Lake Victoria Basin Commission and the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization
a. The EAC Treaty and the LVBC Protocol
The main agreements governing the Lake Victoria Basin fall under the institutional umbrella of the East African Community (“EAC”), a regional intergovernmental organization comprised of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. The objectives of the EAC are to “develop policies and programmes aimed at widening and deepening co-operation among the Partner States in political, economic, social and cultural fields, research and technology, defence, security and legal and judicial affairs, for mutual benefit.” The EAC was established by the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community (the “EAC Treaty”), signed on 30 November 1999 in Arusha, Tanzania.
The Lake Victoria Basin Commission (“LVBC”) is a specialized institution of the EAC that developed from the EAC’s Lake Victoria Development Programme (“LVDP”), a mechanism established in 2001 to coordinate various interventions in the Lake Victoria Basin region and to turn the Basin into an economic growth zone. The EAC has designated Lake Victoria and its Basin as an area of common economic interest and a regional economic growth zone to be developed by the Member States.
Under Article 114(2)(b)(vi) of the EAC Treaty, the Member States agreed to establish a “body for the management of Lake Victoria.” Accordingly, the LVBC was established through the Protocol for Sustainable Development of the Lake Victoria Basin (the “LVBC Protocol”), which was signed on 29 November 2003 and ratified in December 2004.
The relationship between the LVBC Protocol and the EAC Treaty is governed by Article 47 of the LVBC Protocol, which states that the LVBC Protocol is “an integral part of the Treaty and in case of an inconsistency between [the] Protocol and the Treaty, the Treaty shall prevail.” The LVBC Protocol also states that the provisions of the LVBC Protocol “shall take precedence over any other existing agreements relating to Lake Victoria and in case any other agreement is inconsistent with [the] Protocol, it shall be null and void to the extent of its inconsistency.”
b. The LVFO
The Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (“LVFO”), another specialized institution of the EAC, was formed through the signing of the Convention for the Establishment of the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (the “LVFO Convention”) on 30 June 1994, which entered into force on 24 May 1996 and was amended in 1998. The purpose of the LVFO Convention is for the Member States to collaborate in the development and management of the fisheries of Lake Victoria. Before the LVFO Convention was signed, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (“FAO”) had been assisting in the management of the shared fisheries resources of Lake Victoria through a sub-committee of the Committee for Inland Fisheries of Africa (“CIFA”). This sub-committee was replaced by the LVFO when the LVFO Convention was signed.
Once the EAC Treaty came into force, the LVFO became a specialized institution of the EAC. Article 9(3) of the EAC Treaty established that various pre-existing organizations, including the LVFO, “shall be deemed to be institutions of the Community and shall be designated and function as such.”
c. Other Agreements
Apart from the agreements governing the LVBC and the LVFO, there are several other agreements affecting the Lake Victoria Basin. These agreements include:
- The Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project (“LVEMP”), signed in 1994 between Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the World Bank. This project is funded by the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility (“GEF”). The second phase of this project, LVEMP II, which was launched in April 2010, is coordinated by the LVBC.
- The Partnership Agreement on the Promotion of Sustainable Development in Lake Victoria (“Partnership Agreement”) between the EAC and the governments of Sweden, France and Norway, the World Bank and the East African Development Bank (“EADB”), signed in April 2001. Finland acceded to the Partnership Agreement in September 2010.
- The Nile River Basin Initiative (“NBI”), as the Nile River originates at Lake Victoria. The EAC signed a memorandum in 2006 with the NBI to ensure the efficient management of the Lake Victoria Basin.
There are also a number of other regional and local partnerships focusing on sustainable development of the Basin, such as OSIENALA (Friends of Lake Victoria), a Kenyan non-governmental organization (“NGO”) that collaborates with other NGOs and institutions in the region. See also Relationships.
The original Member States (Partner States) of both the LVBC and the LVFO are Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. As Rwanda and Burundi acceded to the EAC in 2007, they are being integrated as members into the LVBC and the LVFO.
The LVBC Protocol defines the Lake Victoria Basin as the “geographical area extending within the territories of the Partner States determined by the watershed limits of the system of waters, including surface and underground waters flowing into Lake Victoria.”
