Job Opening: Principal Environment & Natural Resources Officer – (REF: EAC/HR/2014-2015/034)

DIRECTORATE: Directorate of Productive Sectors
REPORTS TO: The Director, Productive Sectors
DUTY STATION: EAC Headquarters-Arusha, Tanzania
To coordinate implementation of Chapter 19 of the Treaty establishing the East African Community, develop and ensure implementation of relevant projects and programmes, and Co-ordinate harmonization of relevant policies, regulations and legislation in Environment and Natural Resources
1. Develop programmes for Conservation and management of Trans-boundary Ecosystems;
2. Co-ordinate the development of the Integrated Water Resources Management Strategy
and action plan; and initiate a study on the establishment of Water Resources Institute;
3. Finalize the harmonization of mineral resources development and management policies;
4. Coordinate the implementation of the EAC Climate Change Policy, strategy and Master
Plan and the operationalization of the EAC Climate Change Fund
5. Coordinate the Implementation of the EAC Framework for joint implementation of; and participation in Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs)
6. Coordinate the implementation of the EAC Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Strategy and the Sendai Framework on DRR
7. Coordinate the operationalization of the EAC DRR Bill including the establishment of the EAC DRR Unit
8. Coordinate the implementation of the EAC Post Rio plus 20 Plan of Action
9. Coordinate the implementation of the EAC plan of Action of the Nairobi Agreement on Air Pollution
10. Coordinate the finalization of a Regional Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan and the establishment of an EAC Gene bank
11. Coordinate the Operationalization of the EAC Biopama Observatory
12. Promote joint research in identified centers of excellence in Environmental and Natural Resources Management
13. Coordinate the implementation of the EAC Regional Biosafety Policy Framework;
14. Coordinate the Implementation of the EAC Strategy to combat poaching and illegal trade in wildlife products
15. Implement decisions of Organs of the Community relevant to the sector and prepare progress and annual reports; and
16. Perform any other duties as may be assigned by Management.
i) An Advanced Degree (MSc, PhD) in Earth Sciences, life Sciences or related field;
ii) Specialized trainings in Environmental and/or Natural Resources Management is desirable;
iii) 10 years of experience in Environment and Natural Resources Policies and Programmes with at least 5 years at senior level.
iv) Experience in Multilateral Environmental Agreements, and
v) Working Experience with regional Organizations will be an added advantage.
Analytical skills, computer skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, numerical skills, presentation skills, research skills, planning skills, monitoring skills, evaluation skills, project implementation skills; and the ability to identify and relate to other disciplines and diverse external clients and Partners.
Eligibility for applications:
Considering the current status of quota points per Partner State under East
African Community Secretariat, only Applicants from the Republics of Burundi,
Rwanda, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania are eligible to apply.
Terms and Conditions of Service
The above position is tenable for a contract of five (5) years renewable once and is subject to the application of the EAC Quota System.
Fringe Benefits
This post offers attractive fringe benefits including housing allowance, transport allowance,education allowance, a medical scheme, and insurance cover.
Education Qualifications
All candidates applying must have qualifications that are recognized by the relevant national accreditation body in their respective countries. This condition is applicable for locally and internationally attained qualifications.
All professions that require registration with the specific professional bodies will be expected to do so in compliance with the requirements of their respective Partner States.
Relevant Working Experience
Internship, training, apprenticeship and clerkship will not be considered as relevant work experience.
Equal Opportunity
The EAC is an equal opportunity employer; therefore, female candidates are particularly encouraged to apply. EAC will only respond to those candidates who strictly meet the set requirements.
How to Apply
Interested candidates who meet the qualification and experience requirements for the above mentioned positions are advised to send their applications, detailed curriculum vitae, photocopies of academic certificates, and names and contact details of three referees.
Please quote the respective reference number on both on the application letter and
envelope. For electronic submission, please quote the respective reference number on the subject of the email and send to the address given below.
Applications should be submitted to the address below not later than Thursday, 13th August 2015.
Please note:
1. You may submit your application either electronically or in hard copy but not both.
2. Applications which do not: indicate nationality and age; the reference number; or have an application letter attached; have certified copies of academic certificates; or fail to provide three referees will be disqualified.
The Director,
Executive Selection Division
Deloitte Consulting Limited
10th Floor PPF Tower
Cnr of Ohio Street & Garden Avenue:
P O Box 1559 Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
Fax +255(22) 2116379
2014 Deloitte Consulting Ltd. Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Speech by Hon. Jesca Eriyo, EAC Deputy Secretary General – Productive and Social Sectors, at the World Environment Day celebrations, June 5th 2015, Rakai, Uganda

