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
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 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:
- MacArthur Foundation
- Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund
- United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
- Global Environment Facility (GEF) and International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource Network (IW:Learn)
- International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO)
- Population Reference Bureau (PRB)
- United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
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
- Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS)
- African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR)
- BirdLife International
- East African Community (EAC)
- Friends of Lake Turkana
- International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
- Lake Kivu and Rusizi River Basin Commission (ABAKIR)
- Lake Tanganyika Authority (LTA)
- Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC)
- Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO)
- Nile Basin Initiative (NBI)
- Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP)
- The Department of Fisheries, Malawi
- The Copperbelt University—Zambia
- The Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE), Uganda
- University of Burundi, Bujumbura—Burundi
- University of Dar Es Salaam—Tanzania
- University of Nairobi—Kenya
- World Wide Fund for Nature
The following presentations were given at the conference. Abstracts for all of these presentations is also available.
Basin Governance and Financing
- Lake Basin Inclusive Management System (LBIMS). Fadeke Ayoola.
- Niger Basin Authority Experience. Toupta Boguena.
- Sustainable Financial Mechanisms for Basin Governance. Jean-Francois Donzier.
- From Fishing Rights to Human Rights in the Lives and Livelihoods of Women Fishers in the Great Lakes Region. Adolphine Kateka and Modesta Medard.
- Enhancing Governance and Management of Transboundary Natural Resources: Case for Lake Victoria Basin Commission. Ally-Said Matano and Fredrick M. Mngube.
- Climate Finance in the African Great Lakes: A Review of the Multilateral Climate Funds. Clive Mutunga.
- Building a Resilient Future Through Water-Connecting the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement. Eric O. Odada.
- Regional Policy Coordination and Alignment in the Lake Victoria Basin. Lucas Rutting, Joost Vervoort, Martin Tumuhereze, Marieke Sassen Arnout Van Soesbergen, Sarah Darrah, Andy Arnell, Sam Kanyamibwa, Philbert Nsengiyumva and Yara Shennan Farpón.
- French Water Basin Agency, Integrated Management of Water Resources. Maaike Manten, Julius Arinaitwe and Rémi Touron.
Balancing Conservation and Development
- Hydrological Impacts of Ethiopia’s Omo Basin’s Development on Kenya’s Lake Turkana. Sean Avery.
- Tourism Development and Conservation nexus along Lake Victoria shores in Uganda: A Sustainable Tourism Planning Approach. Ayorekire Jim, Nyakaana Jockey Baker and Meadows Michael.
- The Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern Africa: A Decade of Collaboration to Enhance Oil Spill Preparedness, Response and Cooperation in the Region. Clement Chazot.
- Prognosis for Long-term Sustainable Fisheries in the African Great Lakes. Kenneth Irvine, Christine A. Etiegni, Michelle Kooy and Olaf LF Weyl.
- How to Achieve Sustained Change to Restore the Lake Victoria Ecosystem – From Water Hyacinths to Biofuels in Kisumu, Kenya. Victor Langenberg and Meijer, K. S.
- Balancing Conservation and Development: Lake Malawi/Nyasa/Niassa. Godfrey Mfiti.
- The Nexus of Dam Construction, Oil Exploration, and Resource Use Conflicts-Vulnerability of Fishing Communities in Lake Turkana, Kenya. Kevin O. Obiero, John O. Malala, Jacob O. Ochiewo, Oscar Donde and Ernest Yongo.
- The Challenges of Oil Exploitation in African Great Lakes Region. William Okello et al.
- The Utility of the Integrated Lake Basin Management (ILBM) Approach: A Case Study of Kenya’s Internal and Transboundary Lakes. Daniel O. Olago, Jackson Raini, Obiero Ong’ang’a, Walter Rast and Masahisa Nakamura.
Climate Change Impacts, Mitigation and Adaptation
- Impacts of Climate Change on the Water Balance in Lake Victoria. Peter Bjornsen.