The LVFO Convention does not define a precise geographic scope for the LVFO, but the LVFO Convention aims to regulate Lake Victoria and its fisheries.
According to Article 34 of the LVBC Protocol, the LVBC is an institution of the EAC, as provided for in the EAC Treaty. Article 4 of the EAC Treaty granted the EAC legal capacity, including the capacity of a body corporate with perpetual succession. Under Article 9(4) of the EAC Treaty, “[t]he organs and institutions of the Community shall perform the functions, and act within the limits of the powers conferred upon them by or under this Treaty.”
As a specialized institution of the EAC, LVFO is also governed by Article 9(4) of the EAC Treaty. Furthermore, according to Article XVIII(1) of the LVFO Convention, the LVFO is “an independent intergovernmental organization having the capacity of a legal person to perform any legal act that is necessary or useful for the carrying out of its functions or for the exercise of its powers under this Convention.” Under this provision, the LVFO has the capacity to contract, acquire and dispose of property and to be a party to legal proceedings.
Article XVIII(2) establishes that each Member State shall grant such privileges, immunities and facilities to the LVFO as may be appropriate to enable the LVFO to carry out its activities, and such privileges, immunities and facilities to state representatives or intergovernmental organizations representatives performing official duties as may be necessary to enable them to perform such official duties.
Overall, the LVBC is responsible for coordinating the sustainable development agenda of the Lake Victoria Basin. Article 33(3) of the LVBC Protocol establishes that the “broad functions” of the LVBC are “to promote, facilitate and coordinate activities of different actors towards sustainable development and poverty eradication of the Lake Victoria Basin” through:
- Harmonization of policies, laws, regulations and standards;
- Promotion of stakeholders’ participation in the sustainable development of natural resources;
- Guidance on implementing sectoral projects and programs;
- Promotion of capacity building and institutional development;
- Promotion of security and safety on Lake Victoria;
- Promotion of research and development;
- Monitoring, evaluation and compliance with policies and agreed upon actions;
- Preparation and harmonization of the Member States’ negotiating positions against any other state on matters concerning the Lake Victoria Basin;
- Receipt and consideration of reports from the Member States’ institutions on their activities relating to the management of the Basin under the LVBC Protocol;
- Initiation and promotion of programs that target poverty eradication; and
- Performance of any other functions that many be conferred upon the LVBC under the LVBC Protocol.
The LVFO’s primary functions are to build cooperation among the Member States, to harmonize domestic laws and regulations for the sustainable use of the living resources of Lake Victoria, and to develop and adopt conservation and management measures. To this end, the LVFO is tasked with:
- Promoting the proper management and the optimum utilization of the fisheries and other resources of Lake Victoria;
- Enhancing the capacity building of existing institutions and developing additional relevant institutions, in cooperation with existing institutions and other international, regional and non-governmental organizations;
- Creating a forum for discussion regarding environmental and water quality initiatives affecting the Basin and maintaining a liaison with existing bodies and programs;
- Conducting research regarding water quality in Lake Victoria;
- Encouraging, recommending, coordinating and, as appropriate, undertaking relevant training and extension activities concerning the fisheries;
- Considering and advising on the effects of the introduction of non-indigenous aquatic animals or plants into Lake Victoria or its tributaries and adopting measures related to the introduction, monitoring, control or elimination of such animals or plants;
- Serving as a clearinghouse and databank for information on Lake Victoria’s fisheries and promoting the dissemination of information;
- Adopting budgets, seeking funding, formulating financial management plans and allocating funds for the LVFO’s activities or to activities of the Member States related to furthering the purposes of the LVFO Convention; and
- Undertaking such other functions as necessary or desirable to achieve the purposes of the LVFO Convention.
Article 34 of the LVBC Protocol establishes the organizational structure of the LVBC, noting that it is an institution of the EAC and shall operate within the organizational structure formed by the Sectoral Council, the Coordination Committee, the Sectoral Committees, and the Secretariat of the Commission.
The Sectoral Council, which consists of Ministers from the Member States, is the main policy and decision-making organ for the LVBC. It is charged with providing overall policy direction for the implementation of projects and programs in the Lake Victoria Basin. It is also responsible for, inter alia, guiding the implementation of development programs; developing regulations; issuing directives; making decisions and recommendations; approving the budget and work program of the LVFC; considering and approving measures to be undertaken by the Member States; formulating financial rules and regulations; and adopting annual progress reports from the Coordination Committee.
