Sustainable Use of Critical Wetlands in Lake Victoria Basin: Actions for Nature and for People

Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) (Photo: BirdLife)

The Lake Victoria Basin

Lake Victoria is the largest tropical lake and second largest freshwater lake in the world with surface area of 68,800 km2   and a basin area of 194,000 km2 that straddles Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. More than 30 million livelihoods depend on this ecosystem for their livelihoods that include landed fish of about $400 million in value every year, extensive irrigated agriculture and tourism, cottage industry from papyrus as well as sand and clay harvesting. The Lake, its tributaries and related wetlands comprise and ecosystem with extraordinary biodiversity and ecosystem service values.

The challenge

Burgeoning population within the Lake Victoria Basin has led to overexploitation of wetlands resources, encroachment, destruction and degradation of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) have resulted in loss of key ecosystems services and with it a diminishing ability to support local livelihoods sustainably. An upsurge of pollution necessitated by waste disposal from large industries and chemical runoff from agriculture are increasingly threatening the health of ecosystems and communities.

Low awareness of ecological values and limited capacity of local stakeholders to meaningfully engage in sustainable resource management and governance poses an increased threat to sustainable natural resource management.

Addressing the issues

This project funded by the MacArthur Foundation will strengthen governance structures for sustainable and equitable management of wetlands, apply economic valuation tools to improve the understanding and appreciation of wetland values, facilitate knowledge exchange to enhance sustainable wetland policies and their implementation in the LVB.

Find out more in our fact sheet.

Project countries & sites: Burundi (Ruvubu National Park), Kenya (Yala Delta), Tanzania (Mara Bay & Masirori Swamp), Uganda (Lutembe Bay).

Project duration: January 2015 – December 2017

Project Partners:

Association Burundaise pour la Conservation de la Nature, Burundi

BirdLife Africa Secretariat Office, Tanzania

Nature Kenya, Kenya

Nature Uganda, Uganda

Ramsar Centre for Eastern Africa


Key stakeholders: UNEP – World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP – WCMC), IUCN Biodiversity and Fresh Water and Florida International University (FIU), Rare Species Conservatory Foundation and East African Plant Red List Authority.


Chris Magero
Project Manager
BirdLife International