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Kagera TAMP - Bugesera aquatic landscapes endowed with a management plan - 8th July 2011 Kirundo province, Burundi

The Management Plan was validated at a workshop held on July 8th 2011 at Centre Amahoro conference building in Kirundo province, northern Burundi. It gathered eighty participants including administration officials of the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment, environmental experts and locally elected leaders. The presence of the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Odette KAYITESI was highly appreciated as natural resources are still degrading and lakes are drying up. On its 14 protected areas, Bugesera region covers 21 000 hectares. In this area, Kirundo province is said to be the mostly degraded. The degradation is exacerbated by a high demographic pressure and inadequate farming methods and climate change

According to Salvator NDABIRORERE KAGERA TAMP Project Manager in Burundi, the Plan has a double role “protecting natural resources and poverty control”.

Photos of the workshop | Presentations



Quid on Kagera Aquatic Zone’s Management Plan

The Plan seeks improvement and mastery of natural systems for hydrological and climatic regulation, conservation and improvement of living conditions of the biodiversity of lakes, marshlands and vegetation of Murehe locality. It also aims at protecting Burundi’s undisputed, spectacular and unique landscapes, with their cultural, scientific  and tourist values , as well as integration of the population in Bugesera region’s ecosystems management. The Plan originates from a law providing a joint management by the State (represented by INECN and the local administration) and the community, in the proportions 60-40 percent, with the government being responsible for the daily running of the Protected Area.

Protected Aquatic areas including the Bugesera marshland and associated hills will allow the public to enjoy tourism, normal and economic activity while respecting traditional modes of land use. In this category of zoning, man is not seen as a destabilizing  factor, but a necessary one. This category encourages creation of other special zones and protected areas to reduce conflicts. On the contrary, the zoning category named “ Integral Natural Reserve” of Murehe aims to ban all human activities for the sake of vegetation regeneration and maintenance  of natural processes. The Murehe Reserve does not provide buffer zones for it is set on a narrow area. The reserve also provides displacement of the populations living inside it and its delimitation.

“Managed Natural Reserve”, another other zoning category, deals with management of lakes Rweru, Rwihinda and Kanzigiri evolving under human influence and needing protection. Sustainable fishing is permitted in those water resources. Creation of conditions notably conducive for return of birds will boost tourist, scientific and education activities. This zone provides eradication of the water hyacinthand other weeds. Populations of one of its marshlands called Kuruyoka will be displaced from the Reserve for protection reasons.

“Integral Zones” comprising lakes Gacamirina, Nagitamo and Mwungere and marshlands of the secondary valleys  of Akanyaru river  connecting with  all lakes notably Nyavyamo and Ruduhira, constitute a zoning out of human influence to ensure  maintenance of  natural species.  

“Managed Natural Reserve” and “Integral Zones” demand the setting up of belts of a 50m distance from the lakes’ borders to allow them keep their role of water regulation and protection of animals and their living milieu.

Protection of the aquatic zones appeals for sustainable organization of fishing activities notably through associations of fishmongers, and depending on cases, ban farming and fishing lakes in those areas. Management programs related to the Plan requires updating of  a law on delimitation of the zones and adoption of another law on community participation in protection activities. The program also provide reinforcement of surveillance in the protected areas by availing enough staff and equipment to the guards. 

A sustained environmental education is also required for all protection stakeholders among them transporters, fishmongers often contributing to pollution of the lakes, without forgetting administration officials who are sometimes accomplices in depletion of aquatic resources. Sensitization of the population involved in environment policies and administration is also required.  The Management Plan also encourages practice of ecotourism likely to generate funds which will be used for maintenance of the aquatic zones and resources therein, and favor socioeconomic development of riverine communities.

Research will be carried out notably on integrated development requiring participation, and on rational fishing and grass cutting in the protected zones. Maintenance of biological resources will require practice of sustainable agriculture integrating agro forestry, and soil protection, alternatives to fragile biological resources, with other best practices as aquaculture, beekeeping and indoor stockbreeding, use of adequate fishing nets, etc.  Consultations and coordination, added to an alert system are also provided in the Management Plan. This plan also calls for implementation of a code of conduct that cannot spare even authorities. To be effective the Plan to protect the Bugesera aquatic zone also provides a community conservation and development plan notably banning day fishing and poaching.

Stakeholders in the management of the Bugesera aquatic zone appeal for continuation of diffusion of nature  protection laws and their translation in local language (Kirundi), adoption of implementation texts, permanent consultation framework among protection stakeholders, and environmental impact assessments  in implementing projects in the Bugesera Aquatic zone.

The minister of Agriculture is optimistic on the success of the Plan, saying that “ a raised question is half settled”. According to the Nature Conservation Institute-INECN, Burundi has recorded a major progress as its Protected areas varied from 0.2% in 2005 to 10% in 2011.


FAO Burundi