On March 23–24, 2023, the African Union Inter African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO), with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), are hosting a workshop in Kampala, Uganda, to advance the implementation of harmonised Regional Frameworks for Aquatic Biodiversity Conservation, Joint Management Plans, and Procedures for Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. The project that inspired this gathering is titled "Conserving Aquatic Biodiversity in Africa's Blue Economy Project". The Project arose in response to a rallying cry for assistance in helping countries that are part of the African Union make the most of their aquatic resources in a way that is both sustainable and beneficial to the continent's economy. In order to achieve the goals of AU Agenda 2063 and conserve aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems while also improving environmental management, the Conserving Aquatic Biodiversity Project aims to strengthen the Policy environment, Regulatory frameworks, and Institutional capacities of AU Member States and Regional Economic Communities.
The East African Community (EAC) Member States of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania are holding this workshop to disseminate the consultancy report on regional frameworks for joint management plans, protocols, and harmonised frameworks for conserving aquatic biodiversity, mitigating the effects of climate change, and adapting to it, and managing the environment.
Participants at the meeting include Representatives of the Governments of the Republic of Kenya, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Uganda; Representatives of Regional Economic Communities (East African Community (EAC) and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD); The representative of the Executive Secretary of the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO) and the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC); Representative of the AU Center of Excellence, the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFIRRI); Non-State Actors - (Business Community), and fisheries and aquaculture experts.
Ms. Francisca Gonah, speaking on behalf of the Director of AU-IBAR, Dr. Nick Nwankpa, said at the beginning of the workshop that initiatives to protect aquatic biodiversity are essential to preserving ecological balance and ensuring future generations have access to natural resources. In addition, she remarked on how helpful it has been that AU-IBAR and LVFB have worked together to continue AU-IBAR’s progress towards its goal of improving Africans' access to nutritious food and stable employment opportunities.
The meeting is structured into setting the scene presentations on (i) the Consultancy report on Assessment of Transboundary Environmental Issues Affecting Biodiversity in Selected Shared Freshwater Ecosystems; and (ii) Presentation on critical issues relating/ affecting conservation of aquatic biodiversity and environmental management in Lake Victoria - Dr. Rukuunya Edward – Director for Fisheries Management and Development- LVFO (Technical Facilitator). Working Groups were also held to deliberate on issues, challenges and priority actions for harmonized strategy and regulatory frameworks for conservation of aquatic biodiversity and environment management (Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda). A presentation of outline of draft National harmonized strategy and regulatory frameworks for conservation of aquatic biodiversity and environmental management was provided, including a plenary based on discussions.