Hon. Guest of Honour

Hon. State Minister for Environment, Hon. Flavia Nabugera Munaaba,

Hon. Members of Parliament,

Executive Director LVBC,

Executive Director, NEMA,

Heads of Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations Present,

The Resident District Commissioner,

Representatives from Lake Victoria Basic Commission,

Colleagues from EAC Secretariat,

The Public/Wananchi gathered here today,

Members of the press,

Distinguished Guests,

Hon. Jesca Eriyo

Hon. Jesca Eriyo

It is a great pleasure and honour for me to be here and to speak to you on this World Environment Day occasion.  I convey very warm greetings from the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera and colleagues from the EAC Secretariat. I recognize with appreciation the Ministry of Water and Environment Uganda; the National Environment Management Authority Uganda and LVBC who jointly organized this function and invited me for it. I am also grateful to our development partners whose generous support has made this annual commemoration of nature possible, and for being here with us.

The global theme for this year’s celebrations, Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care, emphasizes the personal responsibility each one of us bears to support sustainable economic development while stabilizing and reducing the rate of resource use. Protecting nature and using its resources responsibly are prerequisites for human development and well-being, and for building resilient, healthy and wealthy communities. The way we meet our needs today is compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Most of us use and destroy resources as if there is no tomorrow. If people of yesterday did not care about the future, we would be in a worse situation than now. We must honour our past leaders like Semei Kakungulu whose tree planting efforts are still being enjoyed to-date.

We cut trees before they mature and rarely replace them; we harvest more fish than our water bodies can replenish and mostly immature fish compromising their ability to adequately reproduce; and emit more carbon into the atmosphere than forests and wetlands can absorb; yet we keep destroying them.

By using natural resources more than the earth can produce/reproduce means that we are borrowing resources from future generations. Have we asked ourselves “where will they get resources for their use from”?

The local theme today is “35 Million People. Limited Resources. Consume with Care”. Uganda’s population stands at 35 million. By 2050 the population will rise to 100 million. We are happy to join all Ugandans today on this occasion. We all need to consume with care such that we don’t leave our children and grand children at risk.

Ladies and Gentlemen, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted or lost.  This food waste is mostly occurring in the industrialised countries. In Africa 30 to 60% of agricultural harvest is lost after harvesting due to poor methods of storage and processing. In the poor countries 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger.  One part of the world has so much food that they throw it away, in another part people are dying from hunger.  We need to do something to reverse this trend.  We need to consume with care. The current global population of seven billion is expected to grow to nine billion by 2050. But the number of hungry people need not increase.  Food waste is an enormous drain on natural resources and a contributor to negative environmental impacts.

The EAC Partner States recognize that a clean and healthy environment is a prerequisite for sustainable development.  The Partner States have agreed to take concerted measures to foster co-operation in the joint and efficient management and sustainable utilization of natural resources within the Community.

The EAC Protocol on Environment and Natural Resources Management was negotiated and signed in April 2006. The overall objective of the Protocol is to promote and enhance cooperation in the conservation and management of the environment and natural resources.

The Protocol for the Sustainable Development of Lake Victoria Basin focuses specifically on the development and protection of the Lake Victoria and is under full implementation through the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC).

The EAC Secretariat and LVBC are coordinating regional environmental initiatives including the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project (LVEMP), the Mt. Elgon Regional Ecosystem Conservation Programme (MERECP) and the Planning for Resilience in East Africa through Policy, Adaptation, Research and Economic Development (PREPARED). The projects were developed within the context of EAC’s framework for a regional approach to the management of trans-boundary ecosystems.  LVEMP II is a trans-boundary project designed to achieve two development environmental objectives. Firstly, the project is meant to improve collaborative management of the trans-boundary natural resources of the Lake Victoria Basin among the Partner States and, secondly, to improve environmental management of targeted pollution hotspots and selected degraded sub-catchments for the benefit of communities who depend on the natural resources of Lake Victoria Basin.

The Mt. Elgon Regional Ecosystem Conservation Programme (MERECP) project aims to promote sustainable use of shared natural resources benefiting livelihoods and mitigating and adapting to climate change impacts in the Mt. Elgon ecosystem.

