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The principles and tools guiding ACARE

In the past five years there have been numerous efforts created by experts globally which describe the needs, tools, and knowledge for improving the health of large freshwater resources. Such efforts have largely focused on resources in developing nations and the African Great Lakes, which support the livelihoods of millions of people.


Two of these major efforts, The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and The Rome Declaration: Ten Steps to Responsible Inland Fisheries, help guide ACARE and its partners in their efforts to enhance the health of the African Great Lakes and the millions of people who depend on them.


The below goals and steps are used as guides; we've adopted the tools, objectives, principles, and at times, the spirit of many of the goals and steps. Where necessary, we have adapted our goals to fit more appropriately. The rationale for sharing them here is to demonstrate that the calls to improve our world are being done so by experts globally, and we heed their calls, advise, and direction to better the natural resources on which millions of people depend. 

On this page we outline how we use the SDGs and The Rome Declaration in our work.  

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United Nations

Sustainable Development Goals

Description of what the SDGs are etc

The African Center for Aquatic Research and Education uses the SDGs as a guide to help accomplish its mission and vision. 

ACARE actively uses [4] SDGs as tools in its process to help the African Great Lakes be healthier. Through the use of these [4] SDGs, [?] other goals are directly impacted and a further [?] SDGs are indirectly impacted. 

ACARE experts had to first categorize the SDGs as either tools, goals, or outcomes of successfully accomplished goals. For example, ACARE uses SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals as a tool to directly address other goals. When these goals are accomplished, other goals are realized (see below).


Click the image above to visit the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals website for an in-depth look at each goal.

The Rome Declaration:

Ten Steps to Responsible Inland Fisheries

Description of the Rome Declaration

The African Center for Aquatic Research and Education uses the Rome Declaration as a guide to help accomplish


We are aware that The Rome Declaration is "fisheries" focused, but this is to our collective advantage. First, fisheries are the proverbial "canary in the coal mine" in that, if fish populations are decreasing, it could be due to environmental factors, water quality, over-fishing, and other variables. Thus, lake-wide health is largely measured by the fisheries. Second, the fisheries of the AGL are the most diverse freshwater assemblages in the world - when we discuss the health of large freshwater systems, a large portion of the biomass is from these fishes. Third, fisheries on the AGL are an important food source for millions of people directly and in some cases, a major economic boon for both people and communities along the shores of these lakes and the riparian governments. Fisheries are too important to ignore as a mechanism for making these large lakes healthy.

In addition to our focus on fisheries, ACARE's intent is to ensure these freshwater systems are healthy in all regards, from water quality, resource extraction, food, and other benefits, and for the simple protection of their biodiverse value. 

Please note that where you see an "*" on this page, we have altered that specific The Rome Declaration step in one of two ways: the first is to make them present tense where we have begun initiating such steps, and second, we deleted "fish" or "fisheries" in steps where our efforts clearly extend beyond the narrower intent of the step. 

Rome Declaration.jpg

Click the image above to access The Rome Declaration: Ten Steps to Responsible Inland Fisheries.

United Nations

Sustainable Development Goals

The Rome Declaration: Ten Steps to Responsible Inland Fisheries



7. Developing collaborative approaches to cross-sectoral integration in development agendas*

ACARE is not calling for partnerships, we are initiating a highly collaborative network on which hundreds of experts globally will systematically prioritize, study, and gather and exchange relevant scientific information to positively change policy and management on the African Great Lakes. ACARE is using SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals and The Rome Declaration's Step 7 as process mechanisms in which to strengthen science, enhance data and information and information exchange, and direct valuable research resources around the AGL basins. All of this in an effort to positively impact the African Great Lakes through science-based decision making. This goal and this step are specifically what ACARE is doing to make the African Great Lakes better.

These collaborative mechanisms will lead to:

4. Developing and improving science-based approaches to management*

5. Improving communication among freshwater users*

As part of ACARE's process, we are using two of The Rome Declaration's Steps to guide us. These two steps are a part of the core objectives of the collaborative scientific network of freshwater experts: we are developing improved science-based approaches and improving knowledge exchange. The specific processes can be found here.



One of ACARE's major efforts is to enhance education and training of freshwater exprts in the African Great Lakes region, and globally, to address the challenges that negatively affect the AGL. ACARE's collaborative efforts will bring together academic and training centers to create a comprehensive forum for strengthening knolwedge on freshwater systems.


ACARE is creating opportunities for women to engage in science, historically weighted towards men. The processes of networking and partnerships are at the core of ACARE's mission, and we are developing opportunities for early career women and students to engage with the larger global freshwater community.

8. Respecting equity and rights of stakeholders*

Equity and rights of stakeholders will include gender equality and ensuring voices of all stakeholders are heard, both from the perspective of government and political hierarchies, gender dynamics, and social orders. In fact, ACARE's Advisory Groups are African-led and consist of experts from the ten riparian countries of the AGL region. 

