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Lake Kivu and Ruzizi River Project // GIZ Hosts Strategic Action Plan Stakeholder Kickoff Workshop for the sustainable management of the Lake Kivu and Ruzizi River basin

This article presents the results and conclusions of the Stakeholder Kickoff Workshop for the development of a Strategic Action Plan for the Lake Kivu and Ruzizi/Rusizi River Authority (ABAKIR), which took place on September 22, 2021 in Rubavu, Rwanda. As a result of the workshop, stakeholders and GIZ project partner ABAKIR came together to develop a shared vision for the sustainable management of the Lake Kivu and Ruzizi River Basin’s resources and proposed 5 strategic priority areas to be themes of focus for ABAKIR in the next 5 years. The consultant (AHT Global) facilitated the workshop under the GIZ project, “Support to the integrated management of water resources of lake Kivu and Ruzizi river,” which is co-financed by the European Union (EU) and the BMZ.

Rwanda workshop pictures

Group work among participants physically present at the workshop

A Stakeholder Involvement Kick-off Workshop was conducted in Rubavu on Wednesday September 22, 2021 to discuss the creation of a Strategic Action Plan for the Lake Kivu and Ruzizi/Rusizi River Basin. A Strategic Action Plan (SAP) is a key foundational document that many River Basin Organisations use as a basis for short- medium- and long-term planning of management activities in the basin, as well to define a shared vision of sustainable management of resources in a basin. The workshop was held as a hybrid, and included participants both in-person and online, while respecting COVID-19 regulations.

A Strategic Action Plan is typically based on a Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis, or Basin Baseline Study. Such a study was completed in December 2020 and formally approved by the GIZ project, in cooperation with ABAKIR, basin stakeholders, and SHER Consult Ltd. The SAP is being developed in a consultative manner containing both strategic thinking and strategic planning for the basin. To achieve this, ABAKIR and the basin stakeholders came together through the workshop and jointly developed a shared vision and identified strategic priority actions to address the challenges to sustainable transboundary water resources management in the basin.

Keynote speeches were given by representatives of the European Union, GIZ and ABAKIR Co-Director Mr. Charles HAKIZIMANA. Presentations provided the history and current development of ABAKIR, pointing out the strategic role of the role of the SAP development in the journey towards the ratification and operationalization of ABAKIR as a leader for IWRM in the basin. After the keynote speeches, the AHT Global moderated a workshop that included presentations and open discussions with basin stakeholders. Various presentations were shared, namely the presentation on the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (the basin baseline study) report which serves as a basis to identify priority issues for the SAP. A presentation was also provided explaining the River Basin Management Cycle to the participants and outlining where the SAP development fits in that cycle.

Lake kivu article 2

River Basin Management Cycle

Workshop Outcomes

Stakeholders were divided into five groups, where they were tasked with developing a vision statement for ABAKIR and the lake Kivu and Ruzizi River Basin. This also included identifying key strategic priority areas for ABAKIR to focus on the next five years to ensure an integrated and sustainable management of water resources of Lake Kivu and the Ruzizi River Basin.

The vision statement inputs from all five groups were summarized by the consultant based on their common themes: Equitable use of resources, Collaboration/transboundary/members states, Socio economic development, Healthy environment/aquatic and terrestrial natural resources, Sustainability.

The groups also proposed five key strategic priority areas/thematic points to guide the SAP development as follows:

  1. Adaptation to and mitigation of impacts of climate change in the basin
  2. Water for socio economic development
  3. Preservation and protection of the environment
  4. Capacity development for improved water resources management
  5. Institutional and organizational development for basin coordination

Next Steps

The participants appreciated the progress made at the workshop regarding a vision for the basin, and commended the collaborative attitude and approach being used in the SAP development. The participants envisioned the following next steps for SAP development:

  • Develop a Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) tool to ensure the SAP’s proposed interventions are monitored regularly
  • Consult with local communities and authorities who often feel basin challenges the most acutely
  • Elaborate a legal and institutional framework in the basin from all respective countries to ensure representation and ownership
  • Develop a strategy to engage the private sector in the development and implementation of the SAP
  • The ABAKIR team also kindly requested the support of all present stakeholders to commit and become ambassadors for ABAKIR in the basin.

Further Reading

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