- The Nexus Between Climate Change and Reproductive Health Decisions and Choices: Some Preliminary Insights from Youth in Southern Malawi. Blessings Chinsinga, M. Tsoka, P. Mvula, L. Buhendwa and H. Nyasulu.
- The Past Is a Key to the Future: Lessons Paleoecological Data from Lake Tanganyika can Provide for Future Planning. Andrew Cohen.
- Lake Level Fluctuations, Ecological Attributes and Fish Productivity in African Lakes and Reservoirs. Gownaris, N. J., K.J. Rountos, L. Kaufman, Jeppe Kolding, K.M.M. Lwiza and E.K. Pikitch.
- Climate Change, Agriculture, and Sustainability of the East African Great Lakes. Thomas C. Johnson.
- Climate Resilient Altitudinal Gradients: Building Climate Change Resilience in the Kivu-Rusizi Watersheds. Chris Magero and Ian Gordon.
- A Century of Rainfall Variability and Recent Change in the African Great Lakes Region. Sharon E. Nicholson.
- Climate Change Resilience in the Fishing Communities along Lake Malawi. Friday Njaya, Steve Donda and Mafaniso Hara.
- Monitoring Climate Change and Anthropic Pressure at Lake Tanganyika. Pierre-Denis Plisnier, Muderhwa Nshombo, Huruma Mgana and Gaspard Ntakimazi.
- Earth System Model Predictions of Climate and Environmental Changes in Great Lakes Watersheds to the Year 2100. Anton Seimon, Deborah Lawrence, Peter Lawrence and Salvi Asefi-Najafabady.
- Two Decades of Satellite-based Water Quality Measurements of Lake Victoria. Greg Silsbe.
- Developing Basin Adaptation Project in Africa: The Interest of an Incubation Platform. Eric Tardieu.
- Improving the Basin Adaptation to Climate Change: Strengthening Monitoring and Climate Change Modelling. Blaise Léandre Tondo.
Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity Benefits
- The Importance of Monitoring the Great Lakes to Assess any ‘Change in the Extent of Water-Related Ecosystems Over Time’ (Sustainable Development Goal Indicator 6.6.1). Stuart Crane.
- A Critical Sites Network for Freshwater Biodiversity in the Lake Victoria Catchment. William Darwall.
- Using Site Based Tools to Demonstrate Ecosystem Service Values in Africa: The Case of Toolkit for Ecosystem Services Site-based Assessment (TESSA). Togarasei Fakarayi, Ken Mwathe, Olivia Adhiambo, Chris Magero and Jenny Merriman.
- Challenges and Benefits to Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of Rapidly Expanding Cage Aquaculture in Lake Victoria. Sarah M. Glaser, Les Kaufman and Roel Boumans.
- Mahale Mountains National Park as a Model for Conserving Aquatic Habitats and Biodiversity. Peter B. McIntyre, Ismael Kimirei, George Kazumbe, Ellen Hamann, Benjamin M. Kraemer, Vanessa Constance, Huruma Mgana, Gadiel Moshi, Yvonne Vadeboncoeur, Renalda Munubi, Lesley Kim, Ryan Satchell, Catherine E. Wagner, Ellinor Michel, Jonathan Todd and Colin Apse.
- Wildlife Conservation Co-Existence with Oil and Gas Mining: A Case Study From Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda. Paul Mulondo, Samuel Ayebare and Chris Bakuneeta.
- Status of Two Native Lake Victoria Tilapiine Species: Oreochromis esculentus and O. variabilis (Graham 1929) in Satellite Lakes, Tanzania. Musiba, Magreth J., E.W. Mlaponi, H.D.J. Mrosso, M.V. Elison, C.N.Ezekiel, C.A Mashafi, B.B. Kashindye and R.J. Kayanda.
- The Geographical and Genomic Structure of Endemic Fish Diversity in the Lake Victoria Basin. Ole Seehausen.
- Scenarios to Improve Ecological Service Delivery and Conservation Values in the Northern Nyasa Basin. David Williams and Godlisten Matilya.
