African Press International (API)

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World bank and the Swedes donate billions of shillings for conservation and environmental work in Lake Victoria

Posted by African Press International on May 27, 2008

Publisher: Korir,

By Leo Odera Omolo
The fifth meeting of the Sectarian Council of the Lake Basin Commission ended in Kisumu City with the good news that the five member states of the East African Community have received KSHS 14 billion for the conservation and environmental work in the Lake Victoria.
The second world fresh water lake is shared between the three member countries of the EAC with the Tanzania having the lion’s share of 54 per cent, Uganda 42 while Kenya owns the smallest portion of the water at only 6 per cent and mainly in the narrow Kavirondo Gulf on which its eastern shoreline is where the Kisumu City stands today.
The revelation was made at the meeting by Dr Tom Okurut,the executive secretary of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission, which has its secretariat based at Kisumu.
He told the delegates that the funds have been chanelled through the Lake Victoria Basin Commission. The organization has received a total of USD 30 million for operations for ten years.
He said the funds were given by the World Bank, Global Environmental Fund and the Swedish government through its international development agency {SIDA}.
Two new member countries of Rwanda and Burundi joined the EAC in July last year, but are also qualified for funding. Rwanda and Burundi received USD 25 million each {K.shs 1.6 billion} as grant, while other countries obtained the funds in the form of loans . Kenya received USD 60 million {K.shs 3.7 billion}, Uganda USD 55million nand Tanzania USD 65 million.
Dr. Okurut said the riparian countries of Kenya,Tanzania and Uganda would contribute 10 per cent of the funds given by the bilateral donors.
President Mwai Kibaki launched the Commssion last year. The organization has the mandate to ensuring sustainable use of the lake and its resources.
Pollution at the lake has been exarcebated by the water hyacinth weed and industrial waste disposal and a new type of weed, the Hippo Weed, which has just arrived and invaded most part of fish landing beaches all of the lake shores.
The weeds now blocked the lake shore for marine navigation, making it difficult for both ships, steamers and even fishing boats to operate. Hyacinth has of lately receded. By more than 150 m in length and 25 m in depth.
There is also the reported sharp drop in lake water levels, which the local scientists have attributed to illegal logging, indiscriminate felling of trees in the Mau forest and in all other water catchment up stream…Several streams and rivers have dried up reducing the flows of rain water into the lake.
The water catchment areas has been experiencing unplanned human settlement and farming activities.

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