The Planning for Resilience in East Africa through Policy, Adaptation, Research and Economic Development (PREPARED) Program seeks to address three inter-linked regional development challenges in the region: climate change, trans-boundary biodiversity conservation/natural resource management, and improved and sustainable access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

These projects are funded by the US Agency for International Development-East Africa (USAID/EA), The Royal Norwegian Government, the Swedish Government, the World Bank, and the Global Environment Facility. To our Development Partners, EAC values your continued partnership and support.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the EAC is establishing an EAC Carbon Credit Exchange Platform with an aim of enhancing the region’s active participation in the global carbon trading through the Clean Development Mechanism; related to that, the EAC is working on getting accreditation as a Regional Implementing Entity that can access international climate change financing.

Disasters, natural and man-made, are getting intense and more frequent in the region. In an effort to provide a legal framework for the implementation of the EAC Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Strategy, a draft Bill on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management has been developed.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Sustainable Development is the ultimate aspiration of the EAC partner states. Restoration and protection of the environment and natural resources opens the door to sustainable socio-economic development. Our emphasis as the EAC is to have a common approach in the protection and conservation of shared trans-boundary natural resources and ecosystems. We will continue to work with Partner States to achieve this and the broad objective of EAC which is to develop policies and programmes aimed at widening and deepening cooperation among the Partner States in political, social and cultural fields; research and technology, defense, security, legal and judicial affairs.

As I conclude, I wish to caution all our citizens in the EAC to have a listening ear to the conservationists. All these people gathered here from different EAC countries, and Organs/institutions, NEMA and leaders who are everyday giving you technical advice cannot tell you what is wrong. e.g. plant trees, don’t encroach on the forest, don’t use buveera, conserve your soils and water; etc. Have a blessed day and wish you all a wonderful occasion.

Thank you for your attention.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Road to COP21: There is no time left to put things off

The world is in critical condition with regard to climate challenge and the year 2015 is a very decisive year if we are to adequately tackle this challenge. If the COP21 in Paris fails to deliver, the already declining faith of the general public in international climate negotiations will be further damaged, possibly irreparably.

On May 27th 2015, Mr. Ban Ki-moon met with international youth at a meeting organised by the European Commission to facilitate youth input into the Sustainable Development Goals. The Secretary General commented that youth are the first generation who can end poverty and the last generation who can address climate change and stated that he was putting youth “in the driver’s seat and giving them the driver’s license.”

We see the road in front of us – the journey ahead which will determine our future. We all have hopes for how we want to live, the things we want to do and the places we want to see. But we cannot do this if we know that our governments do not act as though they share in our ambitions for our collective future.

That is why I support and celebrate the vision of 127 countries that have come out with long term goals. It is my belief that the long-term goals have the potential to unify the parties’ endeavours, putting us all on the same pathway to deep decarbonisation, to build a stable and healthier future for every person not just for the privileged. I strongly recommend that Parties set a quantitative long-term commitment that aligns with the science to give us the highest probability of securing the maximum 1.5ºc temperature rise target, and securing a safe and livable world in 2050 and beyond The most vulnerable nations are saying that this must be done, and they are relying on us the youths (YOUNGO) to deliver this in Paris this year.

Wilfred with the Executive Director of Oxfam, Ms. Winnie Byanyima at COP20 in Lima, Peru

Wilfred Musinguzi with the Executive Director of Oxfam, Ms. Winnie Byanyima at COP20 in Lima, Peru.  Courtesy Photo

For us to deliver, we all need to work together. We need to see governments and civil societies standing together hand in hand. Progress was made with the Lima Declaration on Education and Awareness Raising, but in order to facilitate transformative change towards low-emission and climate-resilient societies, we need policies which place greater emphasis on and provide greater support for climate change education, training, public awareness, public access to information and public participation at all levels and involving all stakeholders.

These negotiations have stalled many times but for the next five years we cannot stall and we must not falter. There is no time left to put things off. To avoid past mistakes and continue to build positively towards the end goal of a more equitable and decarbonised world. We need proposals for an agreement without an expiry date, containing four-year review periods for mitigation commitments where parties are expected to take additional action after each review period, building on each Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to ensure the only way for ambition is up.

