ARUSHA, Tanzania – African states must develop and implement mountain-specific policies and laws and mainstream sustainable mountain development in their national development agenda.
This was the main outcome of the first Africa Mountains Regional Forum that ended in Arusha. It was organized by the East African Community in partnership with Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS) and the Africa Mountain Partnership Champions Committee (AMPCC).
The Principal Environment and Natural Resources Officer, East African Community, Wivine Ntamubano, said, “The East African Community’s emphasis is for the protection and conservation of shared, trans-boundary, environment, natural resources and ecosystems that call for common approaches and collective measures.
“Trans-boundary Mountains in the region include the Mt. Elgon, which bestride Kenya and Uganda; the Virunga range shared by Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo and Mt. Rwenzori at the border of Uganda and DR Congo.
Mountains are the water towers of the world, supplying half the world’s population with fresh water for drinking, domestic use, irrigation, industry and hydropower. Given the growing scarcity of water resources, experts say integrated and proper management of mountain water resources should become a global priority.
“The mountain places across Africa are under attack because of the belief that the closer you are [to the mountain], the better the status that you have,” said Lazaro Nyalandu, the Tanzanian Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism at the closing ceremony.
Nyalandu said they invited Members of Parliament from Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions to discuss the creation of the Mt. Kilimanjaro and Meru Ecosystem Protection Fund.
He said something has to be done, if they want to protect the ecosystem.
The forum was attended by over one hundred participants from over 20 different African countries formally established the African Mountain Forum as the main coordinating body to promote the sustainable mountain development agenda in Africa.
Courtesy of busiweek.com