7 February 2013

East Africa: EAC to Tackle Trans-Boundary Ecosystem Woes

The East African Community secretariat will embark on equipping citizens with capacity to manage better cross-border resources and ecosystems, which is seen as a catalyst for economic development.

The new approach was revealed to this paper by the EAC deputy secretary-general in-charge of production and social sector, Jesca Eriyo, last week.

Eriyo said failure to have a concrete solution for managing regional resources would pose a serious threat to EAC.

"It will help us in ensuring conservation of waters and wildlife and improving energy sector. We have had problems of Lake Victoria water levels going down. We want to see what we can do to arrest such situations," she said.

Eriyo added that the region is still faced with migratory species that move freely between countries and can transmit diseases, saying there is a need for collaboration efforts in averting the trend.

The issue of movement of trans-boundary diseases has always hindered the regional economies.

Last year, the Rwanda Agricultural Board had to dispatch veterinary experts to the borders to prevent animals from Uganda from crossing after the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the southern part of the neighbouring country.

Eriyo, who was in the country to close a regional meeting on environment and natural resources conservation, said she was optimistic about the tripartite agreement between the EAC, Comesa and SADC on the trans-boundary ecosystem.

During the meeting, the council of ministers on environment and natural resources drew the EAC climate change strategy and master plan and approved a fund to support projects related to climate change in the region.

Natural Resources minister Stanislas Kamanzi said the master plan would mitigate the problem.

The fund, which will be managed at the EAC headquarters, requires $2b.

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