Inaugural meeting of Sectoral Council on Environment and Natural Resources set for 3 to 7 October
ARUSHA, Tanzania, September 30, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The inaugural meeting of the Sectoral Council on Environment and Natural Resources is set for 3 to 7 October 2011 at the Naura Springs Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania.
The first meeting is being convened following the establishment of the Sectoral Council on Environment and Natural by the Council of Ministers in May 2010 with the purpose of facilitating faster decision making and providing policy guidance on implementation of sectoral activities.
According to the Director for Productive Sectors, Dr. Caleb Nyamajeje Weggoro, the overall objective of the meeting is to consider the progress report on the implementation of the previous decisions and directives of the Council of Ministers and the Summit. The meeting will also review the progress on the implementation of other sectoral activities, and to provide policy guidance on other planned and emerging sectoral activities.
At the meeting, six Working Groups will consider specific agenda items that include issues on Policy, Legal and Institutional Frameworks; Climate Change; Aquatic Ecosystems; Terrestrial Ecosystems; Pollution Control; and lastly Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and Bio-Safety before convening into a plenary.
The emerging issues that will also be considered include the implementation of the African Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Hyogo Framework for Action; and consideration of the Terms of Reference for the development of an EAC Disaster Risk Management Strategy.
The meeting is expected to be attended by the relevant sector Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, CEOs, senior officials and technocrats.
Notes to Editors
The socio-economic development of the East African Community (EAC) is heavily dependent on environment and natural resources that the region is well endowed with. These include but are not limited to the following national and trans-boundary resources: land (agricultural and rangeland), water (freshwater and marine), fisheries, livestock, wildlife, forests, wetlands, coastal and marine environments, mountainous ecosystems, minerals resources, energy resources, and biological diversity (flora, fauna and micro-organisms).
The changing social, economic and environmental factors are having negative impacts on the management and conservation of environmental resources leading to environmental change and degradation. These include factors such as: unsustainable utilization of natural resources, increased frequency and intensity of environmental disasters, climate change, increased pollution levels, deforestation, high population growth, limited environmental awareness, weak policy, legal and institutional frameworks, limited technical capacity and skills and other factors that are both natural and manmade in nature.
To respond to these environmental challenges, the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC recognized Environment and Natural Resources Management as one of the areas of co-operation under Chapter 19 (Articles 111-114).
Partner States recognize that a clean and healthy environment is a prerequisite for sustainable development and agree to take concerted measures to foster co-operation in the joint and efficient management and sustainable utilization of natural resources within the Community.
In accordance with the Treaty, the Protocol on Environment and Natural Resources Management has been developed. The Protocol was signed by the Republic of Kenya, United Republic of Tanzania and Republic of Uganda on 3rd April 2006.
The aim of the Protocol is to promote and enhance cooperation amongst Partner States in the conservation and management of environmental and natural resources, adopt a common vision in addressing challenges of sustainable development, make concerted efforts to prevent and control environmental degradation.
The Protocol’s focus is on the following areas; trans-boundary natural resources; biological diversity and genetic resources; forest and tree resources, water, wetlands, coastal and marine, fisheries, minerals, energy, mountainous ecosystems, land and soil, rangelands, tourism and wildlife.
The Protocol also seeks to respond to the following environmental issues: desertification and droughts, climate change, protection of ozone layer, bio-safety and biotechnology, chemicals, waste and hazardous waste management, pollution, environmental standards, impact assessment and audits, military and hostile activities, and enhancing environmental education and capacity building, public participation, access to information and ecological justice, environmental disaster preparedness and management.
The Environment and Natural Resources Sector is currently served by the Sectoral Council on Environment and Natural Resources. There are six Working Groups of Experts established under the Sector. These are:
(i) Terrestrial Ecosystems;
(ii) Aquatic Ecosystems;
(iii) Pollution Issues;
(iv) Policy, Legal and Institutional Frameworks;
(v) Bio-safety ; and
(vi) Climate Change.
The following are some of the challenges facing the implementation of sectoral programmes and projects and other activities:
(i) inadequate financial resources to implement prioritized programmes, projects and activities in the sector and its sub-sectors;
(ii) limited institutional and technical capacity in terms of expertise;
(iii) partial ratification of the Protocol on Environment and Natural Resources Management.
East African Community (EAC)