The Coordination Committee submits reports and recommendations to the Sectoral Council on the implementation of the LVBC Protocol and implements the decisions of the Sectoral Council as directed. It is also responsible for recommending the establishment of Sectoral Committees to the Council of Ministers of the EAC. The Coordination Committee also receives and considers the reports from the Sectoral Committees and assigns specific Sectoral Committees to deal with matters relevant to the Lake Victoria Basin. It meets at least twice a year preceding the meetings of the Council of Ministers of the EAC and may hold extraordinary meetings as necessary.
The Sectoral Committees are composed of senior officials in the Member States, the heads of public institutions, representatives of regional institutions, representatives from sectors covered under Article 3 of the LVBC Protocol (which establishes the scope of cooperation relating to the Lake Victoria Basin), and representatives from business, industry and civil society. The Sectoral Committees are in charge of coordinating regional activities and those of the “National Focal Points” (which are responsible for coordinating national initiatives related to the Basin); preparing for the comprehensive implementation of programs and setting priorities for the Basin; monitoring and reviewing the implementation of programs; and submitting reports and recommendations from the working groups and National Focal Points.
The Secretariat of the LVBC, which is located in Kisumu, Kenya, is charged with coordinating all activities within the scope of the LVBC Protocol. The Secretariat is also responsible for, inter alia: initiating the coordination and harmonization of policies and strategies related to the development of the LVBC; encouraging information and data sharing; convening meetings of the Sectoral Committees and other working groups; promoting research on sustainable development of the Lake Victoria Basin; submitting reports to the Sectoral Council through the Coordination Committee; undertaking the administration and financial management of the LVBC; mobilizing resources to implement projects and programs; developing a sustainable funding mechanism in order to promote sustainable development; and implementing the decisions of the Sectoral Council. The Secretariat also carries out other duties as may be conferred under the LVBC Protocol.
The Executive Secretary heads the Secretariat, and is appointed by the Council of Ministers of the EAC on a competitive and rotating basis. The Executive Secretary implements the work of the LVBC according to the policies and decisions of the Sectoral Council; submits reports on the work and the audited accounts of the LVBC to the Council of Ministers of the EAC; and acts as the accounting officer for the LVBC. The Executive Secretary serves a five-year term and is assisted by a Deputy Executive Secretary, who must be of a different nationality from the Executive Secretary and who serves a three-year term, renewable once.
The LVFO is made up of the following organs: the Council of Ministers, the Policy Steering Committee, the Executive Committee, the Fisheries Management Committee, the Scientific Committee (and any committees, subcommittees and working groups that may be established); and the Permanent Secretariat.
The Council of Ministers is the supreme body of the LVFO and is charged with making and adopting measures for the management and conservation of fisheries resources. The Council of Ministers consists of the Ministers in the Member States, or their authorized representatives, who are responsible for the fisheries. The delegation of Ministers from each Member State shall endeavor to include the heads of the departments that are responsible for fisheries management, fisheries research, environment, industry, and tourism. The Council of Ministers is headed by a Chairman, with the chairmanship rotating every two years among the Member States. The functions of the Council of Ministers include, inter alia: reviewing reports and recommendations submitted to it by the Policy Steering Committee regarding the status of the Lake Victoria fisheries and determining the policy of the LVFO; approving the budget and work program of the LVFO; determining the contributions of the Member States; adopting financial regulations; adopting amendments to the LVFO Convention; establishing other subsidiary bodies as appropriate; and adopting management and conservation measures concerning the Lake Victoria fisheries.
The Policy Steering Committee consists of the chief executive officers of the Ministries in each Member State that deal with fishery matters. It is responsible for reviewing and submitting recommendations concerning the Lake Victoria fisheries to the Council of Ministers. In addition, the Policy Steering Committee’s functions are to, inter alia: review reports and recommendations submitted by the Executive Committee regarding the Lake Victoria fisheries; prepare the sessions of the Council of Ministers; review the LVFO’s activities and report to the Council of Ministers concerning the work of the Secretariat and the various other bodies; negotiate memoranda of understanding or other formal agreements with other organizations or governments, subject to approval by the Council of Ministers; and review proposals on management and conservation measures to be adopted by the Council of Ministers.
