Monday, 16 July 2012

UNESCO rejects the Turkana plan

There is worry about Lake Turkana’s future following the fact that UNESCO rejected their proposals to list the lake as one of the World Heritage Site. Having the lake listed as heritage sites will it the fame it has always wanted to able to survive the attack of developments which is currently threatening its survival more from the Ethiopian country. UNESCO made the decision last week and it sparked anger from activists across the globe who believe that this global body is unfair.  Ikal Angelei, who is an activist and founder of the Friends of Lake Turkana, who have been fighting to save the lake, said that it is actually a sad day for the all of them.

Lake Turkana has been getting an amount of Sh340 million which is about US$4 million from UNESCO every year to support the lake projects. Lake Turkana was listed together with 3 other sites which are also under threat by Geneva-based International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) but the major threat is coming from the Gibe 3 dam which is under construction on the Omo River which is the main source of Lake Turkana water. According to information that is provided by the researchers, this dam will lead to reduction in the amount of water level and therefore lead to increased salinity which will later on  lead to a decline in fish and wildlife stock in the area which is the largest desert lake. According to IUCN and other local activists, this will affect so many people including the local residents who depend on the lake for their survival. There is another problem of poaching and livestock grazing plus so many other large developments in northern Kenya which are all challenges to the park.

Angelei won the 2012 Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa at the beginning of 2012 appreciating all her efforts to save the lake. Today, Friends of Lake Turkana have been decampaigning the establishment of the Gibe 3 Dam and so far they have been able to get the stop the African Development Bank from funding the dam in spite of strong lobbying from Ethiopia. IUCN had suggested that Lake Turkana National Park, Dja Faunal Reserve in Cameroon, Virgin Komi Forests in Russia, and Pitons Management Area in Saint Lucia be added to the List of World Heritage in Danger unfortunately all them were rejected last week.

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