East African Great Lake Observatory

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nairobi
Department Name: Biological Sciences


The EAGLO project brings together leading scientists in focused research activities and scientific exchange for a two year period. In addition to the PI and Co-I, the research will be supported by partners from leading institutions with experience in climate, limnology, economics and decision support in the African Lakes region. The project will strongly benefit from the past and present participation of project researchers nationally and internationally sponsored research in the region. Project scientists will make new developments in monitoring (in-situ and earth observation), modelling (socio-economic, biogeochemical, hydrological) and management technologies, focusing on regional trends in lake ecosystem dynamics. These tools will enable the simulation of the mutual feedbacks between socio-economic drivers, climate and regional environmental change (eg. trends in watershed and airshed conditions) and ecosystem services. Based on this new understanding of ecosystem resilience, scientists will identify new opportunities for adaptation to improve human well being and reduce regional poverty. Within the project, three linked working groups will perform activities related to research, technological development, scientific exchange and dissemination. 1. Monitoring protocol and technology development: Activities: - development of common protocols for monitoring biological, physical and chemical parameters (incl. definition of temporal and spatial scales for data acquisition). Specifically, creating a common protocol that can be used to compare conditions of lake stratification, primary production, eutrophication, carbon sequestration, trophic networks, etc. - development of regionally valid calibration algorithms for earth observation and analysis approaches for the study of spatio-temporal dynamics of high elevation African lakes using multispectral satellite data (MODIS, MERIS, SeaWiFs). - collaboration with international satellite database archive managers (ESA, NASA, NERC EODC) to increase the availability of calibrated satellite data to African researchers and planners. Expected participants: EAGLO scientists, NGOs and regional environmental agencies, Target audiences: regional scientists, national ministries, international scientific community 2. Regional lake / climate / environmental database Activities: - development of EAGLO.base, a research database protocol and database structure for African lakes data. - link the EAGLO.base protocol and structure to the EIDC Expected participants: EAGLO scientists, regional environmental agencies, EIDC scientists Target audiences: regional scientists, national ministries and policy makers, international scientific community 3. Ecosystem scenario simulation and analysis Activities: - development of scenarios (to 2050) based on trends in resource quality, ecosystem functioning, resource utilisation and climate. - interlinked dynamics will be examine using models developed in present and past projects. Expected participants: EAGLO scientists, national ministries, NGOs Target audiences: national ministries and policy makers, regional scientific community, supranational (AU) policy makers, NGOs An initial workshop, open to project partners and the regional stakeholders and policy makers will be organised in the first year. Development of specific technological and modelling aspects will be organised through a project communication platform and through short term exchanges (<1 month) of project scientists and junior researchers. Each working group (3) will hold a scientific workshop during the second year of the project to consolidate the results produced, ensure the collaborative development of these instruments with stakeholders, and indicate the requirements for further development.
Description The significance of the East African Great Lakes lies in the ecosystem services that they provide to the local and regional communities (water supply, fisheries, waste disposal, transportation, recreation, tourism, energy, ). To address challenges occasioned by climate change and other regional drivers that compromise ecosystem functioning, an ESPA framework project - East African Great Lakes Observatory (EAGLO) - was initiated to develop an inter-basin knowledge exchange and comparative analysis. The ESPA EAGLO project and network is dedicated towards the development regionally-based instruments for the sustainable management of large lake ecosystems in East Africa. The specific objectives of the project were:

1. To create regionally based protocols for the long term monitoring of resource quality and ecosystem functioning

2. To improve access to shared data and information,

3. To develop future scenarios in ecosystem services and poverty/well being.

The participants of the Framework Project consist of the core group of scientists (PIs, Co-PIs, Partners) as well as a larger group of scientists, policy makers decision makers and practitioners that have joined the ESPA EAGLO network during the project. The two PIs, Eric Odada and David Harper worked closely with the Co-PIs, Victor Langenberg, Frank Kansiime and Steven Loiselle as well as Washington Ochola and Caroline Upton. The project benefited from the presence of a number of partners, including Drs Adgo, Cozar, Descy, Hakizimana, Isumbisho, Kimirei, Van der Knaap, Moreau and Sarmento. In addition, as the ESPA project progressed, more than 20 additional scientists and policy makers from East Africa and Europe joined the project, bringing important contributions to the research and working groups, allowing the project to create a strong regional presence as well as opening up the project to international collaborations. Also, through the participation of practitioners and stakeholders from private sector and civil society, additional insights were leveraged for wider utility of the Framework Project's outputs.