The Executive Committee is comprised of six members from the Member States who are the heads of the departments responsible for fisheries management and the departments responsible for fisheries research, or their authorized representatives. The EAC Secretariat is also represented on the Executive Committee, but without voting rights. The Executive Committee is in charge of: reviewing management and scientific activities of the LVFO, agreeing on management measures to be implemented at the national level, and making proposals to be considered by the Policy Steering Committee and the Council of Ministers. In addition, the Executive Committee’s functions also include monitoring the implementation of management measures at the national and regional levels and submitting reports to the Policy Steering Committee and the Council of Ministers, as well as establishing relevant sub-committees and working groups as appropriate.
The Fisheries Management Committee is made up of the heads of the departments that are responsible for fisheries management in the Member States, or their authorized representatives. The functions of the Fisheries Management Committee include, inter alia: reviewing stock assessments and other fisheries data; identifying emerging problems in the fisheries in order to promote their long-term sustainability; developing objectives for constituent fish communities; evaluating the effects of proposed or accidental introduction of fish species and proposed management means; developing partnerships among the Member States, national agencies, and local communities; promoting the conservation of indigenous species; developing management policies that take into account biological, economic, social and environmental needs; and recommending measures regarding the management and conservation of living resources in Lake Victoria.
The Scientific Committee is made up of the heads of departments that are responsible for fisheries research in the Member States, or their authorized representatives. It is in charge of: developing and recommending to the Executive Committee research projects on Lake Victoria to be carried out by national agencies, universities, as well as other regional and international organizations; identifying requirements for the relevant research; evaluating the results of the research program; and developing and recommending certain standardized data collection and statistical methods.
Apart from these committees, there are several working groups that help to implement policies and activities under each of the LVFO programs. The working groups consist of experts from fisheries research and management institutions, as well as experts from fisheries training institutions, universities and civil society organizations who are specialists in specific program or thematic area. There are both National Working Groups and Regional Working Groups.
The Permanent Secretariat, which is located in Jinja, Uganda, is the executive organ of the LVFO. It is headed by an Executive Secretary who is responsible for ensuring that the work program and activities of the LVFO are coordinated and implemented according to the policies and decisions adopted by the Council of Ministers. The Executive Secretary, who is the chief executive and legal representative of the LVFO, is also responsible for organizing the sessions of the Council of Ministers, the Policy Steering Committee, the Executive Committee, and the meetings of all the other LVFO bodies. The Executive Secretary serves a five-year term, renewable once.
The LVBC Protocol calls for the Member States to cooperate with development partners and for the LVBC to cooperate with the objectives of the Partnership Consultative Committee, established under the Partnership Agreement between the EAC and its development partners, in promoting the development of the Lake Victoria Basin. The LVBC Protocol also recognizes the relationship between the Lake Victoria Basin and the Nile River Basin, and calls upon the Member States, negotiating as a bloc, to cooperate with other interested parties.
Moreover, before the LVBC Protocol took effect, the EAC had already formed partnerships with various organizations and governments. For instance, in April 2001, the EAC signed a Partnership Agreement with several of its development partners (i.e., Norway, Sweden, France, the World Bank and the EADB). The EAC has also signed Memoranda of Understanding with various institutions and governments, including the International Union for Conservation of Nature (“IUCN”), the Worldwide Fund for Nature – Eastern Africa Regional Programme Office (“WWF-EARPO”), and the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (“ICRAF”). See also Legal Basis.
There is also coordination between the Member States and the LVDP. The National Focal Points are the main links between the LVDP and the Member States, and are responsible for coordinating and harmonizing the activities related to the Lake Victoria Basin conducted by the various Ministries in the Member States, NGOs, special interest groups and other development partners.
Under Article XIX of the LVFO Convention, the LVFO must cooperate with other intergovernmental organizations and institutions, especially those that deal with fisheries and might contribute to the work of the LVFO. The Executive Secretary is empowered to establish working relationships with such organizations and institutions and may make such arrangements as are necessary to promote effective cooperation. All formal agreements or memoranda of understanding that are proposed must be approved by the Policy Steering Committee, subject to endorsement by the Council of Ministers. The LVFO is also obligated to maintain its working relationship with the FAO and to promote collaboration with other United Nations agencies.
