International Law Of Natural Resources And Energy Environmental Sciences Essay

Has the Absence of a consonant Regulatory Framework been an Hindrance to the Effective Management of Lake Victoria Basin Water Resources? ABSTRACT: The riparian provinces environing the Lake Victoria Basin Water Resources have attempted the constitution of different policies and establishments to cover with the predominating environmental concerns. However small success has been achieved partially due to the political and socio-economic involvement but mostly as a consequence of the disconnected machineries developed for that intent. This paper seeks to analyse to what extent deficiency of a common and comprehensive mechanism has affected the effective direction of Lake Victoria Basin Water Resources ( LVBWR ) by critically analyzing the legal model, their successes and defects.

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EAC East African Community

EAFRO East African Fresh Water Research Organization

EMCA EnvironmentalA ManagementA andA Coordination ActA

GEF Global Envoronmental Facility

LV Lake Victoria

LVBC Lake Victoria Basin Commission

LVDP Lake Victoria Environment Management Programme

LVFO Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization

LVRLAC Lake Victoria Region Local Authorities Co-operation

UNECA United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

UNEP United Nations Environmental Programme

UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

1.0 Introduction

Lake Victoria ( LV ) is one of the critical and strategic shared resources in the east African sub-region supplying enormous economic benefits to the riparian provinces along its basin. However, there have been turning environmental concerns about the mode in which the lake has been, and is being exploited. These scope from the debut of invasive species, the devastation of acquatic life, pollution and lessening in H2O degree which have progressively threathened the socio-economic wellbeing and development of the sub-region.

Although policies and establishments have been put in topographic point to turn to these ecological jobs, non much success has been achieved due mostly to deficiency of a incorporate legal and institutional model for the proper co-ordination and direction of the Victoria Lake Basin. For case, while some facets of direction like pollution are controlled at the national degrees, others like piscaries preservation are managed and co-ordinated at the regional degree and in some instances, there is an imbrication or duplicate of maps between the national and regional establishments ensuing in the hapless execution of policies. This is further compounded by the viing involvements among the riparian provinces to deduce the maximal economic additions from the lake.

It is against this background that recent attempts aimed at harmonising environmental ordinances through the re-establishment of East African Community ( EAC ) , confirmation of the EAC pact by Partner provinces ( PS ) in add-on to the creative activity of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission ( LVBC ) are seen as a welcome development that may supply a long-run solution in the direction and use of the Lake Victoria Basin H2O resources. Whether this outlook is far-fetched is left to be seen.

This paper is therefore an effort to analyze the extent to which the absence of consonant regulative and institutional model has been an hindrance to the effectual direction of the Lake Victoria Basin H2O resources. In making this, the paper is divided into five chapters. Chapter one is an debut. Chapter two gives an overview of Lake Victoria Basin Water Resources ( LVBWR ) with accent on the human ecology of the part, the ecological background every bit good as the geo-political significance of the lake to the riparian provinces. Chapter three looks at the legal governments regulating the direction of the Lake Victoria Basin. Chapter four determines how expeditiously or otherwise the current legal governments have dealt with these environmental jobs, and whether the deficiency of a unvarying model has been an obstruction forestalling the effectual direction of the Lake Victoria Basin. The decision follows thenceforth in Chapter five.


Lake Victoria is a trans-boundary organic structure of H2O that runs through the common basin of several provinces normally referred to as the riparian provinces. It is hence non merely strategic economically but besides has some far-reaching socio-political effects on the lives of the Partner States ( PS ) . Some of these effects are discussed below.

2.1 Geo-political Significance of the Lake to the Region

The significance of the Lake Victoria Basin to the riparian provinces in both economic and socio-political respects can non be over-emphasized. Because the lake straddles the international boundaries of more than one province there is a inclination for these provinces to over-exploit the shared resources in the lake to their ain advantage non merely in an unsustainable mode but in a manner that places other provinces at disadvantage. This is more so given that the national involvements and precedences of single provinces differ, and in a command to work the shared resources of the lake one province may unwittingly pique another province[ 1 ]conveying the inquiry of sovereignty to the bow. This can be a baffling issue politically and may ensue in diplomatic clash.

2.2 Demography of the Region

The dwellers of the part are about 30 million, turning at the rate of 3 %[ 2 ]. Predominating poverty degree, urban migration and unequal healthful comfortss has led to clustered colonies lending to environmental debasement and unsustainable use of H2O, ensuing in assorted diseases. Poverty is worsened by the inability of the locals to vie with the sophisticated fishing methods used by foreign fishermen. This has significantly reduced income.

