• Lead-organizer: East African Community (EAC)
  • 17:00 - 18:30
  • Date: 20 Jun 2012
  • Room: P3-E

Sustainable Development in the context of Regional Integration in EAC

Organizing partners

The Event will be organized by the EAC Secretariat in collaboration with EAC Organs and Institutions mainly Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) and East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) and Partner States- the Republics of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda through designated UNCSD National Focal Points.


The overall objective of the side event is to showcase EAC?s efforts, achievements and challenges in the implementation of sustainable development goals in the region within the context of EAC?s integration process. More specifically, the event shall review the progress in the implementation of the EAC Treaty and its related Protocols relevant to sustainable development namely; the Sustainable Development of Lake Victoria Basin (2003), Protocol on Environment and Natural Resources Management (2006); and Environment and Natural Resources provisions of the EAC Common Market Protocol (2009). The event is expected to mobilize political will and support to EAC on the Implementation of Regional Policy Instruments aimed at contributing to the three pillars of sustainable development in the region and identify the role of EAC?s in monitoring the implementation of the Rio+20 Outcome.

Detailed programme

The East African Community (EAC) is richly endowed with various environmental/natural resources including trans-boundary resources that are drivers for sustainable development at local community, national and regional level. These include; arable land, water resources, fisheries, livestock, wildlife, forests, wetlands, coastal and marine and mountainous ecosystems, minerals and energy resources, and biodiversity. These resources are adversely affected by dynamic social, economic, environmental and political factors including; unsustainable use of the resources resulting from population growth and pursuit of economic growth, increased pollution, weak environmental education and capacity building, poor public participation and access to information and ecological justice, environmental disasters and climate change and weak institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks for environmental and natural resources management and governance.

The Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC underscores the determination of Partner States to strengthen their economic, social cultural, political, technological and other ties for their fast balanced and sustainable development through the establishment of an East African Community, East African Customs Union and a Common Market as transitional stages to the integral parts of a Monetary Union and ultimately Political Federation. It further notes that co-operation at the sub-regional and regional levels in all fields of human endeavour will raise the standards of living of African peoples, maintain and enhance the economic stability, foster close and peaceful relations amongst African Economic Community and Political Union.

Environment and natural resources management is one of the areas identified by Partner States for cooperation in accordance with Articles 111, 112 and 114 of the Treaty. To operationalize the provisions on environment and natural resources the EAC developed a Protocol on Environment and Natural Resources Management that was signed in April 2006. The Protocol recognizes that a clean and healthy environment is a prerequisite for sustainable development. The overall objective 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, wildlife, water, wetlands, coastal and marine, fisheries, minerals, energy, mountainous ecosystems, land, rangelands, tourism. The Protocol also seeks to respond to the following environmental challenges: desertification and droughts, climate change, protection of ozone layer, biosafety 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.

Further, the EAC has developed a Regional Climate Change Policy whose overall objective is to contribute to sustainable development in the region through harmonized and coordinated climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, programmes and actions. The purpose of the Policy is therefore to guide EAC Partner States and other stakeholders in the collective implementation of sector specific climate change response measures within the context of sustainable development. A draft Strategy and Master Plan to operationalise the Policy have also been developed.

With regards to the institutional arrangements on management of environment and natural resources, the EAC established the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) through the Protocol on the Sustainable Development of Lake Victoria Basin in 2003 and the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization established by the Convention for the Establishment of the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO).

The EAC has been involved in the preparations for the Rio+20 Summit on Sustainable Development at various levels namely national and sub regional and African level. At the national level, Partner States have prepared reports and position papers on sustainable development in their capacity as members to the United Nations and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development. Partner States have also participated in a series of regional and international meetings on preparation and adoption of the African Consensus Statement on Sustainable Development and negotiations on the Rio+20 draft outcome document-the Future We Want. At the regional level, EAC has been prepared a Regional Statement reflecting the regions priorities to be reflected in the outcome of Rio+20.

The adoption of the EAC Regional Statement on Rio+20 reflecting the critical views and needs of EAC Partner States within the African Consensus Statement and the draft Outcome Document- ?Future We Want? is a step towards ensuring that East Africa?s priorities and interests are fully considered, given due prominence and reflected in the Rio+20 outcome.

The side event will comprise of brief presentations followed by a high level roundtable discussions. The speakers will include the Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers, EAC Secretary General, Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, Executive Secretary, Lake Victoria Basin Commission, and Permanent Secretaries from EAC Partner States amongst other invited speakers from UN Agencies and Development Partners.
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