From 2 to 12 June 2023, Dr. Fu Chao and Dr. Li Li from the UNEP-IEMP Research Unite traveled to Uganda and Kenya and conducted field research and exchange activities on sustainable water resource utilization strategies in the Lake Victoria Basin (LVB). These activities were supported by an international cooperation project on "Sustainable Water Resources Utilisation and Integrated Lake Basin Management in the Great Lakes Basin of East Africa" under the National Key Research and Development Programme of China. The team presented and exchanged the project's preliminary research results and actively communicated with local researchers and managers, with the aim of formulating key strategies and policy recommendations for enhancing the multiple benefits of water resource utilization in the LVB.
The team first tripped to Entebbe and Kampala, Uganda and met with other project members to discuss water use and sustainable agricultural development in the LVB. During the trip, they visited the Uganda Aquatic Research and Development Centre (China-Uganda Friendship Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center) nearby Kampala, where they witnessed the innovative initiatives undertaken by the China-FAO-Uganda South-South cooperation project (Phase III) to enhance sustainable agricultural practices.
From Uganda, the team traveled to Nairobi, Kenya to attend a project workshop at the Sino-African Joint Research Centre (SAJOREC) located at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). The workshop brought together researchers from project participating institutions such as the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology (NIGLAS), Wuhan University, and Nanjing University, and project collaborators such as the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NAFIRRI) of Uganda, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI), JKUAT and Kenyatta University. The participants presented their research work, focusing on the themes of water resources monitoring data and watershed management techniques and policies in the East African Great Lakes region. Discussions ensued on effectively integrating scientific research with regional policies. Dr. Fu Chao presented case studies on household livelihoods and water use in the Mwanza region of Tanzania, highlighting the key role of integrated water resources management in promoting sustainable development in the region.
After the workshop, the UNEP-IEMP team alongside other project team members, continued to Kisumu, Kenya, where they visited the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) and the KMFRI Kisumu Centre. They briefed the institution representatives and researchers on the project's overall status and research priorities and to explore possible ways of aligning the research findings with their institutional mission and ongoing project activities. In addition, the project team visited local fishing communities and their fishing cooperatives to learn about the characteristics of the cage-fishery technologies they have been developing in recent years and to provide preliminary recommendations on related issues.
Through this visit, UNEP-IEMP and the entire project team deepened their understanding of water resources management challenges and opportunities in the LVB. They strengthened the links and communication channels with local institutions and researchers, laying a good foundation for further work in the region. The project team will continue contributing to resource and environmental management and prosperity in the region and beyond through collaborative research, knowledge sharing, and stakeholder engagement.