2.3 Ecological background.

Lake Victoria is the 2nd largest fresh water lake in the universe with its shorelines bordered by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda ( Partner States ) . It is shallow, with a surface country mensurating about 68,635km2, comprehensiveness is about 320 km2, length about 400km, and its uneven shorelines adding up to some 3,300km in length. It is the beginning of the white Nile[ 3 ]. Lake Victoria has over the old ages suffered considerable force per unit area from overfishing, general environmental debasement and the debut of invasive species. These elements will be considered below.

Fisheries: A instance of assorted approvals.

Prior to the debut of the Nile perch ( lates niloticus ) around the late 1950 ‘s, there were different species of fish endemic to the lake which the Nile Perch preyed on. This caused extinction and ecological instability in the piscaries[ 4 ]. However, the commercial development of the Nile perch led to an economic roar in the part, making income and employment. It is estimated that the one-year income in the twelvemonth 2001 is about US $ 100 million[ 5 ]. This windfall nevertheless, resulted in competitory and unsustainable fishing of both matured and juvinile fish go forthing no room for reproduction.

Water Level and Climatic factors

The lake informants two rainfalls annually. It is presently experiences an dismaying lessening in H2O degree ( WL ) which is materially influenced by climatic factors and dwellers ‘ activities. The consequence of clime is apparent in the interplay of annually rainfall and vaporisation rates[ 6 ]. Therefore, decrease in rainfalls, change in air current forms, increased temperature, etc all combined to hold negative effects on the Water Level.

The human factor besides takes its ain toll on the lake. A good illustration is the usage of the H2O for hydro-power coevals by Uganda at its Jinja dike, which supplies a great trade of the state ‘s electricity[ 7 ]. The bead in H2O degree affects aquatic life, transit and dikes operations[ 8 ].

Environmental debasement

The deteriorating H2O quality of the lake is attributed to pollution caused by point beginnings such as industrial wastes from fabric industries and excavation sites in Tanzania[ 9 ]and besides community sewerage which is frequently untreated, and non-point beginning from agro-chemicals that flow from farming areas and carnal waste[ 10 ]. These are the major supplies of N and phosphoric that nourishes and intensifies algal roar which prevent solar radiation degree thereby impacting photosynthesis.

Wetlands are a component of the basin. They serve as filters to the air and H2O[ 11 ]that go into the lake from toxic substances. They are besides a habitation for some species of fish[ 12 ]and wildlife. However, most have been turned into farming areas and sand mines[ 13 ].

The H2O jacinth, an invasive weed is another challenge to the lake. It uses up the limited O available for aquatic life and exacerbates H2O pollution[ 14 ], this is more so because tropical lakes are known to hold low O degrees due to high temperatures[ 15 ]. The consequence of all the above is the depletion of the O degree and attendant loss of aquatic life as is obvious in the decrease of fish gimmick.

It is besides ill-famed for its ability to halter pilotage and hydro-power operations.

2.4 Consequence of the Basin on Regional Politicss

The typical quality of shared natural resources is the political relations involved in its direction[ 16 ]. Although most struggles are between local users and sometimes with foreign fishermen, illustrations abound where the development of the resources in the Victoria Lake Basin led to some signifier of struggles. For case, Kenya and Tanzania both alleged that Uganda increased its flow of H2O both for its hydropower and into the Nile to fulfill Egypt ‘s and Sudan ‘s lifting demand[ 17 ]in surplus of the measure allowed by the ‘Agreed Curve ‘ ( AC ) , an International understanding entered into between Egypt and Uganda to keep the natural degree of the lake[ 18 ]. This has caused some dissaffection among them because of its consequence in cut downing H2O degree. Regularly, Kenyan fishermen were harrased by Ugandan constabularies which culminated in the prohibition of Kenyan fishermen from angling on the side of Uganda in 2001. This forced spouse provinces into series of duologue to organize usage of licenses for multinational fishing[ 19 ].

The recent difference over ownership of the migingo island on lake Victoria is non merely a boundary issue but an effort to claim a larger fishing country[ 20 ]. This possible beginning of struggles inquiries the hereafter of regional integrating.


The spouse provinces have over the old ages developed different regulative models and established establishments that both identify and concentrate on the direction of environmental concerns of the catchment country.

3.1 Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization

Collaborations for the preservation of Lake Victoria ‘s living resources dates back to 1947 with the constitution of East African Fresh Water Research Organization ( EAFRO )[ 21 ]. This was followed by the creative activity of more direction organic structures. In 1994, nevertheless, the riparian provinces signed a Convention making the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization ( LVFO ) , A an inter-governmental organisation, with a authorization to advance co-operation amongst member provinces, harmonising national ordinances, and planing steps for the preservation and sustainable development of living resources of Lake Victoria[ 22 ]. Its undertakings include measuring stocks, apportioning allowable gimmick, monitoring and implementing fishing ordinances.

