Learning about transboundary fisheries governance

Reflecting recent developments in fisheries governance strategies, CDI organised an international refresher course with the participants being involved in the governance of Lake Victoria, each of whom created an action plan benefitting them and their organisations.

Lake Victoria and the challenge of transboundary management

Lake Victoria is the second largest freshwater body in the world, and is facing severe environmental stress, which is adversely impacting the basin's ecosystem, as well as the region's economy. Apart from supporting a wide diversity of flora and fauna, Lake Victoria also supports a large fishing industry for export and local consumption, water supply, lake transportation, and hydropower generation. The three East African Communities bordering the lake, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, face challenges in harmonising their national policies, legislation, and regulatory standards to ensure sustainable management of Lake Victoria's shared water and fisheries resources. As such, the Lake Victoria case serves as a model to illustrate failures and successes of co-management approaches and practices in East Africa.  It provides insights in how regional transboundary collaboration can be strengthened to reduce environmental stress and improve the livelihoods of communities.

Strengthening capacities

To strengthen transboundary fisheries governance and management, Centre for Development Innovation (CDI), Wageningen UR organised a refresher course for participants from various African countries. The course addressed recent developments in fisheries governance and management and related to changing roles and tasks of course participants and their organisations. The participants are more and more into playing a role as change agents in adapting to these trends and in strengthening their organisations, in order to effectively contribute to poverty reduction and development while at the same time safe-guarding the ecosystem and its biodiversity.

Interactivity all the way

The 2-week training course was built in 3 modules and included a mix of knowledge sharing, skill and attitude development through interactive training, role plays, practicing methodologies and sharing of best practices, experiences and lessons learned. The Lake Victoria case was introduced as a real life example. Views from different stakeholders, from local fishing communities to the business sector exporting fish products to Europe, were heard. The participants looked at the fisheries management of the 3 countries bordering the lake, did field work and developed a draft fisheries management plan for Lake Victoria. The course offered a framework in which participants could acquire insights and skills to facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogues and address management issues towards interactive fisheries governance.

Going home with a personal action plan

At the end of the course, the participants have drafted a personal action plan describing how they hope to bring the lessons learned and knowledge gained into practice in their own work situation. A few months after finalisation of the course, the participants will be contacted by CDI to provide feedback on the progress made so far. Participants also have the opportunity to stay in touch through a website discussion group. This international networking opportunity is a very important spin off for the participants of all CDI courses.