A short term action between 2015-2020 is necessary and will support mid and long term goals for decarbonisation. Short term action means developed countries must start cutting emissions deeply today. There is no time left to put things off.

Short-term action also means the phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies in developed countries and financial support for developing countries to redirect fossil subsidies to the phase-in of equitably distributed sources of clean energy.

The Youth need a clean healthy energy future, an ambitious deal in Paris, and a mechanism that represents the developing and developed countries equally: we will still be here in 2050, there is no time left to put things off.

I stand for inter-generational equity and intra-generation for better climate.

About the author

Musinguzi Wilfred was an East African Youth Delegate to the UN climate change conference (COP20) in Lima, Peru. He is a second year student of BA Ethics and Human Rights at Makerere University Kampala. He can be reached on +256752239443 or 


The East African Community and IUCN establish framework for Observatory for Protected Areas

4 June 2015. Arusha, Tanzania. The East African Community (EAC) Secretariat is now the host institution for a regional observatory to support more effective protected area management and biodiversity conservation in the region, made possible through a partnership recently signed with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) supported by the EU-funded Biodiversity and Protected Area Management (BIOPAMA) programme.

The BIOPAMA programme, financed by the 10th European Development Fund of the European Union and implemented by IUCN and partners, aims to assist countries to improve technical and institutional approaches to conserve biodiversity, and address threats to biodiversity in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries while also reducing poverty.

An Observatory for Protected Areas and Biodiversity is being established in the East African Community Secretariat, located in Arusha, Tanzania, to provide decision- and policy-making support on protected areas and biodiversity, in particular within the landscape context in which they exist.

Wildebeest Migration - Serengeti National Park                  Wildebeest Migration, Serengeti National Park. Photo by Christine Mentzel

Supported by a regional reference information system (RRIS), the Observatory will be a central access point to authoritative data on protected areas, biodiversity and related information. It will provide free and open access to global and regional data and information on thematic areas such as land-use, biodiversity, protected areas, mineral deposits and publically accessible mining, oil and gas concessions.

“The observatory will provide relevant data and information that will enhance planning, policy, and decision-making. It will support effective protected area management and biodiversity conservation within the region, in line with the mandate of the environmental sector of the EAC that is to promote co-operation in the conservation and management of natural resources including trans-boundary resources,” said Ms. Wivine Ntamubano, Principal Environment and Natural Resources Officer, East African Community Secretariat.

The EAC Observatory is the first of several others planned for the Eastern and Southern African region and we are very excited about the opportunities for better decision-making that it will provide to the East African Partner States”, said Christine Mentzel, IUCN Senior Programme Officer and BIOPAMA Coordinator for the Eastern and Southern African region.

In addition to the free and open access to data and information, the Observatory will also provide support to the users of the system. An initial workshop to present the regional reference information system (RRIS) and train relevant staff of the Partner States in its functionalities and tools will be held in July 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya.

For more information contact: Ms. Wivine Y. Ntamubano, Principal Environment and Natural Resources Officer, EAC,, Tel: +255772856111

Ms. Christine Mentzel, Senior Programme Officer, IUCN,, +27 74 452 0750

Uganda’s Elephants Increasing in Number – WCS

Uganda’s protection efforts bring good news amidst decline of elephant populations across Africa

Survey confirms need to establish transboundary conservation programs with South Sudan and Kenya and to strengthen existing collaboration with Democratic Republic of Congo

NEW YORK (May 27, 2015)—Aerial surveys of elephant populations in Uganda’s national parks have shown their numbers are increasing according to Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Uganda Wildlife Authority(UWA).

While most elephant populations are declining across Africa these results show how a commitment to supporting effective protection of elephants can lead to their recovery.  The surveys were conducted by WCS and UWA with funding from Paul G Allen and WCS, as part of the Great Elephant Census®.

“It is very encouraging to see elephant numbers increasing in Uganda as a result of effective protection in several parks, despite the rampant poaching and ivory trafficking across much of Africa,” said Dr Paul Elkan, a WCS Senior Conservationist involved in the surveys.  “Continued strong Ugandan Government leadership, targeted investment in field based anti-poaching and anti-trafficking action, and transboundary elephant protection efforts will be critical to these sustaining efforts and addressing the poaching problems in Queen Elizabeth.”



Uganda’s elephant numbers plummeted in the 1970s and 1980s because of widespread poaching and limited resources for the then Uganda National Parks. Elephants became confined to protected areas due to poaching pressures and numbers dropped as low as 700-800 individuals in the country.

