Scientists from Two Continents Are Now Working Together to Improve the Health of the African Great Lakes

Scientists from Two Continents Are Now Working Together to Improve the Health of the African Great Lakes

By Sumeep Bath, Communications Manager, IISD Experimental Lakes Area

 Admittedly, it hasn’t been the summer we expected or planned for at IISD Experimental Lakes Area—the world’s freshwater laboratory—but we made sure that the core monitoring of our lakes and ongoing research was maintained, and that our community stayed safe.

There was also some good news to celebrate. The International Institute for Sustainable Development and the African Center for Aquatic Research and Education announced that we were joining forces to strengthen the global large-lakes scientific community.

This means that world-class scientists and researchers from across North America and Africa will be putting their heads, and expertise, together to tackle some of the most pressing issues—algal blooms, climate change, invasive species, fragile fisheries, to name but a few—facing the African Great Lakes (AGL) today.

What are the African Great Lakes?

The AGL are highly valuable natural resources, renowned for their rich fisheries and “biodiversity hotspots.” Consequently, they, and the ecosystem services they provide, underpin the welfare and livelihoods of over 50 million people across 10 countries. Despite the recognized importance of the AGL, these vital ecosystems and their livelihood support systems are threatened by the impact of human activity by numerous anthropogenic stressors at local, regional, and global scales.

The African Great Lakes are lakes Albert, Edward, Kivu, Malawi/Nyasa/Niassa, Tanganyika, Turkana, and Victoria. You can learn more about the African Great Lakes here.

Fishing boats on Lake Kivu, Rwanda
Fishing Canoes on the Lake with the Sun’s Reflection on Water. Lake Kivu, Rwanda.
Lake Kivu is shared by Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo courtesy of ACARE

How does this project work?

The partnership between the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the African Center for Aquatic Research and Education (ACARE) provides an opportunity for the world’s freshwater laboratory and networks on the African Great Lakes to come together and strengthen science on large freshwater resources and the countries in which they reside.

IISD-ACARE combines the legal and policy expertise of IISD’s vast expert staff with ACARE’s newly created African network of large-lakes experts and scientists in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.


What are we working on?

During its first year, the new partnership will boost the activities of six Advisory Groups that were created to address specific issues on each of the African Great Lakes. Members of each group are harmonizing priorities on the lakes to advance work on scientific inquiry, monitoring, climate change, and education and training, among other issues.


How can I learn more and get involved?

If you want to learn more about the project, or discuss collaborating and getting involved, be sure to visit the ACARE website, or contact us directly.


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