The LEAF II Project is a transboundary project being jointly implemented by the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Uganda and is coordinated regionally by the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP-CU). Its overall objective is to sustainably utilize the fisheries and allied natural resources of the Lakes Edward and Albert Basin through harmonized legal framework and policies.
In order to facilitate better and coordinated management of the fish and water resources of the two transboundary lakes between the D.R. Congo and Uganda - Lakes Edward and Albert, NELSAP-CU procured four high capacity patrol boats and trained 24 boat coxswains and operators from the two countries on their use and maintenance. The aim of this initiative is to support both countries in lake monitoring, control and facilitate cooperation and promote joint surveillance of the two transboundary lakes. This is for mutual benefit of the two countries and will reduce the rampant illegal activities, and reduce conflicts and infractions between the two countries over the shared water resources. This activity is within the framework of the Bilateral Agreement for the Sustainable Management of Fisheries and Aquaculture for the Lakes Edward and Albert and their Basin, which was signed by both countries on 20th October 2018 in Kampala, Uganda. The LEAF II Project provided technical support in drafting the Bilateral Agreement, and facilitated country-level dialogue, consultations and adoption of the Bilateral Agreement. LEAF II Project continues to monitor and lead the implementation of different provisions of this Bilateral Agreement. One such provision is the establishment of a mechanism for joint (bilateral) patrols on the two transboundary lakes. It is towards these efforts that LEAF II Project procured and delivered four fully equipped patrol boats to DR Congo and Uganda (with two to each country)
and trained 24 boat coxswains and operators (12 from each country) on operation and maintenance of the patrol boats. The boats were delivered to the Ugandan sites of Mweya on Lake Edward and Butiaba on Lake Albert, on 15th January 2019; and to the DRC sites of Kihongiro on Lake Edward and Kasenyi on Lake Albert, by 9th February 2019. The technical trainings were conducted at Mweya and Butiaba waterfronts in Uganda between 28th January 2019 and 1st February 2019.
“I came to this training to learn about the new boats, I have never seen such a boat before, but I am very grateful to the initiators of this project of LEAF II because now we have been fully trained on how to operate the boat,” says Ceasar Mazimwe, a Marine Commandant and Ranger working for the Virunga National Park in the D.R Congo. “This boat will help us to better manage our Lakes and since we have been trained together and will eventually do patrols together, it will help forge a closer relationship with our brothers from Uganda,” added Ceasar Mazimwe.
“Today we have learnt how to operate this new speed boats, how to drive the boats and how to navigate through the lake using it,” says Nikambi Jonathan, a UPDF Marine based at Butiaba, Uganda.
“We came together to train with our brothers from the D.R Congo and we have learnt how to coordinate with our colleagues, how to communicate using the boat communication system and how we can help one another,” explains Nikambi Jonathan. The speed boats are currently under test runs before official launch later in the year. The speed boats are fitted with among others night vision and recording of vision gadgets, water ejector system to avoid drowning, latest VHF radio frequency for communication with police and military, a radar detection system, fixed and mobile search lights, high speed and noise reduction systems.
ONE OF THE FOUR MODERN EQUIPPED SURVEILLANCE BOATS LEAF II PROJECT PROVIDED TO THE D.R CONGO AND UGANDA FOR JOINT SURVEILLANCE OF TRANSBOUNDARY LAKES EDWARD AND ALBERT