Population Dynamics, Health and the Environment
- Population Dynamics, Health and the Environment: Results from Health of People and Environment-Lake Victoria Basin (HoPE-LVB) Project, 2011–2016. Sono Aibe, Antony Omimo and Dorah Taranta.
- Lessons from Scaling Up a PHE Model in Uganda and DRC. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Stephen Rubanga and Alex Ngabirano.
- Linkages Between Climate Variability and Change and Migration, Public and Reproductive Health in Lake Chilwa Basin in Southern Malawi. Benjamin Kaneka and Deepa Pullanikkatil.
- Increased Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Change Impacts: The Tuungane Project in Western Tanzania. Hellen Magige, Mustafa Kudrati, Sebastiaan Hess, Craig Leisher, Kristen Patterson, Peter Limbu and Amos Kahwa.
- The Power of PHE Integration in Wetland Rehabilitation: The Case of Integrated Wetland-Watershed Management in Ethiopia. Ahmed Mohammed.
- Multisectoral Integration and SDGs Implementation: Lessons from PHE Programming. Clive Mutunga.
- A Framework to Incorporate Environmental and Climate Change in Development Planning to Maximise the Potential of the Demographic Dividend in the African Great Lakes (AGL) Region. Bernard Onyango, Eunice Mueni and Eliya Zulu.
- What Is Population, Health, and the Environment and Why Is It Relevant for the Africa Great Lakes Region? Kristen P. Patterson.
Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture
- Can Fisheries Management in the Great Lakes of Africa Contribute to Achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals? Ian G. Cowx and Martin van Der Knapp.
- A Taskforce Approach for Sustainable Fisheries Management of Lake Victoria. Nancy Gitonga.
- Ecological Risks of Net Pen Aquaculture in North American and African Great Lakes: Can BMPs Be Shared? Robert E. Hecky, J.M. Dettmers, M.J.G.S. Gondwe, M.A. Macuiane and M. Ngochera.
- Integrated Approach to Managing Fisheries for Livelihood and Biodiversity Conservation in Southern Lake Malawi. Daniel Jamu, Dick Kachilonda and Alan Brooks.
- Dynamics of Fish Stocks and Commercial Fisheries in Lake Victoria, East Africa: Implications for Management. Robert Kayanda, Antony Taabu-Munyaho, Dismas Mbabazi, Herbert Nakiyende, Hillary Mrosso and Chrisphine Nyamweya.
- Food Security, Co-management and the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries. Jeppe Kolding, Paul van Zwieten, Michael J. Plank, Richard Law, Hans D. Gerritsen and David Reid.
- The Role of Collaborative Fisheries Management (CFM) on Lake Tanganyika: Lessons Learned from TNC Established BMUs on Tanzanian Coast. Peter Limbu, Colin Apse, Ismael Kimirei, Fatuma Sobo and Kaitira Katonda.
- Cage Culture in Lake Victoria - A Saviour or a Disaster in Waiting? James M. Njiru, Christopher M. Aura and John K. Okechi.
- Development of Best Practices for Cage Fish Farming to Increase Fish Production. Richard Ogutu-Ohwayo, Damien Desprez, Steve Donda, Friday Njaya, Kamondo Stephanie, Anthony Taabu Munyaho, Mujibu Nkambo, Laban Musinguzi, Vianny Natugonza and Philip Rwezawula.
- The Silent “Coup” on African Great Lakes as Small Pelagic Species Take Over Fisheries. Anthony Taabu-Munyaho, Laban Musinguzi, Chrisphine S. Nyamweya, Stéphanie Kamondo, Steve Donda and Richard Ogutu-Ohwayo.
- Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported Fishing on Africa’s Great Lakes. Martin van der Knapp.
- Fish and Fisheries in the Lake Malawi: An Assessment of Four Decades of Management Interventions. Olaf Weyl, Steve Donda, Mafaniso Hara, Friday Njaya and Denis Tweddle.
- Fishing with Impunity - Failure of Beach Management Units in Lake Victoria, Kenya. Ernest Yongo, Monica Owili, Kevin Obiero, Chris Nyamwea and Enoch Wakwabi.