3.2 Lake Victoria Environment Management Programmes

The riparian provinces in 1994 signed a three-party understanding, towards the direction of the Lake Victoria Basin Water Resources by explicating the Lake Victoria Environment Management Programme ( LVEMP ) with the purpose of safeguarding the sustainable use of H2O resources and synchronising direction programmes of the part in order to maximise benefits to the communities and every bit much as possible contrary the worsening environmental conditions[ 23 ]. The programme is funded by the Global Environmmental Facility and the World Bank[ 24 ].

The programme is in two phases LVEMP I and II. The first stage, which was implemented in 1997 was for five old ages and it involved capacity edifice, direction of piscaries, wetlands, H2O quality and H2O jacinth control[ 25 ]. This was achieved through Partner provinces ‘ national offices: ‘Environment and Natural Resources in Kenya ; Water, Lands and Environment in Uganda and ; Water and Livestock Development in Tanzania, designated as the maneuvering commission ‘[ 26 ].

LVEMP II focuses on ‘research, socio-economic development ‘ and puting up machinery that would help in efficaciously organizing developmental programmes and reenforcing bing establishments. It merely aims at developing long-run mechanisms[ 27 ]. The programme started in 2009 to stop 2013.

The Lake Victoria Water Resources Programme ( LVWRP ) was developed to place the several involvements of the riparian provinces with a position to harmonising them and promoting coaction that will further a sustainable H2O resources direction, capacity edifice, and the puting up of a monitoring and information construction to enable proper projection for the lake ‘s H2O[ 28 ].

3.3 East African Community Treaty

The EAC pact was foremost signed in 1967 but was rendered impotent as a consequence of struggle of involvements amongst the riparian provinces. The pact was nevertheless revived, signed in 1999 and came into force in 2000[ 29 ]. The pact established a organic structure corporate aimed at advancing co-operation for a sustainable and balanced development of spouse provinces ( PS ) through the harmonisation of policies. The pact is the most comprehensive papers that has addressed non merely environmental issues endangering the lake and its catchment country,[ 30 ]but besides development of natural resources and steps that can be applied in order to pull investing. The EAC pact designated the part as an ‘Economic Zone ‘ .

3.4 Lake Victoria Basin Commission

The Partner States in 2003 signed a Protocol for the Sustainable Development of Lake Victoria Basin and ratified it in 2004. The protocol established the Lake Victoria Basin Commision which is responsible for organizing all bing programmes, directing the direction of the Lake Victoria Basin Water Resources, preservation and sustainable development of the resources of the part. Its map include among others, harmonising ordinances[ 31 ]. It is viewed as the vehicle for the realization of the EAC ‘s vision of Lake Victoria as an ‘economic zone ‘[ 32 ].

3.5 National Regulations

In 1994, all the Partner States created a National Environmental Action Plan ( NEAP )[ 33 ]with a position to commanding pollution in both Waterss and their basins[ 34 ]. Although anterior to this, single Partner States have had their ain environmental statute laws but non much was achieved in footings of guaranting a harmonious use of the shared H2O resources of the Lake Victoria Basin. For illustration, Kenya had an bing environmental jurisprudence in topographic point, but it lacked a comprehensive Water direction mechanism except the 1952 Water Policy which deals merely with H2O measure outflow[ 35 ]. It besides had the lake Basin Development Authority Act, enacted to command and guarantee the proper use of resources[ 36 ]. Similarly, Uganda established the National Environmental Management Authority ( NEMA ) among others, to pull off and command the use of environment[ 37 ]. It hence goes without stating that the absence of an harmonious or incorporate legal government for the proper direction and use of the shared resources in the Lake Victoria Basin remains the biggest challenge that must be addressed.

4.0 Challenges of a Fragmented Regulatory Framework

As already noted, the absence of a incorporate legal government for a coordinated direction of the shared resources of the Lake Victoria Basin present some challenges. One major challenge is the possible for regional struggle or diplomatic clash. This is more so given that the national involvements and precedences of single provinces differ. There is besides the challenge of duplicate of attempts and institutional duties by the assorted bureaus established by the Partner States, each with the primary intent of protecting its ain national involvement.

4.1 How far Has The Legal Regime fared?

The LVEMP I achieved comparative success in commanding the invasive jacinth, which were conducted either manually, automatically utilizing H2O weed reapers or biologically by let go ofing weevils into the H2O to fed on the works. It took stairss towards sensitising the local community about preservation demands and has demarcated closed fishing countries[ 38 ]to let for enlisting of more fish.

