Researchers, scientists team up to solve problems affecting African lakes

Long shot of Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania. [Courtesy]

A contingent of experts entailing scientists and researchers will soon be teaming up to come to discuss and find solution to various ecological and environmental issues affecting the African Great Lakes.

This will be under the partnership between the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the African Centre for Aquatic Research and Education (ACARE).

Announced on September 15, 2020, the partnership is touted as the turning point to alleviating problems facing the water bodies in Africa. It will focus on alleviating algal problems, mitigating effects of climate change, handling fragile fisheries and rectifying the problem of invasive species. The experts in these partnerships will include a group of people with experience drawn from North America and Africa.

Speaking during the launch, the Chairman of ACARE Board of Directors Dr Kevin Obiero lauded the partnership saying it is a step forward to solving the challenges facing the lakes in the African continent. He discouraged the culture of waiting for action from the governments saying most state agencies take time to come up with remedial measures facing the environment and ecosystem.

“We have recognized that no one organization, institution, or even country, can address the challenges that our global freshwater resources face. It is essential, therefore, to strengthen collaborations for leveraging the combined skills, assets, technologies and resources of public, private and non-profit entities to deliver sustainable instruction, guidance, and research to protect these resources,” said Dr Obiero.

He further said that this is a step forward because it will shape policy formation and prosperity in the near future.

“Partnering with the International Institute for Sustainable Development will enhance our ability to strengthen science and positively affect policy and management on these critical resources and provide the experience of working with the global scientific community.”

On his part, Executive Director of IISD-ELA Dr Matthew McCandless said ‘ACARE has created a world class, highly collaborative network of experts on each of the African Great Lakes.’

He further revealed that the two organisations have enough resources to enable them accomplish the mission of ensuring research and problem solution in the lakes.  

“Resources from IISD and ACARE’s combined networks will allow us to accomplish three long-term goals: strengthening global and regional research partnerships; facilitating existing, and creating new, transboundary and inter-jurisdictional lake advisory groups; and, strengthening capacity of freshwater scientists through experiential education and public engagement,” said McCandless.

However, the partnership does not involve only two organisations. It will encompass the efforts of various African structures that are dealing with the research and problem solution in the lakes. The countries of target include Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

A press release by IISD revealed that the operations have been structured into faces and authorities handling various lakes have been roped in to ensure the exercise runs smoothly.

It partly reads: “During its first year, the new partnership will boost the activities of six Advisory Groups that were created to address issues on each of the African Great Lakes (considered to be Lakes Albert, Edward, Kivu, Malawi/Nyasa/Niassa, Tanganyika, Turkana, and Victoria).

It further states: “Members of each group are harmonizing priorities on the lakes to advance scientific inquiry, monitoring, climate change, and education and training, among other issues.”

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