Additionally, Article XII of the LVFO Convention provides for the granting of observer status to “States indirectly concerned with the living resources and the quality of the water resources of Lake Victoria.” Once granted observer status by the Council of Ministers, observer states may participate (without voting rights) in meetings of the LVFO bodies. The Policy Steering Committee and Executive Committee may also invite intergovernmental organizations, NGOs or any other entities with “special competence” in any of the LVFO’s activities to attend various sessions of the LVFO. See also Participation and the Role of Multiple Stakeholders.
The LVFO also collaborates with various fisheries agencies and institutions located in the Member States, as well as with private sector actors, NGOs, community based organizations, and other projects focused on the Lake Victoria fisheries, with the goal of promoting a healthy ecosystem and sustainable fisheries resource utilization, as well as the socio-economic development of the Lake Victoria Basin communities.
Under Article 35 of the LVBC Protocol, the Sectoral Council is the body within the LVBC that is charged with making decisions “in accordance with the provisions of [the LVBC] Protocol,” and is authorized to “promulgate its own rules and procedures of decision making consistent with the [EAC] Treaty.” Under the EAC Treaty, decisions of the Summit (which is composed of the Heads of State of the EAC Member States) and the Council of Ministers of the EAC are taken by consensus.
As the “supreme body” of the LVFO, the Council of Ministers is empowered with the highest level of decision-making authority under the LVFO Convention. It adopts its own rules of procedure and makes decisions, as much as possible, by consensus. In the absence of consensus, a matter can be decided by the Council of Ministers by a majority vote (with each Member State having one vote).
Article 46 of the LVBC Protocol provides the dispute resolution methods to be used when disputes arise between the Member States concerning the interpretation or application of the LVBC Protocol. First, the Member States must seek to resolve the dispute by negotiation. If negotiations fail, either Member State involved in the dispute or the Secretary General of the EAC may refer the dispute to the East African Court of Justice. The decision of the East African Court of Justice regarding the dispute shall be final.
Under Article XVIII of the LVFO Convention, disputes arising out of any agreement between the LVFO and any natural person or legal entity that cannot be settled by negotiation or conciliation, and for which the LVFO has not waived its immunity from legal process, will be submitted to arbitration in accordance with rules established by the Council of Ministers. In cases where immunity has been conferred upon a person under the LVFO Convention and such immunity would prejudice the interests of LVFO, that immunity is obligated to be waived by a Member State in the case of its representative, by the Council of Ministers or the Policy Steering Committee in the case of the Executive Secretary and the Deputy Secretary, and by the Executive Secretary in the case of other staff of the LVFO. See also Legal Personality.
Article XXIII of the LVFO Convention also calls for arbitration, upon the request of any Member State, in the case of a dispute concerning the application or interpretation of the LVFO Convention that cannot be settled by negotiation or conciliation. Each party to the dispute selects one arbitrator, and the two appointed arbitrators select a third, who will be the President of the arbitral tribunal. If one of the parties to the dispute has not appointed an arbitrator within two months of the appointment of the first arbitrator, or if the President of the arbitral tribunal has not been appointed within two months of the appointment of the second arbitrator, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers will appoint the relevant arbitrator. The decisions of the arbitral tribunal are final.
Article 24 of the LVBC Protocol discusses the exchange of data and information, mandating that the Member States, on a regular basis, “exchange readily available and relevant data and information on existing measures on the condition of the natural resources of the Basin.” If one Member State receives a request from another Member State for information that is not readily available, that Member State is obligated to use its best efforts to fulfill the request, but may condition its compliance upon receiving payment from the requesting Member State to cover the reasonable costs of collecting and processing the relevant data. The Member States are also charged with facilitating collaboration in research and on the exchange of data, reports and information among stakeholders within the Member States. However, the exchange of information or data does not extend to information that is protected under the laws of the Member States or any international treaty to which a Member State is a party. Additionally, one of the functions of the LVFC Secretariat is to establish a regional database and to promote the sharing of information and the development of information systems and data exchange.
