministers on Lake Victoria Basin (SECOM-LVB) meeting in Kisumu.
The meeting involved various delegates among them Cabinet Ministers and Permanent Secretaries from the seven Member States.
Currently, the EAC Member States have different water quality policies.
Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) Executive Secretary Dr Masinde Bwire told the media that the Cabinet ministers agreed to work on a framework to fast-track the development of the policy.
LVBC, which is the EAC institution responsible for coordinating the sustainable development of the Lake Victoria Basin, will spearhead the exercise to safeguard the water bodies.
Dr Bwire said through the policy, guidelines on how to restore the lake’s delicate ecosystem and water quality in other water bodies in the area will be drawn.
Speaking after the meeting, he said Lake Victoria, which is a big resource in the area, has a very serious water quality problem which is not only affecting fish production but also other economic benefits derived from the water body.
“Once finalised, the document will be adopted by all seven EAC member states and shall be implemented between 2025-2050, to restore water quality,” he said.
Dr Bwire further stated that they will mobilise resources as LVBC to roll out several conservation initiatives to restore the lake and other water bodies in the catchment area.
The Kenyan delegation was led by Water, Sanitation and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Zachariah Njeru and his Mining, Blue Economy, and Maritime Affairs counterpart, Salim Mvurya.
Others in attendance included South Sudan’s Water Minister Pal Mai Deng, Tanzania’s Deputy Minister for Water, Maryprisca Mahundi, Uganda’s Minister for Environment, Ephraim Kamuntu, Burundi’s Agriculture Minister, Prosper Dodiko and Rwanda’s Environment Permanent Secretary (PS), Patrick Karera.
Njeru said this resolve was critical and the drive would catapult regional integration and foster harmony and peaceful coexistence in the East Africa region.
“This common resolve to sustainably manage Lake Victoria is critical as partner states moved to harness blue-economy activities,” he said.
The CS also took the opportunity to appreciate LVBC for always engaging partner states to advance their common interest in the basin and promised to hold hands with them in order to move together amicably.
South Sudan Minister for Water and Irrigation Pal Mai Deng who chaired the meeting noted that Lake Victoria was an important resource for the EAC community and must be conserved at all costs.
He said proposed joint conservation efforts and water quality policies were critical to enhancing close ties between the partner nations and fostering integration.