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Entebbe, Uganda, 27 Apr 09

Ministers responsible for water in East Africa have backed a proposal to expand a UN-HABITAT initiative aimed at benefiting towns in the region.

In a joint statement after a historic April 22-23 meeting bringing together water ministers, senior officials including permanent secretaries from both the water and finance ministries, and development partners in Entebbe, Uganda, the ministers cited the positive impacts a UN-HABITAT Lake Victoria water and sanitation initiative is having on towns around the continent's greatest lake.

They also called on development partners including the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank to consider financing capital investments and capacity building activities for an expanded initiative through concessional loans and grants.

The statement was signed by Ms. Maria Mutagamba, Minister of Water and Environment for Uganda; Mr. Mwangi Kiunjuri, Assistant Minister of Water and Irrigation for Kenya and Mr. Mark Mwandosya, Minister of Water and Irrigation for Tanzania.

Others were Mr. Deogratias Nduwimana, Minister of Water, Environment, Land and Urban Planning for Burundi; and Mr. Albert Butare, Minister of State in charge of Energy and Water for Rwanda.

They thanked the African Development Bank for providing financial support through the African Water Facility for the preparation of the second phase of the Programme, which will extend activities to another 15 towns, three in each of the East African Countries of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

They welcomed the interest and positive response by the European Investment Bank to UN-HABITAT’s proposal to support regional governments in the preparation of investment plans focusing on large towns in the five countries - Kisumu in Kenya, Mwanza in Tanzania, Kampala in Uganda, Gitega in Burundi and Kigali in Rwanda.

To maintain the regional character of the programme, the implementation partners and UN-HABITAT were urged to channel lessons learnt in the first phase into the expanded programme, incorporate issues of environmental sustainability, good governance and the impacts of climate change into future phases of the programme. They were also called on to boost capacity building activities, and prioritise gender and the empowerment of women and vulnerable groups.

UN-HABITAT Executive Director Mrs.Anna Tibaijuka and the Executive Secretary of Lake Victoria Basin Commission Mr. Tom Okurut witnessed the signing.

Signed Statement of the East African Ministers of Water "Scaling Up of the Lake Victoria Region Water and Sanitation Initiative" April 23rd, 2009, Entebbe, Uganda

Proposal for Scaling Up Lake Victoria Region Water and Sanitation Initiative (LVWATSAN)

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