The countries under the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL) are considering adopting the Lake Kivu and River Rusizi water resources integrated management framework.
CEPGL is comprised of Rwanda, DR Congo and Burundi, with the two water bodies connecting at least two of the member states.The framework will aim at protecting and managing the water resources.
Speaking at the meeting that brought together ministers responsible for energy, water and environment in CEPGL countries, Stanislas Kamanzi, Rwanda’s Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, said that the creation of the framework is an important milestone in economic development of the bloc.
“The framework will not only deal with protecting water resources but also promoting other aspects related to water, such as, hydropower generation, fishing, navigation, watershed management, irrigation and water supply,” he said.
Kamanzi stressed that L. Kivu and R. Rusizi contribute a lot towards hydropower generation in the region, adding that the waters are used by the surrounding communities for various activities such as fishing, irrigation, and transport among others.
“We want to safeguard our water resources through developing a coordination framework among the three states,” he said.
“We are considering a draft convention, upon finalisation it will be submitted to our cabinets and parliament before ratification.”
Jose’ E. B. Endundo, the DR Congo Minister of Environment, Conservation, Natural Resources and Tourism pointed out that there have been failures in managing the water resources due to poor coordination.
Burundian Minister of Water, Environment, Territory Management Jean Marie Nibirantije, stated that the framework will be an important step in effective water resources development in the region.
“With all the potential users, it is paramount to have a trans-boundary water resources authority to ensure fair allocation of the main resources, to prevent conflict and prepare actions related to effective watershed management,” he said.