Mapping for Sustainable Development
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The Director General, RCMRD, Dr. Emmanuel Nkurunziza hosted representatives from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Policy, Adaptation, Research and Economic Development (PREPARED), the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) at RCMRD for a consultative meeting on sustainable water resources in East Africa. The goal of the meeting was to discuss possibilities of a partnership on the Sustainable Water Partnership Project in the Mara River Basin water security pilot intervention. While welcoming the guests to RCMRD, Dr. Nkurunziza highlighted the history of the Centre, and the role that the institution is playing in development decision making. He noted that USAID has been a long-term partner of the Centre.

The meeting was informed that the SWP partnership aims at increasing resilience to water security risk in the Mara Basin, sub-basin and local catchment scale. The activity is designed to leverage on existing USAID and host country (Kenya and Tanzania) supported initiatives in safeguarding access to adequate quantities of acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being, socioeconomic development, and the protection of ecosystem services that underpin development objectives.

The SWP is keen on conducting a stakeholder-engagement process for consultations and needs assessment, identification of critical risks in the sub-catchments, development of a solid decisions base platform, institutionalization of a collaborative planning process, which should lead to development of robust water security measures. In addition, SWP hopes to leverage on existing opportunities to develop financing and partnership strategies to implement targeted measures to reduce vulnerability to priority risks both now and in the future.

In attendance during the discussion was Richard Volk and Jonathan Cook both of USAID, Washington, D.C., the Regional Climate Change Specialist-USAID-KEA, Ms. Chihenyo Kangara; the Chief of Party for the PREPARED Project, Dr. Scott McCormick; Dr. Annette Huber-Lee Senior Scientist from SEI; the Project Manager for SERVIR E&SA, Dr. Robinson Mugo; Tetra Tech’s John Parker; RCMRD Remote Sensing Officer Mr. Degelo Sendabo; SERVIR E&SA Science and Data Lead Anastasia Wahome and Denis Macharia the Climate and Weather thematic lead at SERVIR E&SA. Others were Dr. Kenneth Mubea the Capacity Development Lead at SERVIR E&SA; Joseph Murage the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at RCMRD/SERVIR E&SA; Kenneth Kasera the User Engagement Lead at SERVIR E&SA and Dorah Nesoba the Communications and Outreach Expert at RCMRD/SERVIR E&SA.

Together with its partners Tetra Tech, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), World Resources Institute (WRI), Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) led by Winrock International is developing comprehensive water security intervention strategies using locally owned solutions at the water basin, sub-basin and local catchment scales.

Mr. Parker emphasized that the key issues at the moment were stakeholder engagement, identifying critical risks as perceived by stakeholders in priority sub catchments in Kenya and Tanzania, defining the decision space (too much, too little and too dirty water), collaborative planning such as WEAP, HSPF and SWAT Watershed Models, scenario building, range of different water security options, planning processes to support learning and capacity building. Ms. Kangara reiterated the importance of linkages with key regional bodies such as the East African Community (EAC).

Dr. Nkurunziza stressed that the Centre is dedicated to providing leadership and advisory services for member States to deliver water and sanitation to their populations. He further noted that RCMRD is already engaging regional bodies like the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) and has a working relationship with the EAC. The meeting agreed that there will be follow up conversations to consolidate the discussions in the PREPARED and SERVIR E&SA work plans. See photos

Content for this article provided by Dorah Nesoba, Communications and Outreach Expert at RCMRD/SERVIR-E&SA

Photos by Gerald Omondi, RCMRD Webmaster

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