The International Forum ‘Wetlands: Wise Use, Smart Plans’ held in Kigali, Rwanda from 8 to 13 July sought to develop new initiatives to meet the challenges of wetland management and capacity building in Africa.
While extensive knowledge on the causes of degradation and improved management and protection of wetlands exists, integration of knowledge, policy and action for the wise and sustainable use of wetlands remains a major challenge in Africa.
The Forum was jointly organized by the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, the Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA), the Ramsar Convention Secretariat and the Centre for Development and Innovation (CDI) of Wageningen University. We thank these organisations, and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Nile Basin Capacity Building Network (NBCBN), the Ramsar Centre for East Africa (RAMCEA), WacoWet, and NigerWet for financial support..
The participants interviewed below shared their perspectives on how research, policy and capacity building are improving wetlands management and shared their vision for promoting wise use of wetlands in Africa.
For more information on the forum, click here.
|Anada Tiega, Former Secretary General Ramsar Convention.”We always have different options available to us. It’s important to select the option that meets immediate needs and will serve longterm needs.’’ Read full interview|
|Kenneth Irvine, Chair Aquatic Ecosystem group UNESCO-IHE and main organizer of the Kigali Forum on Wetlands. “My vision for wise use of wetlands is there must be a connection between the three levels of policy from local, national to international. We need connectivity and to have a sophisticated dialogue, both up and down, so that people realize the vital role of wetlands’’Read full interview|
|Fabien Hountondji, Acting Coordinator for the Global Water Partnership, Benin.”Networking is essential to share best practices and learn from others. We don’t always need to import technologies, when there are best practices that are appropriate and can be adapted to a local context.”Read full interview|
|Lucy Iyango, Assistant Commissioner for Wetlands in charge of Wetland Assessment, Information and Management in Uganda.“In Uganda approximately 13 % of land surface area is covered by wetlands and therefore raising awareness and disseminating information that removes thinking that wetlands are wastelands is an important priority.’’ Read full interview|
|Paul Ouederago, Senior Advisor for Africa at the Ramsar Secretariat based in Gland, Switzerland.”We need a mechanism in Africa to influence policy. I propose that the Contracting Parties appoint six ambassadors representing the six sub regions of Africa to boost and mainstream wetland issues in strategies and policies at the regional level.”Read full interview|
|George Otiango Owiti, Principle, Kenya Wildlife Training Institute in Naivasha.”Capacity building means giving knowledge and skills and the right attitude so our trainees can go back home and accomplish their tasks.’’Read full interview|
|Emmie Chigamane, Inspector in the Department of Environment affairs , Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Management, Malawi.”We need to revisit our policies and we need to assess what we want for our future generation in Malawi. Let us use our wetlands wisely and sustainably for the economic development of our nation.”Read full interview|
|Paul Mafabi, Director for Environment, Affairs in Ministry of Water and Environment, Commissioner and head of the Wetland Management Department. Uganda.|
“Political will has been the key reason for the successful implementation of wetland conservation in Uganda. In 1986 our government put in place a ban on the drainage of wetlands, until a policy had been developed.”
|Nzula Kitaka, Water Scientist and Senior Lecturer at Egerton University, Kenya.|
”We advise researchers that despite having scientific documents and having good results, they need to translate this information into formats understood by local communities and policy-makers.”Read full interview
| Kaigamba Francoise, Environmental Management Specialist, working with the Nile Basin Initiative, Nile SAP.|
”When countries are not supportive of each other’s plans this can hinder any shared management plans. Our advice in the face of conflicting development and management plans, is that the two countries meet and consult.”Read full interview.