Authored by Evans A.K. Miriti

In May 2017, the African Great Lakes Conference: Conservation and Development in a Changing Climate was held in Entebbe, Uganda. This conference sought to increase coordination, strengthen capacity, inform policy with science, and promote basin-scale ecosystem management in the region. Because all of the African Great Lakes cross borders, the benefits they offer and the challenges they face are best managed at a basin-wide level. The conference was a unique opportunity for stakeholders in the African Great Lakes region and international partners to share experiences and collaborate in finding solutions to the pressing sustainable development challenges that exist in the region. By sharing tools and approaches for ecosystem-based management and best practices, participants improved the future coordination of African Great Lakes stakeholders. This conference, however, was more than a meeting—it was the start of a process that will advance sustainable development solutions across basins and bring long-term attention to cross-basin work. Additional details on the themes, purpose, outcomes and organizing support for the conference are below.

Report and Proceedings

A complete report on the conference is available in both English and French


The conference focused on six themes, the same that form the foundation for African Great Lakes Inform:

  • Balancing Conservation and Development
  • Climate Change Resilience, Adaptation and Mitigation
  • Ecosystem Service and Biodiversity Benefits
  • Governance and Financing
  • Population Dynamics, Health, and the Environment
  • Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Management


The conference aimed to:

  • Enhance coordination and cooperation of stakeholders working on conservation and development of the African Great Lakes.
  • Strengthen the capacity of lake management institutions on the sustainable use of basin resources.
  • Provide evidence-based information for implementation of policies and conservation actions.
  • Promote and share tools and approaches for ecosystem-based management in the African Great Lakes.
  • Promote and share best practices of empowered citizens actively engaged in basin management.

Key Outcomes

Key outcomes from the conference include:

  • The new, online African Great Lakes Information Platform (AKA African Great Lakes Inform) with key maps and best practices was announced
  • Special issues of multiple peer-reviewed journals dedicated to the new findings presented
  • Momentum toward an African Great Lakes network
  • Announcement of the African Great Lakes Fund, and the potential for other linked investments in the region
  • An African Great Lakes Conference Declaration / Resolution 
  • A full conference proceedings report
  • More than 100 talks and posters with new information pertinent to lake conservation and sustainable development
  • Renewed linkages between the North American Great Lakes and the African Great Lakes


Conference participants included regional lake authorities, government leaders and policymakers, development and funding agencies, scientific leaders, and select community, media and private sector groups. These stakeholders collaborated on finding solutions to pressing lake basin issues in the region and committed to an ongoing dialogue about how to effectively address them. A full list of participants is available here.

Conference Organizers and Partners

Lead Organizing and Funding Partners

The African Great Lakes Conference was spearheaded by the African Great Lakes initiative, led by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in collaboration with the Lake Tanganyika Basin Authority (LTA). It was supported by funding from the following organizations:

Organizing Partners

The conference organizing committee comprised various management groups, national government resource agencies, NGOs, multi-lateral agencies and academic institutions, including the Lake Basin management groups including

Conference Presentations

The following presentations were given at the conference. Abstracts for all of these presentations is also available.

Basin Governance and Financing

Balancing Conservation and Development

Climate Change Impacts, Mitigation and Adaptation

Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity Benefits

Population Dynamics, Health and the Environment

Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture