From     :   Public Communications Office

Date     : 17th September, 2015

Kenya and Tanzania recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), over the joint water resources management of the trans-boundary Mara River basin during a colorful ceremony held at the Butiama play ground, in Mara Region of the United Republic of Tanzania.

The climax of the ceremony was the highlights by the Tanzania Vice President H.E Mohammed Ghatib , who was the chief guest, accompanied by the Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary, Hon. Eugene Wamalwa, who toured various stands, and were impressed by the quality of the exhibits, particularly the Kenyan products.

The vice president said the presence of Kenyan delegation at the signing ceremony was an assurance that the Mara River basin conservation efforts will be achieved enforced at all costs. He called on stakeholders of the two countries to ensure that the Basin’s resources were also shared equitably.

Mr. Wamalwa called on the community living within the basin to embrace the projects and resources instead of a few individuals’ interests. “The EAC has put in place robust programmes protecting the robust biodiversity and livelihood within the East African Communities, and promotion of intra-trade.’’ He stressed.

On August 4th, 2003 EAC entered into a MOU with the World Wide Fund for Nature Eastern African Regional Programme office (WWF-EAARPO) Nairobi, in which it was agreed WWF-EARPO supports the EAC in programmes contributing to the vision of the Lake Victoria Development Programme and Established Lake Victoria Basin Commission.

It is from this MOU that the WWF-EARPO initiated the Mara River Basin Management Initiative in 2003 to support implementation/protocol for sustainable development of the Lake Victoria Basin at its shared vision and strategy planning document. It is intended to deal with the main threats of the basin that included poor water quality, reduction of water levels/flows (quantity) and Biodiversity degradation.

Part of the memorandum included; the establishment and strengthening of a Joint Cooperative Frame Work for sustainable water resources Management of the Mara Basin; the parties undertook to cooperate in the area of sustainable development, management and equitable utilization of water resources including water allocation, water supply and sanitation, capacity building, data and information sharing , research and development.

The MOU further promotes research in the area of integrated and sustainable management and development of water resources in the basin, and share Environmental Impact Assessment results for any development projects within the basin which are likely to have direct or indirect, significant impact on the water resources.

Kenya and Tanzania further resolved that pursuant to Articles 111and 112 of the Treaty, the Parties agreed to take concerted measures to foster cooperation in the joint and efficient management and sustainable utilization of natural resources within the community; take measures to control trans-boundary air, land and water pollution arising from development activities.

Further, the MOU in pursuant to Articles 114(1)(b) of the Treaty of the Partner States shall cooperate in the management of their natural resources for the conservation of the ecosystems and the arrest of environment degradation.

EAC Deputy Secretary-General Ms Jesca Eriyo, said the EAC has four of the existing Seven Wonders of the World, which must be protected and sustained at all costs. She added, Mara River Basin ecosystem plays an important role in the survival of the community and must be protected by all.

Executive Secretary of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission Dr. Canisius Kanangire, said the future of the Mara Ecosystem lies with the communities within the Basin whose role cannot be over-stated.

The ceremony was also attended by Director of Administration, Ministry of Environment Mr. David Ejakaiti, an Assistant Director within the State Department of East African Affairs, Mr. Joseph Mung’ere, a Legal officer Mrs. Rose Nyakwana, Mara Regional Commissioner Capt.(RTD) Aseri Musangi, District Commisoner Butiama Mrs. Anna-Rose Nyamubi, among others.