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Regional Cooperation for Lake Tanganyika Conservation Takes Center Stage in Lusaka

The twelfth Lake Tanganyika Authority Management Committee Meeting commenced today at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka, Zambia. 

The event brought together representatives from the riparian countries of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Zambia to address critical issues related to the preservation and sustainable use of Lake Tanganyika and its basin.

In his keynote speech, Dr. Douty Chibamba, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment in Zambia, welcomed participants and emphasized the urgent need for collaborative efforts to address environmental degradation and development challenges in the region. 

The meeting comes at a crucial time when the riparian countries are grappling with issues such as seasonal flooding, environmental pollution, unsustainable resource utilization, biodiversity loss, and increased poverty.

Dr. Chibamba highlighted Zambia’s commitment to upscaling sustainable fisheries and forestry management initiatives, protecting fish breeding areas, and promoting conservation agriculture and wildlife management around Lake Tanganyika through the Lake Tanganyika Development Project. 

He expressed optimism that the Management Committee meeting would deliver substantive progress on various priority issues crucial for the region.

Key documents presented for review and refinement during the meeting included a report on the identification, characterization, and mapping of potential sites for cage aquaculture development, a draft protocol on aquaculture development, the draft 2024 annual work plan and budget for the Lake Tanganyika Authority, a report on key biodiversity areas, and audit reports for 2020 and 2021.

Dr. Chibamba encouraged members of the Management Committee to actively engage and present tangible recommendations to promote sustainable fisheries management, protect biodiversity, prevent pollution, and address excessive sedimentation in the lake. 

He also expressed Zambia’s willingness to collaborate with other riparian countries in implementing regional initiatives outlined in the updated Regional Strategic Action Programme.

The Permanent Secretary thanked cooperating partners, including Nature Conservancy, International Union for Conservation of Nature, the European Union, the African Development Bank, the Global Environment Facility, Enabel, Netherlands Development Agency, Germany Agency for International Cooperation, and others for their continued support in enhancing the ecological integrity of the Lake Tanganyika Basin.

The twelfth Management Committee meeting is a precursor to the eleventh Ordinary Meeting of the Conference of Ministers scheduled for November 17th, 2023, at the same venue. 

Dr. Chibamba officially declared the Management Committee meeting open and expressed his hope that participants would find time to explore tourist sites in Lusaka, showcasing Zambia’s commitment to environmental conservation.

The Lake Tanganyika Authority, established by the riparian countries, plays a crucial role in coordinating efforts to address environmental challenges and promote sustainable development in the Lake Tanganyika Basin. 

He stated that the ongoing meeting aims to foster regional cooperation and strategic planning for the conservation and responsible use of the lake’s resources.

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