An environmental Rights Activist without Boarders who is also Director of Institute of Sustainable Development, Godfrey Mfiti has been appointed into a technical committee of six people to manage the Africa Great Lakes Conservation Network whose secretariat will be based in Kigali-Rwanda.
The Network is represented by experts from all the eleven Great Lakes Countries and those from the Nile Basin. The Africa Great Lakes Region comprises of 7 Great Lakes and the Nile River basin and there are 6 major Lakes threatened by oil exploration namely: Kivu, Turkana, Tanganyika, Albert, Eduard and Lake Malawi.
“I am humbled and would like to urge Malawi Government to do an economic evaluation of Lake Malawi to measure benefits of oil exploration for say 10-years versus life-long eco-tourism, livelihoods, greenbelt agriculture, fisheries and Lake Malawi as a source of flesh drinking water for Malawians,” said Mfiti.
Mfiti who is country representative for the Conservation of Lake Malawi Forum was elected during a Freshwater Ecosystems Management Training held at Mirror Hotel in capital Kigali-Rwanda from 17th August – 21st August, 2015.
Environmental experts, Government Representatives, Private Oil Companies and conservationists shared notes on the emerging threats of oil exploration in the region and training in managing Freshwater ecosystems.
Malawi Government was represented by Director of Parks and Wildlife, Brighton Kumchedwa.
The common threats or drivers of change in Africa Great Lakes includes political interference in environmental governance ‘oil’ used as a tool to score political mileage, lack of transparent Environmental Impact Assessment in major economic development, climate change, pollution from Mining and manufacturing companies, sedimentation from rivers and unsustainable use of wetlands for agricultural activities.
In all affected eleven countries of Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Burundi, South Sudan, Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi the policy and legal framework are under review as well as Lake of Stringent policies and regulations to control the oil exploration activities and sharing of natural resources in the region between local people or government and the investor.
Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS) organized the Dialogue meeting while the Conservation and Development Dialogue and training in Freshwater ecosystems management were funded by MacArthur Foundation.