Aquatic Resources of Kenya (ARK II) Conference at Naivasha
by David Harper; I have just attended the Aquatic Resources of Kenya (ARK II) Conference at Naivasha. Organised by Kenya Marine & Fisheries Organisation (KMFRI) at the Wildlife Training Institute. It was a well attended conference, about 200 people but most of them Kenyan with just a smattering of those from East Africa and further afield. Many of the presentations were on topics that CBCF has made films - aquaculture, marine conservation, mangroves and of course, Naivasha. One whole day was devoted to Naivasha and our film "Lake on the Edge" was shown three times. I met academics from three universities who use CBCF material for teaching but I talked to many more who could benefit. Sarah, Education Officer from CORDIO who attended our Education Officers’ workshop in Bogoria, made an excellent presentation about educational tools, including games and role-playing.
A whole day was spent discussing Naivasha and its problems, with many visitors from outside such as the Mayor and the LNRA Secretary, who were on the panel, and numerous stakeholders. Many of those had seen CBCF films in our public showings, especially the meeting called by the Lake Naivasha WRUA a year ago at which I showed 'Beginning of the End'. By the end of the conference, a Letter was prepared for the Minister of Environment from the conference delegates and delivered to the Assistant Minister, who closed the conference. The letter contained support for many of the conservation proposals that have been made before about the lake as well as the creation of a Technical Task Force of scientists which would assist the implementation of the Management Plan, once it is agreed. Therein lines a problem; the first Management Plan made eleven years ago as part of the Ramsar process and gazetted by the government six years ago is stuck in court because certain few stakeholders objected to it and were financially backed by a rogue flower-grower to do this. That was 2005 and it is still there. Since then, management plans have mushroomed - not just for the lake but the catchment, particulalry the water balance. There are now more management plans than there are fish species in the lake! Maybe we need a film about management plans.