In terms of harmonization, Article 6(2) of the LVBC Protocol requires the Member States to take steps to harmonize their laws and policies through the institutional framework established under the LVBC Protocol. Accordingly, one of the functions of the LVBC listed under Article 33(3) is to harmonize the policies, laws, regulations and standards of all of the Member States. More specifically, Article 14 requires the Member States to harmonize their laws and regulations in order to conform to the guidelines formulated by the LVBC regarding environmental audits for operators of facilities within the Member States that are likely to have a significant impact on the environment; Article 16(2) requires the Member States to “adopt standardized equipment and methods of monitoring natural phenomena;” Article 25(1) requires the Member States to harmonize their water quality standards; and Article 29 calls for the harmonization of infrastructure and services within the Member States.
Article II(2) of the LVFO Convention calls for the harmonization of national measures in order to promote the sustainable utilization of the living resources of Lake Victoria. However, the LVFO Convention specifies that it does not infringe upon each Member State’s sovereign powers regarding any of the areas covered by the LVFO Convention, and that each Member State remains free to adopt national laws that are more stringent or extensive than those required to fulfill its obligations to the LVFO. Under Article XIII of the LVFO Convention, the Member State agreed to implement the decisions of the LVFO’s governing bodies, in accordance with their respective constitution and national legal framework. The Member States also agreed to adopt laws and regulations prohibiting the introduction of non-indigenous species into Lake Victoria, other than in accordance with a decision by the Council of Ministers.
In terms of data sharing, each Member State is to provide the LVFO with access to “laws, regulations and all documents, data and reports pertaining to fish landings, stock assessments, living resources of Lake Victoria or any other matter which is the subject of resource management and utilization, and research” in furtherance of the objectives of the LVFO Convention. Additionally, each Member State must transmit to the LVFO an annual statement of the measures it has taken to implement the decisions of the Council of Ministers.
Article XIV of the LVFO Convention requires the Member States, when a research program has been authorized by the LVFO, to grant access to the research teams to their national territories and territorial waters.
One of the principles listed in Article 4 of the LVBC Protocol is the principle of prior notification concerning planned measures, which requires each Member State to notify the other Member States of planned activities within its territory that may have adverse effects upon the other Member States. This requirement is elaborated upon in Article 13, which requires the notifying Member State to provide technical data and information regarding the planned project in order to allow the notified Member States to conduct an evaluation of the effects of the planned measures. This notification is supposed to be followed by consultation among the Member States in regards to the planned measures.
In addition, Article 26 of the LVBC Protocol requires each Member State to notify potentially affected Member States, the LVBC, and other relevant international organization when there is an emergency originating in its territory.
The LVFO Convention names the Director-General of the FAO as the Depositary of the LVFO Convention, which requires the FAO to keep the Member States informed of changes in the status of the LVFO Convention and membership in the LVFO, as well as any other notifications received from the Member State governments.
Under Article XIII, the Executive Secretary is required to notify Member States of any decisions or recommendations that are adopted by the Council of Ministers. The Executive Secretary must also notify, upon the direction of the Policy Steering Committee or upon the request of observer states or organizations and with approval from the Policy Steering Committee, such observer states, organizations or other entities of decisions or recommendations adopted by the Council of Ministers. Each Member State must also send the LVFO an annual statement of the measures it has taken to implement the decisions of the Council of Ministers. See also Data Information Sharing, Exchange, and Harmonization.
The LVBC is funded from the EAC budget, stakeholders’ contributions, development partners and “other such sources as shall be established by the Council [of Ministers of the EAC].”
The Lake Victoria Environmental Trust Fund (“LVETF”) was established in July 2010, with the goal of raising funds to finance the LVBC’s environmental management and conservation activities in the region without relying on donors. It is expected to be operational by 2012. The LVBC expects those who use resources in the region, including industries that discharge industrial waste into Lake Victoria, as well as EAC Member State governments and NGOs focused on environmental conservation, among others, to contribute to the LVETF.
Article 5 of the LVBC Protocol, entitled “Equitable and Reasonable Utilisation of Water Resources,” contains standards for how each Member State is supposed to use the resources of the Lake Victoria Basin. The Member States are to use the resources of the Basin in their respective territories in an “equitable and reasonable manner,” and develop and use the water resources “with a view to attaining optimal and sustainable utilisation thereof and benefits therefrom, taking into account the interests of the Partner States.”
