International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

SIP-Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project II

Lake Victoria is a shared asset of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, which jointly implemented the first phase of the project. Rwanda and Burundi are part of the upper watershed that drains into the Lake through the Kagera River, and are new members to the East African Community (EAC). The scope of the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project (LVEMPII) has expanded to include these two upstream countries. Lake Victoria, which is part of the Nile River Basin system, is the second largest freshwater lake in the world (68,800 sq. Kms.). It contains a complex ecosystem with large invertebrate diversity, large swathes of wetlands, containing significant biodiversity, and a large transboundary watershed. The Lake is the largest inland water fishery sanctuary hosting around 200 endemic fish species. The fisher resources are direct and indirect source of livelihood for 3 million people, while the lake itself provides water for domestic, agricultural and industrial use. It also serves as a climate modulator – its large size makes it vital for weather and climate modulation in the region. The seasonal wind patterns influence the hydrological processes in the regions. Further, it serves as the natural storage for the White Nile, and sustains swathes of wetlands and other natural ecosystems around its shores and along the river.

Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project I (LVEMP I)

In response to the environmental management problems in the early 1990 including over-fishing, pollution, erosion/sedimentation, aquatic weeds, etc., the Bank and the GEF have supported cooperative efforts to improve understanding and management of the lake ecosystem through the first phase of the project, which was implemented from March 1997 to December 2005. LVEMP I, focused primarily on capacity in management of and knowledge base building on lake resources - studying water quality, circulation and hydrology aspects; assessing pollution and inflows; and surveying biodiversity. It was the first initiative of its kind in the area, a regional project addressing key environmental issues through trans-national cooperation. It started with very limited scientific information and generated useful research results on ecosystem interactions. It allowed experience to be gained through implementation of a variety of pilot activities, with many good results in community management of watershed resources. There were, however, problems in its implementation with some ratings being unsatisfactory or only marginally satisfactory. Project activities were insufficiently prioritized, and complementarities were not exploited. This essentially reflected the lack of a log-frame linked to measurable outcomes and coordinated across countries and sectors through a sound institutional structure. Many hard lessons have been learned and the proposed project has taken these into account in the preparation of LVEMP II.

The Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) and Strategic Action Program (SAP)

In July 2005 the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) was established to provide a regional coordination framework for sustainable development of the Lake Victoria basin. Under its coordination, key Lake Victoria basin environmental issues were identified through the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA), conducted in the five countries, and coalesced into a regional TDA (RTDA), through a systematic consensus based process. The key issues and related mitigation actions were subsequently prioritized in the regional Strategic Action Program (SAP). The top five prioritized key transboundary issues from the SAP process are: (i) Land, wetland, and forest degradation; (ii) Weak governance, policy, and institutional framework; (iii) Declining fish stocks, and loss of habitats and biodiversity; (iv) Increasing pollution and eutrophication; and (v) Unsustainable water resources management, declining water levels, and climate change. LVEMP II, therefore, has been designed to address these priority key transboundary issues, using Integrated Lake Basin Management (ILBM) and Ecosystem-based management approaches.

The operation

The proposed LVEMP II will focus on priority transboundary environmental issues, while building on the successes and addressing key gaps of the first phase. Key environmental issues were identified through the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA), conducted in the five countries, and coalesced into a regional TDA (RTDA), through a systematic consensus based process. These issues and related actions were prioritized through the complementary regional Strategic Action Program (SAP). The RTDA examined the transboundary environmental problems that threaten the Lake Victoria ecosystem, and characterized them as falling within six thematic areas: (i) land use and degradation; (ii) water quality and pollution; (iii) water quantity and declining water balance; (iv) fisheries decline and threats to biodiversity; (v) governance of environmental resources; and (vi) socio-economic and cross-cutting issues. The top five prioritized key transboundary issues from the SAP process are: (i) Land, wetland, and forest degradation; (ii) Weak governance, policy, and institutional framework; (iii) Declining fish stocks, and loss of habitats and biodiversity; (iv) Increasing pollution and eutrophication; and (v) Unsustainable water resources management, declining water levels, and climate change. LVEMP II, therefore, will be designed to address these priority key transboundary issues, using an Integrated Lake Basin Management (ILBM) approach.

The challenges facing the lake and its resources were never thought to be feasibly solved through a project, thus the first phase was always envisioned as the beginning of a long term program addressing critical issues through a strategic framework. The proposed project builds on the outputs of and lessons learned from previous interventions including LVEMPI, the EU supported Fisheries Project, NELSAP three River Basin Management Projects (Kagera, Mara, and Sio-Malaba-Malakisi),and the broader Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), which includes the upstream and downstream riparians of Lake Victoria. It seeks to support crucial interventions of this program, particularly in going beyond research, knowledge and capacity building activities of the first phase, to integrated lake management and impact oriented activities. GEF support will complement significant IDA and Governments’ funding, and will focus on strengthening institutions and mechanisms for management of transboundary resources (the lake and its watershed), policy reforms for improved management of transboundary resources (integrated water resources and land management), and joint planning to capture efficiencies and synergies, as well as catalyze priority transboundary investments.

