Challenges facing “Wetlands without Borders” like Sio-Siteko needs the blessing of heads of state from countries bordering them, a Ugandan environmental expert has revealed.
Executive Director Nature Uganda, Achilles Byaruhanga said conservation of cross border wetlands which have unique challenges along the border because the resources have remained unattended.
“Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni need to give us blessings to participate in planning together and exploit these resources jointly by developing activities together,” he said.
Mr Byaruhanga was speaking during a workshop at Busia Agricultural Training Centre on Friday that drew participants from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania; the meeting was aimed at coming up with monograph, wetlands management and investment plans to be incorporated in the County Integrated Developments plan.
The Executive Director said where Uganda and Kenya are allowed to plan alone; they end up rushing up for these resources and over exploit them, thus the need for concerted efforts.
Byaruhanga said over 500m people living along the Wetlands without Borders depend on Kenya which is on the upper catchment area; there is need to establish ecological integrity of the wetlands and no doubt ecosystem services we are losing can come back.
Busia County Chief Officer for Agriculture Ruth Mukhongo said there is need to construct water ponds away from the wetlands to reduce the level of siltation on our streams and rivers.
To ensure water in the ponds is clean, we should consider planting bamboo and vetiver grass to reduce soil from flowing into the ponds or can we consider de-silting River Sio for that matter,” she said.
“Wetlands without borders” a project executed by Wetlands International, is focusing on the development of Monographs, Wetlands Management and Conservation Investment Plans for three trans boundary wetlands: Sio-Siteko, Sango Bay Minziro and Semliki Delta shared between Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and DR Congo. The project is funded by the German agency for technical cooperation (GIZ) through the Nile Basin