In determining what is reasonable and equitable use, the Member States are to keep in mind “all relevant factors and circumstances,” including, for instance, geographic and other natural factors, the social and economic needs of the Member States, the population dependent on the water resources in each Member State, the effects of the use of the water resources in one Member State on the other Member States, and the “comparative costs of alternative means of satisfying the economic and social needs of each Partner State.”
The Member States are also required, in their respective territories, to “keep the status of their water utilisation under review in light of substantial changes and relevant factors and circumstances,” and to cooperate with other interested parties, regional or international bodies and programs.
No specific provision.
Although one of the functions of the LVBC listed under Article 33(3) of the LVBC Protocol is the “monitoring, evaluation and compliance with policies and agreed actions,” there is no specific provision in the LVBC Protocol establishing a mechanism to monitor the Member States’ compliance. However, Article 45 obligates the Member States to periodically report on measures taken to implement the LVBC Protocol and the effectiveness of those measures in meeting the objectives of the LVBC Protocol. In addition, the Sectoral Committees are responsible for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of programs undertaken in the Lake Victoria Basin.
The Executive Committee is charged with monitoring the implementation, at the national and regional levels, of the management measures, and must report periodically to the Policy Steering Committee and Council of Ministers.
The LVBC Protocol defines stakeholders as “all persons, legal or natural and all other entities being governmental or non-governmental, residing, having interest or conducting business in the Basin.” The LVBC Protocol provides for stakeholder involvement in several areas. One of the principles enumerated under Article 4(2), for instance, is that of public participation and of having decisions about projects and policies take into account the views of stakeholders. This principle is reiterated in Article 22, which states that “[t]he Partner States shall create an environment conducive for stakeholders’ views to influence governmental decisions on project formulation and implementation.”
The LVBC Protocol also targets certain groups of stakeholders, such as women. Article 23 (“Mainstreaming of Gender Concerns”) requires the Member States to “promote community involvement and mainstreaming of gender concerns at all levels of socio-economic development, especially with regard to decision-making, policy formulation and implementation of projects and programmes.” But, “mainstreaming of gender concerns” is not defined in the LVBC Protocol. The LVBC Protocol also calls for gender equality in regards to development and decision-making and the integration of gender concerns in all activities in the Lake Victoria Basin.
Other areas of the LVBC Protocol involve information sharing and coordination with stakeholders. Article 21, for instance, requires the Member States to promote awareness of the sustainable development of the Basin through public education campaigns. Article 24(3) refers to the formation of a conducive environment for data sharing among stakeholders. Under Article 37, which governs the establishment and composition of the Sectoral Committees, the Member States are directed to establish “National Focal Points” responsible for coordinating national initiatives in the Basin and sharing information with the LVBC and other stakeholders. See also Data Information Sharing, Exchange, and Harmonization.
The LVFO provides for other interested states, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and other relevant entities to participate in and/or observe some of its activities. For instance, the LVFO Convention allows for the granting of observer status to interested states and allows any state interested in the activities of LVFO to be invited by the Policy Steering Committee to be represented by an observer at sessions of the Council of Ministers, the Policy Steering Committee or the Executive Committee. Intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, and other relevant entities may be invited by the Policy Steering Committee or the Executive Committee to attend certain sessions of the LVBC. The Executive Committee may also invite the designated representatives of key regional projects on Lake Victoria in the Member States to participate, without voting rights, in sessions of the Executive Committee. See also Relationships.
In terms of community and stakeholder engagement, the tasks of the Fisheries Management Committee include developing objectives for constituent fish communities and developing partnerships among the Member States, their agencies and the local communities. The LVFO has also partnered with organizations to host events geared towards stakeholders, including commercial fish farmers and fishing communities, such as the Fishing Expo Eastern Africa 2010, which was held in Kisumu City, Kenya in October 2010.
No specific provision.
The LVFO Convention will remain in force until two of the Member States withdraw. A Member State may withdraw from the LVFO Convention at any time after two years from the date the LVFO Convention entered into force, by giving written notice to the Depositary. The withdrawal will become effective at the end of the calendar year following the year in which the notice of withdrawal was received by the Depositary.
