Arusha — The East African Community is hosting a Regional Learning Investor Forum on Environment and Natural Resources management at the community, headquarters in Arusha Tanzania.
The event which commenced yesterday is running under the theme" Building resilience in East Africa: Bridging the Gaps in Policy and Practice".
The two-day forum is being organized by the East African Community Secretariat in collaboration with the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) with the financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
According to the statement from the EAC Secretariat, the overall objective of the event is to showcase EAC priority programs in environment and natural resources on climate change; biodiversity conservation; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); and transboundary water resources management.
The EAC Secretary General, Amb Liberat Mfumukeko in his speech read by the Director of Productive Sector, at the EAC Secretariat,. Jean Baptiste Havugimana said the Community is facing numerous environmental challenges that undermine regional efforts in improving the quality of life of citizens and attaining sustainable development objectives.
"The East African Community is challenged by various environmental issues and some of those challenges are: pollution, desertification, deterioration of aquatic and fresh water ecosystems, disasters, climate change and serious biodiversity losses all these issues should be worked on for the betterment of the community ".Liberat Mfumukeko said in his speech
The Secretary General also disclosed that at the regional level, the EAC Secretariat and LVBC have been implementing a good number of projects and programmes with a view to conserve and protect the region's environment and natural capital against all forms of pollution and degradation, but that, more needs to be done with the support of Development partners.
The Deputy Executive Secretary of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission in charge of Programmes and Projects, Telly Eugene Muramila said the region is facing a number of environmental challenges similar to the other blocs and to mention one challenge - is the increasing demand for water, driven by population pressure, rapid industrialization, and agricultural intensification.
He further explained that over the past five years, LVBC through Environmental conservation projects has worked to enhance the resilience of institutions in East Africa to provide water, supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services.
"To achieve this goal, the PREPARED Program focused on improving the quality of service delivery among water utilities and reducing non-revenue water (NRW) rates", added Mr Muramila.
On his part, Mr. Brad Arsenault, Deputy Chief, USAID Kenya and East Africa pledged the commitment of the United States Government to continue supporting East African-led strategic priorities for biodiversity conservation, water resource management, and combatting wildlife trafficking.
He however, called for the planning for Resilience in East Africa through Policy, Adaptation, Research and Economic Development, better known as PREPARED.
The two-day forum is characterized by plenary and keynote sessions, thematic discussions, and practitioner exhibitions.