With improved protection since the 1990s and the creation of UWA, together with support from Government, donors, and conservation partners, elephant numbers have now increased to over 5,000 individuals.

Aerial surveys conducted in June 2014 by WCS and UWA staff estimated 1,330 elephants in Murchison Falls National Park, 2,913 in Queen Elizabeth National Park and 656 in the Kidepo Valley National Park and neighbouring Karenga Community Wildlife Management area.  Elephant numbers in Queen Elizabeth Park have reached levels similar to those in the 1960s before heavy poaching hit the Park. There is a continued population recovery in Murchison, a former elephant stronghold, and UWA’s protection efforts are yielding positive results for many wildlife species in Kidepo Valley and Karenga.

A number of recent elephant poaching incidents were recorded in Queen Elizabeth demonstrating the critical need for reinforcing anti-poaching and surveillance efforts in the Park both within Uganda and along its border with neighbouring Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo.   No recent elephant poaching incidents were observed in Murchison or Kidepo Park / Karenga during the survey, which is a notable improvement in security for those areas.

Said Dr. Andrew Plumptre Director for the Albertine Rift Program of WCS: “It is clear that some elephants move back and forth between Queen Elizabeth and Virunga Parks and as a result elephants survived better in this landscape during periods of conflict than the elephants in Murchison Falls National Park. The results of an aerial survey of the adjacent Virunga Park with ICCN, conducted at the same time, estimated fewer than 50 elephants left in that park because of the high levels of poaching there and they have migrated to Uganda for security.  Some 3,000 elephants were estimated to occur in Virunga in the early 1960s.”

The survey also confirmed the importance of establishing transboundary conservation programs with Kidepo Wildlife Reserve in South Sudan and adjacent areas in Kenya.

Uganda was labelled by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) in 2012 as one of the eight countries  of primary concern in the ivory trade because of the volume of illegal ivory that had passed through Uganda.

Said Dr Andrew Seguya, Executive Director for UWA: “UWA and the Government of Uganda is committed to securing our elephant populations throughout the country and to fighting the ivory trafficking, much of which passes through Uganda rather than originating from our parks. We have established a Wildlife Crime Unit, with the support of WCS, dedicated to tackling the movement of ivory and other wildlife products through Uganda and are looking for further support to increase our capability to tackle this problem.”

While it is encouraging that elephant numbers are increasing, poaching remains a big challenge nevertheless in Uganda and there is a need to remain vigilant.  For example, the discovery of illegally killed elephants in Queen Elizabeth Park recently means that Uganda is still not completely secure from poaching but the new survey results provide encouragement for conservationists when nearly every other country in Africa is showing drastic declines in numbers of elephants.

CITES and UNEP support strengthening of wildlife laws

88 countries and 13 dependent territories need to strengthen their legal frameworks for combating illegal trade in wildlife

17 countries, including 3 EAC Partner States, identified by CITES as requiring priority attention

Geneva, 5 May 2015 – According to the latest figures released by the National Legislation Project of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife and Flora (CITES), 88 countries and 13 dependent territories need to strengthen their legal frameworks for the effective implementation of CITES, including to combat illegal trade in wildlife.
The CITES National Legislation Project has identified 17 countries that require attention as a priority, namely Algeria, Belize, Plurinational State of Bolivia, Comoros, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritania, Mozambique, Pakistan, Paraguay, Rwanda, Somalia, United Republic of Tanzania and Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Elephant with its head tilted, Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana

Elephant with its head tilted, Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana. Thousands of elephants are killed every year for ivory.  Photo Courtesy of

Pursuant to CITES resolutions and decisions and following the call from the UN Secretary General to strengthen the UN System response to tackling illegal trade in wild fauna and flora, UNEP and the CITES Secretariat today announced a collaborative initiative to provide assistance to priority countries and territories, upon their request, to enhance their legislation.