The project objective above is drawn from the Lake Victoria Vision, a harmonized regional long-term vision that was based on national visioning processes in the three riparian countries based on participatory consultations involving over 11,000 people, representing communities and other stakeholders, and adopted by the East African Community (EAC). One regional and three national task forces guided the processes.

The project has 4 proposed components:

  1. Building the information base for governance and growth (USD 30 million): using a competitive grant approach the work includes applied research, ecosystem monitoring, and technological adaptation/innovation. It also includes capacity building, scientific data management protocols development, establishment of an integrated M&E framework. GEF support will focus on strengthening regional capacity in LVBC for data management and sharing, as well as contribute to monitoring Lake Basin ecosystems health.

  2. Strengthening governance of transboundary resources (USD 25 million): including strengthening of key policy, legal, and institutional frameworks; establishing regional and national regulatory standards and enforcement mechanism; harmonizing NRM regulatory frameworks regionally; piloting appropriate economic incentive mechanisms; harmonizing the planning and coordination of NRM regimes, capacity building, spatial planning; and developing an integrated Water Resources Management plan. This will include support to strengthening regional GIS-based MIS. GEF financing will support actions for improved transboundary resource management, as well as the development of sustainable resource use and management plans for the key resources. This would include integrated water and fisheries management plans, and basin-wide watershed management strategy. Further, it will contribute to mainstreaming SLM initiatives into national policies and programs. The fish levy trust, once operationalized, will provide sustained financing for governance of natural resources.

  3. Enhancing sustainable economic growth (USD 89.8 million): including, supporting activities to reduce point and non-point pollution sources; providing economic incentives to reduce pollution; supporting strategic public investments in reducing pollution; supporting environmentally friendly investments, including community based investments in NRM; promoting private sector investments that are environmentally sustainable; building capacity for EAs for private sector investments, PES for key services, environmental certification, investments in strategic sectors, implementation of NRM plans, value addition of sustainably harvested NR products, SLM and watershed management initiatives. GEF support will catalyze community-based watershed management investments through strengthening community capacity for integrated natural resources management planning and implementation and providing incentives for SLM adoption (including support to design of environmental services payments, targeted matching grants etc). It will help promote market oriented innovative instruments, such as user based fees, in order to develop sustainable mechanisms for financing long-term ecosystem management as well as strengthen alternative non natural-resources based livelihoods.


  1. Stakeholder participation, communication, and monitoring and evaluation (USD 9.5 million): including, development of information sharing protocols, establishing satellite communication system, capacity building for environmental information dissemination, development of a communication strategy, support to community monitoring of natural resources and their contribution to the MIS.

  2. Project Management (USD 7.3 million): It includes short-term training of implementing agencies’ staff; study tours and knowledge exchange/sharing programs by stakeholders; Technical Assistance; farmer and fisher extension services; regional and national coordination meetings; motor vehicle, office, and laboratory operations and maintenance expenses; and project monitoring and evaluation activities.

Global benefits:

The improved management of the Lake and its Basin will arrest the deterioration of the ecosystem; help it retain its resiliency; and continued provision of environmental and economic services, such as biodiversity, hydrological and weather cycles, production of materials and goods, extraction of resources, tourism and quality of life to communities dependent on it. GEF resources will strengthen the transboundary planning, management and monitoring of resources by strengthening institutions for governance of transboundary resources, and supporting ILBM initiatives. The project will also be able to strengthen strengthening the coping and adaptive capacities of communities to current climate variability and emerging climatic trends (e.g. increased frequencies of droughts and/or floods, more erratic rainy seasons). Broad climatic trends indicate that the Lake region is likely to get wetter with more intense rainfall. A comprehensive program of watershed management in the basin will help reduce the impact of flooding, while water management mechanisms and investments will help smoothen the cyclical impacts of droughts and floods, and improve overall water resources management and availability. At the regional level, efforts will be made to identify and cross-boundary issues arising from the impact of climate change on the availability of natural resources, etc.


Lake Victoria

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Documents & Resources
General information
GEF ID 3399
IBRD ID 103298
Project type Full-Size Project
Status closed (Project Closure)
Start Date 03 Mar 2009
End Date 22 Dec 2017
GEF characteristic:
Focal Area Multi Focal Area
GEF Allocation to project USD 6,800,000
Total Cost of the project: USD 140,140,800
YES - See results data (3399)
Burundi , Kenya , Rwanda , Tanzania United Republic of , Uganda , Regional

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (WB)

Project contacts
Gerson Japhet Fumbuka Programme manager
Pius Mabuba Principal Executive Engineer
William Mabula National focal Point Officer
Raymond Julius Mngodo Regional Project Coordinator
Lino Musana National Project Coordinator
Omari Mwinjaka Officer
Francisca Owuor Project National Coordinator
Charles Martin Jjuuko Communications & Development Awareness Officer