SDGs 14 and 15 are both a part of the ACARE process and will be directly impacted.

The experts in the ACARE process are largely freshwater experts and have dedicated their lives already to addressing SDG 14 which is to protect water resources for sustainable use. Though this process is largely focused on water resources, it is understood that without eventually working with experts and decision-makers in other sectors, like land-based activities, our lakes will continually be polluted by runoff and other pollutants from terrestrial sources. 


SDGs 14 and 15 (left), are a part of the process of bringing freshwater experts together to enhance the sustainability of the AGL. The SDGs do not give specifics and that is where Steps 6 and 10 come in to specify, broadly, plans to move forward. ACAREs Advisory Group process have been created to develop action plans for addressing problems on these resources and to eventually improving governance using comprehensive data and information collected through these processes. 

10. Developing action plans for global inland lakes*

6. Improving governance, especially for shared waterbodies*

1. Improving the assessment of biological production to enable science-based management*

14: Protecting the biodiversity and ensuring sustainable use of the resources for the people who depend on them are the drivers for ACARE's existence

15: The health of all water bodies on the planet depend on what flows into them. Life on land and the activities that take place in the riparian communities around them will be critical


2. Correctly valuing inland aquatic ecosystems*


3. Promoting the nutritional value of inland fisheries*

9. Making aquaculture an important ally

Equity and rights of stakeholders will include gender equality and ensuring voices of all stakeholders are heard, both from the perspective of government and political hierarchies, gender dynamics, and social orders. In fact, ACARE's Advisory Groups are African-led and consist of experts from the ten riparian countries of the AGL region. 


In addressing some of the largest freshwater resources on the planet, experts will be addressing water quality issues directly. Sanitation is important and will likely be addressed along with SDG 11 and 15, as land-based activities (such as industrial activity) and farming (run-off) both heavily impact these lakes. 


Protecting the biodiversity and ensuring sustainable use of the resources for the people who depend on them are the drivers for ACARE's existence. To protect these resources, The Rome Declarations includes three specific steps to address this SDG. 

The process will include the improvement of assessing biological production, valuing the aquatic ecosystems of the AGL, and developing action plans. All of this will strengthen science and thus lead to improved governance of these shared waterbodies through more comprehesive, available, and widely shared information.





1: The intent of ACARE's activities are to enhance the health and quality of these vast natural resources. Such resources as fisheries and clean water both contribute to reducing poverty through economic gain, especially on the AGL where fisheries are a large part of millions of people's economy and extend up through the value chain into surrounding countries. 


3: Cleaner lakes and sustainable resources within them will reduce poverty and hunger resulting in better nutrition and less sickness and poverty-induced stress.


8: The health of the AGL has, in the past, demonstrated that these resources increase economic growth through a variety of activities such as fisheries, transportation, and other water-related, land-based activities. Ensuring the health of the lakes increases the chances of these activities to continue.


10: Reducing inequality can occur on many fronts when discussing freshwater resources. First, when there are more resources, stronger economies, and well fed and healthy people, can reduce inequalities overall. The ACARE process in general will reduce inequalities through the inclusion of women and by incorporating the views and needs of higher leves of government and those who use the resources, at the village level around the lakes. 


2: Enhancing the health and quality of these vast natural resources can reduce hunger through healthy fisheries which will increase productivity and catches for human consumption. 


7: Part of the overall plans for large lakes is to ensure their  health on many fronts. Working with experts on hydro power, wind, and solar will help reduce polution and negative affects on the lakes.


9: Some of the biggest advances in Africa include activities surrounding aquaculture. Many of the freshwater experts already engaged with ACARE's network are leading the way in aquaculture studies and innovations and will continue to do so and a more effective pace when working together.


11: Communities who depend on these lakes for their livelihoods need clean, sustainable resources. With stronger collaborations and science, cleaner lakes will ensure communities can depend on these resources into the futureJanuary 2020 - Strategic Meeting: Notes to the Board


12: Freshwater experts, with the right resources and information, can assist in the responsible use of these critical waterbodies


13: Climate change is affecting our natural resources in a variety of ways. One is the negative impacts on the ability to produce crops in arid areas of the world like Africa. This often causes a general human migration towards large, freshwater resources such as the AGL which have shown high rates of growth around the lakes’ edges. Attention to climatic impacts on riparian and freshwater resources will be critical in addressing the issues affecting these lakes.


16: The culmination of ACARE and its partner’s activities are that long-term efforts become engrained in how we care for, use, and address these important natural resources. That we care for them so that the lakes continually to allow the citizens in these regions to be self-reliant societies, realizing their own visions of livelihoods, justice, equity, democracy, and peace.

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