This includes the provision of targeted legal advice on the four basic domestic measures required by CITES, compilation of examples of best legislation, drafting support and close cooperation with UNODC and UNDP on the implementation of the relevant provisions of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the strengthening of the rule of law and the fight against corruption. A Webpage containing model laws, examples of existing legislation and relevant information has been created by the CITES Secretariat and can be found at

“Ensuring the 35,000 species of plants and animals listed under CITES are not illegally traded or exploited unsustainably requires effective national legal frameworks in each of the 181 Parties to the Convention. This joint initiative between CITES and UNEP will offer targeted technical support to countries to meet CITES legislative requirements, which is critical to fight the illegal trade in wildlife” said John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General.
“At the first United Nations Environment Assembly in 2014, the Executive Director was requested to continue to support national Governments, upon their request, to develop and implement the environmental rule of law. This joint initiative between CITES and UNEP will help build national legislation, and in that context to support the fight against the illegal wildlife trade” said Ibrahim Thiaw, Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of UNEP.

In June 2014, the first session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) of UNEP adopted Resolution 1/3 on Illegal Trade in Wildlife, which spoke to the need to implement existing commitments, ensure synergies in efforts to address illicit trade in wildlife and forest resources, and to enhance international coordination to counter the illegal trade. The Resolution also called upon member States and regional economic integration organizations to:

  • Support work to reinforce the legal framework, including through deterrent measures, where necessary, and to strengthen capacity throughout the entire enforcement chain;

The UNEA Resolution requested the Executive Director of UNEP:

  • To continue to support national Governments, upon their request, to develop and implement the environmental rule of law, and in that context to continue its efforts to fight the illegal wildlife trade and to continue to promote actions, including through capacity-building.

The UNEA Resolution also recognizes the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as the principal international instrument for ensuring that international trade in specimens of endangered wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival, and, together with the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), and national legislation, provides the legal basis for addressing much of the illicit trade in wildlife and forest resources.

This joint initiative was made possible by a generous financial contribution from the governments of the United Kingdom and Japan to the CITES Secretariat and the financial and technical support of the Division of Environmental Law & Conventions (DELC) of UNEP.

Hailstones kill 42 in Shinyanga ahead of World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

Large hailstones, destructive winds and rain battered Kahama village, Shinyanga Province in Tanzania on March 3, 2015, killing 42 people and leaving over 90 injured. Hundreds of houses were destroyed leaving families without shelter and food.  Many people sought refuge at a local primary school.  The government sent aid to the storm hit area.

New climate analyses have indicated that global warming is likely to cause a robust increase in the conditions that produce these types of storms.  The only way to reduce the frequency of such thunderstorms is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the scientists say.

Residents of Kahama holding the huge blocks of hailstones

Residents of Kahama holding the huge blocks of hailstones (Courtesy Photo)

Senior Meteorological Officer at the East African Community Secretariat, Mr. John Mungai, clarifies on this: “Early warning systems is one of the adaptation tools that can be used to address issues of drought, floods and hailstorms,” he said.

He says that all Partner States Meteorological Services are already producing forecasts that range from daily to three days, 10 days, monthly and seasonal scale predictions. The challenge now, he says, is communicating these products down to the village level.

However, the EAC countries are not yet equipped to forecast fast forming occurrences in the range of 1-3 hours.  “We need what is known as nowcasting, predictions for the range of 0 – 6hrs,” Mungai said.

The thunderstorm caused extensive damage to homes and property

The thunderstorm caused extensive damage to homes and property (Courtesy Photo)

He adds that as long as decision makers appreciate the linkages between weather, climate, sustainable development and food security, the Secretariat should be able to attract the kind of funding from Governments and Development Partners required to upgrade weather/climate systems in East Africa.

“EAC and Partner States are striving to have these systems and institutions in place and hopefully in future we should be able to predict these things in a timely and accurate manner and warn people well ahead of time.”

EAC Secretariat officials will be among the nearly 8,000 representatives from governments, civil society, donor agencies and development organizations converging in Sendai, Japan, this weekend to adopt a new framework to guide stakeholders on how to reduce disaster risks, such as this one of Kahama.

“Managing disaster early warnings is both a science and an art. When done well, it literally saves lives — but only if the word quickly reaches all those at risk, and they know how to react,” says Mr. Nalaka Gunawardene, a science writer who has covered disasters for over 20 years. He says early warnings work best when adequate technological capability is combined with streamlined decision-making, multiple dissemination systems and well-prepared communities.

“Rapid onset disasters — such as tsunamis and flash floods — allow only a tight window from detection to impact, typically 15 to 90 minutes. Other hazards, such as cyclones and floods, may occur within a few hours or days of detection.” The UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will take place from 14-18 March, 2015.