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Uganda to Host African Great Lakes International Conference

Uganda is set to host African Great Lakes International conference which is aimed at “bringing together stakeholders to link science to solutions for conservation and sustainable development of the African Great Lakes.”

The 4-day conference which will run from May 2nd to 5th will be held at the Imperial Resort Beach Hotel in Entebbe, more about Uganda.

The Conference, mind according to a statement by Hon. Dr Mary Gorreti Kimono Kitutu, Minister of State for Environment, seeks to address the issue of Climate change impacts, amidst population pressure, new technologies, evolving cultures and natural disasters.

“There is need to integrate into our thinking and decision making costs and benefit analysis as we promote development. We can no longer afford to remain complacent but must look at things in a holistic manner, because no one is exempt from disasters or impacts of Climate Change. Indeed the increasing floods and drought are an indication of the emerging changes,” the statement reads.

The African Great Lakes Conference Organizing Committee (AGL COC) comprises the Governments of Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Participants at the event will range from regional lake authorities, scholars, policymakers, business leaders, scientists, and other decision-makers from across the region.

According to Kitutu, the lakes which benefit around 50 million people, are being threatened by various human activities among them; unsustainable fishing, habitat destruction, introduction of invasive species, urban and industrial pollution, and sedimentation caused by deforestation and agriculture.

The African Great lakes region, which covers a stretch of 850,000 km2, comprises of lakes Albert, Edward, Kivu, Malawi/Nyasa/Niassa, Tanganyika, Turkana and Victoria.

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The above fresh water lakes are said to be a big source of revenue to governments and people through aquaculture, agriculture, hydropower generation, fishing, transportation, urban and industrial development, recreation, mining, oil exploitation, and tourism.

Kitutu states that member countries will, from the conference achieve; enhanced coordination and cooperation of stakeholders working on conservation and development of the African Great Lakes, strengthened capacities of lake management institutions on sustainable use of basin resources and knowledge exchange

There will also be dissemination and sharing of evidence-based information for implementation of policies and conservation actions, sharing of tools and approaches for ecosystem-based management in the African Great Lakes.

To reduce and reverse the threats to the lakes in our jurisdiction, and of course those that traverse our neighboring borders, according to Kitututu, the “Government of Uganda partners with Lake Management Authorities and Organisations to implement joint management interventions.”

In addition to that, the government, Kitutu says, “is implementing lake management projects/programmes and also ensuring that institutional and legal frameworks for the management of these lakes are developed and strengthened as appropriate.”

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