The Katwe-Kabatooro Town Council and Katwe Tourism Information Center (KATIC) have entered into a partnership...
towards management of crater lakes in the town council, which include Lake Munyanyange and Katwe Salt Lake. Lake Munyanyange is a small semi-permanent crater Llake located to the North East of Katwe town council.The lake is an important habitat for migratory birds and has one of the largest concentrations of the lesser black-backed gulls, Larus fuscus and other waders. These birds are Palearctic migrants arriving in October and departing in April, although some birds can be found at the lake at any other part of the year. Thousands of these birds roost at the lake. About 32 water bird species have been recorded at the lake and during the waterfowl counts of July 2010, a total of 410 birds representing 11 species were recorded. Lake Katwe is the only surviving natural Crater Lake in Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Albertine Rift where traditional salt mining is still carried out.
The 10 year partnership aims at ensuring the protection and conservation of the Crater Lake from livestock or agricultural encroachment and other potential degradation actions, promoting ecotourism development for sustainable biodiversity conservation, and generating revenue for the council and KATIC through ecotourism development for livelihood improvement. The partnership framework provides for sustainable management and utilization of the local resources including development and Implementation of the Katwe-Kabatoro Crater Lakes Ecotourism Management Plan; mobilization and sensitization of communities for conservation of crater lakes and increasing economic benefits from biodiversity conservation.
To oversee the implementation of the partnership, a joint steering committee with membership from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and the Association of Salt miners has been established. The partnership was sealed at a signing ceremony which took place on 23rd September 2011 at Hippo Hill Camp and was presided over by the mayor of Katwe-Kabatooro town council, represented by the speaker and witnessed by conservation area manager for Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area, members of the executive committees representing the town council and KATIC, the USAID-STAR program director and representatives of the media houses in Kasese District.
This partnership has been facilitated by USAID-STAR as part of modeling local government partnerships in managing wildlife outside protected areas and using ecotourism as an incentive for protecting biodiversity. In his remarks, the mayor was encouraged by the spirit of the negotiation between the two parties that has culminated in signing the MoU. The mayor noted that the crater lakes especially lake Munyanyange face many challenges and was happy that KATIC has come to join hands with the town council in managing the lake for the benefit of the town council, Katwe community, and conservation. He reiterated that the town council is committed to working with KATIC and other development partners in ensuring that the objectives of the partnership are realized. He appreciated the support provided by USAID-STAR to KATIC and appealed for more support to both KATIC and the town council in developing the tourism potentials in the town council.
For more information about the tourism products available through the Katwe Tourism Information Center (currently going thorugh a rebranding) visit PearlofUganda.org:
Photo: Katwe-Kabatooro Town Clerk and KATIC General Secretary sign the MoU