A five day meeting of the Sectoral Council on Environment has started at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The meeting of Senior Officials which will run from 5th – 7th February, 2018 will be followed by the Session of Permanent/Principal Secretaries/Undersecretaries which will take place on 8th February, 2018. The meeting will conclude with the Session of Ministerial or Cabinet Secretaries on Friday, 9th February, 2018.
According to a statement from the secretariat, among the items on the agenda are the: Consideration of the Implementation Status of the previous Sectoral Councils and Councils Decisions and Directives on Environment and Natural Resources; Consideration of Policy, Legal and Institutional Framework Matters; Consideration of Terrestrial Ecosystems Matters, and; Consideration of Aquatic Ecosystems Matters.
Also on the agenda are the: Consideration of Climate Change Issues; Consideration of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Matters; Consideration of Pollution Control Issues, and; Consideration of Partnership Building and Resource Mobilization Initiatives.
Speaking during the opening session of the meeting, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, said that the East African region was facing numerous environmental challenges that undermine efforts to improve the quality of life of citizens and attainment of sustainable developments objectives.
“Pollution, desertification, deterioration of aquatic and fresh water ecosystems, climate change and biodiversity loss have always been mentioned as the major ones,” said Hon. Bazivamo.
Mr Bazivamo said that various initiatives in response to environmental challenges had implemented at the regional, national and local levels.
“At the regional level, the EAC Secretariat has been implementing environmental programmes in line with Chapters 15, 19 and 20 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC. In this regard, a number of projects and programmes have been implemented in the region with the view of conserving and protecting the region’s environment and natural resources against all forms of pollution and degradation arising from developmental activities,” added the DSG.
Bazivamo noted that the effective natural resources management had been given a high priority in the EAC Vision 2050.
“As well spelt out in the 5th EAC Development Plan, this action will include, among others, programmes that will bear tangible impact to the livelihood of the people of the EAC such as sustainably protecting water bodies, water catchment areas and wet lands, and provision of water in arid and semi-arid areas of the EAC region, raising awareness of the importance of the shared water resources, promote climate change resilient crops, animals and fisheries,” said Hon. Bazivamo.
Other programmes include promoting planting of trees with high economic value to protect water in lakes, rivers and wetlands and water catchment areas, and to strengthen the capacity of local communities and governments to reduce and manage disaster risks.
The Session of Senior Officials which brings together delegates from all the six EAC Partner States is being chaired by Mr. Mugabi Stephen David, the Commissioner of Environment Sectors Support Services, Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda.