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African Great Lakes Conservation Project

ACARE: A Plan for Cooperation and Collaboration on the African Great Lakes

Total funding request:


Start Date: April 1, 2018

End Date: September 30, 2019

Project partners:

Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization

Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute

Tanzanian Fisheries Research Institute

National Fisheries Resources Research Institute

Malawi Fisheries Research Division

Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

Large Lakes Observatory-University of Minnesota

Great Lakes Fishery Commission


Members of this project will host an applied, collaborative workshop which creates lake committees on each of the African Great Lakes. Each lake committee will consist of relevant freshwater experts to harmonize and prioritize research, guide regional and global research efforts, and facilitate communications between partner countries to positively affect freshwater policy and management using tools such as regular and persistent in-person meetings, the African Great Lakes Inform, and other relevant means.



Goal and Objectives:

The goal of this project is to develop a perpetual system of collaboration among stakeholders so that key governance and policy stakeholders on the African Great Lakes (AGL) have a mechanism for communication and collaboration to create and deliver the necessary information to effectively manage the AGL. The AGL are multi-jurisdictional - each lake is bordered by at least two countries with multiple supervisory agencies within each country. Like most of the large, freshwater resources globally, political boundaries cut through them and independent governments with their own philosophies and priorities may lead to inconsistent and ineffective resource management. Collaborative processes have emerged over the past two decades on some, lakes (e.g., LVFO), but so far the efforts to cooperatively address the many issues that threaten the AGL are insufficient.

Determining useful research approaches and subsequent resource management requires a higher degree of cooperation among regional organizations than currently exists. Professional connections between freshwater learning institutions, organizations, and entities must be strengthened. Strengthened partnerships and mechanisms of collaboration will cultivate more robust, holistic, and efficient approaches to conducting research on large freshwater systems globally, and lead to stronger science and coordinated data-based information to inform sound policy and management decisions regarding the AGL freshwater resources.

To achieve this goal, the objective of this project is to create a lake committee on each African Great Lake – a collaborative process by which researchers, scientists, managers, decision-makers, academics and other stakeholders (regional and national networks of leaders representing communities) come together to positively affect policy and management on Africa’s Great Lakes. This will be accomplished through a collaborative workshop with participants from organizations around the AGL, as well as key international experts.

For more information on this project, please contact Ted Lawrence of ACARE.

Summary: The African Great Lakes Conference (AGLC) was developed as a one-time conference initiated by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Lake Tanganyika Authority through the TNC’s African Great Lakes initiative. Funding for the AGLC and this project was made possible through the generous support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The conference addressed the African Great Lakes and was driven by stakeholders throughout the region. The AGLC was intended to advance cross-basin sustainable development solutions and long-term thinking on a range of topics including human and environmental health, biodiversity conservation, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, climate change, and governance. A key outcome of the AGLC was the Resolution of the African Great Lakes Conference: Conservation and Development in a Changing Climate, a guiding document intended to serve as a resource for granting through the newly formed African Great Lakes Conservation Fund. Subsequent to the conference, a call for proposals was placed for projects and the African Center for Aquatic Research and Education along with its partners submitted a proposal to create a long-term, highly collaborative lake committee process on the African Great Lakes.

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