In malice of the above, the effectivity of the programme still leaves much to be desired given the fringy success that was recorded which is partially attributable to inadequate support occasioned by administrative bureaucratisms of the World Bank and non less the Partner States. Furthermore, most of the direction programmes were for a limited period. For case, the LVWRP ended in 1999, LVEMP in 2002 and it took about seven old ages before the beginning of LVEMP II in 2009. There is therefore, deficiency of continuity.

Furthermore, LVWRP lacked the needed installations to transport out its programmes[ 39 ]. Kenya ‘s multiple and overlapping environmental ordinance which existed until the creative activity of EnvironmentalA ManagementA andA Coordination ActA ( EMCA )[ 40 ]in add-on to the deficiency of political will of the authorities made enforcement hard.

4.2 Unified versus Fragmented Legal Regimes

In this subdivision, efforts will be made at comparing a incorporate as against a disconnected legal government. It is the contention of this writer that there is more to derive from a unified than a disconnected legal and institutional model.

The absence of a incorporate legal and institutional model for the effectual direction and usage of a common resource peculiarly where the national involvements and precedences of the States differ could be a formula for difference between provinces. A few instances in point are the alleged over-release of H2O by Uganda and the claim of ownership over migingo island. The former was viewed as clear indicant of Ugandan ‘s reluctance to follow with the regulations sing care of H2O degree because of its involvement in abstracting H2O for hydropower[ 41 ]. This action pitched Uganda against the other Partner States who were affected. Unsustainable fishing patterns is besides a consequence of the above.

Furthermore, it has been observed that the absence of a incorporate and comprehensive ordinance and enforcement tools could ensue in one Partner State ‘s direction scheme underselling the preservation and direction policies of the others, thereby endangering the development and beginning of gross of the whole catchment country[ 42 ]. Other disadvantages of disconnected legal governments manifest in assorted ways. For illustration, it has been reported that in position of the figure of participants involved, research duplicate and non-communication among the assorted organic structures is going common experience[ 43 ]. The deficiency of exchange of information can impede multinational support[ 44 ].

On the other manus, holding a incorporate legal model will further harmonious and sustainable use of the Lake Victoria basin. It will besides advance inter-states dealingss. A incorporate legal and institutional model does non merely have environmental advantage but besides political and socio-economic additions. The creative activity of EAC and LVBC as common and comprehensive mechanisms covering with all issues sing the development of the lake and its catchment would be a more feasible option[ 45 ]. This requires some via medias every bit good as political will on the portion of Partner States.

4. 3 The Way Forward

The point has been made that bit-by-bit direction of the Lake Victoria Basin has hampered the effectual and sustainable use of the H2O resources and its basin. The environmental jobs of lLake Victoria basin are so interrelated such that a sectoral attack can non satisfactorily trade with them, but can supply a footing for cooperation to accomplish a comprehensive construction[ 46 ].

The manner frontward will be to harmonize the assorted legal and institutional models. In this respect, the constituted cardinal organic structure EAC, supported by a pact to pull off the development of the shared resources in the Lake Victoria Basin is a positive development. This class of action would efficaciously pull off the viing utilizations of the transboundary resource particularly if established on a strong scientific information[ 47 ].


The Lake Victoria Basin Water Resource is a individual unit and must be treated as such. It is non merely utile for its economic benefits but it is a important beginning of nutrient and H2O for the public along the basin.

Unfortunately, the Lake Victoria Basin has over the old ages been subjected to some signifier of abuse and neglect ensuing in amendss to wetlands, devastation of the acquatic life and pollution of the Waterss which have been exacerbated by the rapid growing in population of the part. Although, attempts were made by individul Partner States through assorted regional and national statute laws and policies to modulate the usage of the lake within their assorted legal powers, non much success was recorded because they are fragmented.

In a nutshell, it is therefore safe to reason that the absence of consonant regulative and institutional model has, to a great extent been an hindrance to the effectual direction and use of the Lake Victoria Basin H2O resources. Recent events show that even the Partner States are get downing to recognize that the demand for common cooperation and dependance can non be over emphasized as the financess and engineering required to set about any monitoring and observation confirmation[ 48 ]for effectual direction requires joint attempt.

Consequently, the riparian provinces in acknowledgment of the demand for a collaborative attempt towards a more sustainable development of the Lake Victoria Basin natural resources re-established the EAC backed by a pact and put up the LVBC as a superintending authorization over the activities of the basin. It is hoped that this concerted attempt will convey about some synergism in the use of the lake.

It is besides hoped that if all parties act in good religion, this concerted interaction can, no uncertainty increase committedness, strengthen bilateral bonds and common trust among the Partner States[ 49 ].


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