Water experts currently meeting in Kampala, Uganda have urged governments of the region to put more resources into the protection of forests and wetlands as they play a major role in eliminating water shortage.
In an exclusive interview with The New Times, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Professor Wangari Maathai, said that unless regional governments focus on educating the masses about the significance of natural resources, Africa will continue to suffer.
“It is absolutely important for African governments and civil society organizations, particularly in East Africa, to embark on educational process to let East Africans know the significant role forests, wetlands and swamps play in water conservation.
“One of the most effective strategies to ensure that there is water in this region is to protect natural forest ecosystem, watersheds, wetlands and rivers. If citizens do not understand these ecosystems, they will not protect them” Prof Maathai said.
She added that local communities and governments should not wait for the international community to initiate activities or bring money for activities to start.
“Whether money is provided or not, the leadership is responsible for the survival of its people. Africa, more especially East Africa needs, to seek solutions to their problems from their experiences rather than continue to borrow donations from others or to wait to be told what to do.
“The population should also be concerned but it is really the actions leaders take individually and collectively that will make the difference,” she noted.