Numerous provisions in the LVBC Protocol are focused on the Member States preserving and sustaining the environment of the Lake Victoria Basin. Several of the principles enumerated in Article 4 are focused on sustainable development and environmental monitoring, with a number of these principles being elaborated upon in greater detail later in the LVBC Protocol. For instance, Article 16 governs environmental monitoring and precautionary measures; Articles 17 and 18 deal with the application of the “Polluter Pays” and “User Pays” principles, respectively; and Articles 19 and 20 both deal with pollution prevention.
The seat of the LVFO, according to Article III(1) of the LVFO Convention, is in Uganda. The LVFO Convention includes a Headquarters Agreement, which sets out additional rights and obligations of the host Member State. The Headquarters Agreement is attached as an Annex to the LVFO Convention and is considered an integral part of the LVFO Convention. The Headquarters Agreement requires Uganda to grant certain privileges, immunities and facilities to the LVFO and to official representatives, the Executive Secretary, the Deputy Executive Secretary and other staff of the LVFO. It also requires the LVFO to cooperate with Ugandan authorities in order to facilitate the administration of justice, secure the observance of police regulations, and prevent any abuse of the privileges, immunities and facilities conferred under the LVFO Convention or the Headquarters Agreement. The Headquarters Agreement also includes several specific provisions concerning Uganda’s obligations as the host Member State, such as the provision of equipment and facilities for the LVFO.
- East African Community - Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), available at http://www.eac.int/lvdc.html.
- LVBC - Lake Victoria Basin Commission, available at http://www.lvbcom.org/.
- Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization, available at http://www.lvfo.org/.
- Osienala – Friends of Lake Victoria, available at http://www.osienala.org/.
- Big Fish – Small Fry: Globalisation of Lake Victoria Fisheries, available at http://www.lake-victoria.info/.
- World Bank - Transboundary Water Management: Lessons from Recent Projects and Programs, available at http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTWAT/Resources/4602122-1213366294492/5106220-1213649450319/5.6.1_Transboundary_Water_Management.pdf.
- Gerson Fumbuka, Lake Victoria Basin Commission from IWRP on Vimeo. — by Christian Ledermann — last modified Oct 27, 2013 09:06 AM
Depending on the project scope the treaty may not be applicable to all projects
- Marine and Coastal Environment Management Project (MACEMP)
- Western Indian Ocean Marine Highway Development and Coastal and Marine Contamination Prevention Project
- Pollution Control and Other Measures to Protect Biodiversity of Lake Tanganyika (LTBP)
- Development and Protection of the Coastal and Marine Environment in Sub-Saharan Africa (CMEA)
- Partnership Interventions for the Implementation of the Strategic Action Programme (SAP) for Lake Tanganyika
- LME-AF Strategic Partnership for Sustainable Fisheries Management in the Large Marine Ecosystems in Africa (PROGRAM)
- Addressing Land-based Activities in the Western Indian Ocean
- Demonstrating and Capturing Best Practices and Technologies for the Reduction of Land-sourced Impacts Resulting from Coastal Tourism
- Programme for the Agulhas and Somali Current Large Marine Ecosystems: Agulhas and Somali Current Large Marine Ecosystems Project (ASCLME)
- Kenya Coastal Development Project
- First South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Governance and Shared Growth Project (SWIOFish 1)
- SIP-Equatorial Africa Deposition Network (EADN)
- Lake Victoria Environmental Management
- Nile Transboundary Environmental Action Project, Phase I
- SIP-Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project II
- Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis and Strategic Action Program Development for the Lake Victoria Basin
- Implementation of the Strategic Action Programme for the Protection of the Western Indian Ocean from Land-based Sources and Activities
- Regional Dialogue and Twinning to Improve Transboundary Water Resources Governance in Africa
- Mainstreaming Groundwater Considerations into the Integrated Management of the Nile River Basin
- Western Indian Ocean LMEs Strategic Action Programme Policy Harmonization and Institutional Reforms SAPPHIRE Project
- Sustainable Groundwater Management in SADC Member States
- Removal of Barriers to the Introduction of Cleaner Artisanal Mining and Extraction Technologies
- Lakes Edward and Albert Integrated Fisheries and Water Resources Management Project
- Southwest Indian Ocean Fisheries Project (SWIOFP)