In the first year of the project, the scientific team focused on the development of methodologies, active engagement with decision makers, stakeholders and policy makers throughout East Africa and developing strategies and pathways for the creation of regional protocols, information management and analysis of future trends. This was initiated through a highly successful scenario workshop and first stakeholder meeting (December 2010, Kisumu Kenya) which set the stage and structure for the activities of the first year. The focus was on a developing regional vision between the major stakeholders, policy makers and scientists of the African Great Lakes to managing and monitoring these vital ecosystems. The workshop participants identified information needs and priorities of key stakeholders and set out progress markers for observed and predicted processes of change within key basins. They also laid out expected stakeholder outcomes expressed as changes in behaviour upon receipt and utilization of the lake management and monitoring knowledge for addressing ecosystems and socio-economic challenges in the basins. An inter-lake dialogue and comparison of socio-economic and environmental drivers were made with respect to ecosystem functioning and services, in particular their links to sustainable development and poverty reduction. The workshop used participatory scenario-development methodology coupled with expert and stakeholder presentations. The participants identified the need for a regional approach that reinforces and supports policy making and resource management. Specific recommendations were directed at key requirements for successful regional lakes management including: poverty alleviation, monitoring of ecosystems functioning and catchment's land use and fisheries management. Requirements for regional indicators and new communication approaches were developed after extensive discussion. The workshop concluded in the constitution of working groups (Regional Monitoring working group, Ecosystem scenario working group, Regional management and communication working group).

In the second period of the project, members of each working group conducted specific analysis and developments. Exchange of ideas and progress between working groups occurred particularly on the inter-linkages between ecosystems services and trade-offs. The ESPA EAGLO project continued to acquire new participants and attract the attention of policy makers and decision makers throughout East Africa. New proposals and shared activities were developed where methodological shortcomings and information gaps were identified. The results of these developments were presented at international conferences and published in the second year of the project (see publication list).

Significant efforts were made to further develop and refine the EAGLO scenario/design approaches and ecosystem analysis tools. These approaches were validated and further refined in the second Scientific Meeting and Scenario Workshop, held in Nairobi (24-27 April, 2012) with the participation of nearly 30 scientists, stakeholders and policy makers from East Africa and beyond. During the workshop, an expert review of the best practices, scenario building, monitoring approaches and management approaches was made. The emerging scenarios were refined and communication products were generated targeting knowledge users. Project delivery strategy and post-project strategies were discussed. Prior to the workshop, consultations were conducted among the scientists and broad cross-section of other actors using an online survey, aimed at, through a Delphi technique, collating expert views of the EAGL ecosystems and poverty linked trends and trade-offs. From the best practices, key lessons were synthesized to inform ecosystem services provisioning, fisheries management and design of tools and methods. Results from the three working groups were integrated to explore the implications of trends of key ecosystem services of the East African Great Lakes region, and then modified (management and monitoring) to respond to optimum trade-offs. Knowledge sharing strategies were further developed, with specific attention on perceived key ecosystem services by regional and community level stakeholders.

Three new issues (co-management, climate change adaptation and ecosystems services valuation) emerged from the scenario activities as well as the findings of the working groups. EAGLO network members strived to integrate them in subsequent activities. Furthermore, to improve the regional comparison of lake ecosystem services, a subgroup of WG3 scientists and decision makers began work on a summary matrix of key ecosystem services for EAGLO lakes, based on primary inputs from the EAGLO network and analysis of secondary sources. Specific local case studies were made to explore, analyse and value suites of ES and their livelihood contributions, through empirical work by EAGLO team members (within the limits of the Framework programme).

New working groups (Co-management working group, Climate change adaptation working group and Ecosystem services valuation sub-working group) were formed and worked together to meet these information challenges. The existing working groups contributed with regional information and including the initial results of the new groups into their ongoing analysis.
Exploitation Route Common regional database for policy and scenario analysis

Regional scenario analysis tools

Regional lake management framework

Regional lake ecosystem monitoring approach EAGLO website, EAGLO related publications
Sectors Environment

URL http://websibn78.seventyeight.axc.nl/index.php
Description Researchers also developed a community based lake monitoring protocol to respond to policy makers' objectives to provide communities with the capacity to share in the monitoring of the resources on which they depend. Integrated with geographic and temporal data of main environmental drivers, this approach will allow stakeholders to associate changes in the lake ecosystem with key environmental drivers, improving the exchange of knowledge between lake managers. EAGLO partners are identifying funding sources to bring this community monitoring approach to lake communities around East Africa
Sector Cultural,Societal
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

Description EAGLO Workshop December 2010, Kisumu
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Description Evidence of impact on policy and practice
Title Geographic database of lake drivers 
Description Specific indicators to monitor the conditions and dynamics of the lakes, lake communities, ecosystem services and environmental drivers were developed by the EAGLO participants over the first year of the project and consolidated in the second. These focused on the information priorities identified by key stakeholders regarding observed and predicted processes of change within lake basins and impacting lake ecosystem management and local population well being. Indicator development and elaboration occurred in the second year of the project and was validated in the second scenario workshop. Geographic information on specific indicators was constructed for 15 Lake Basins, and this has been made available on the project web site 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2013 
Provided To Others? No  
Description EAGLO 
Organisation East African Great Lakes Observatory (EAGLO)
Country Kenya 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution EAGLO team members have contributed to decision making activities in most major lake management bodies such as the Lake Tanganyika Authority, the Lake Victoria Development Programme, the Nile Basin initiative. Links between regional initiatives such as the Equatorial Africa Deposition Network? (EADN) and EAGLO have been made. Links with global networks such as GLEON, ESA TIGER, and the Globolakes project have been established.
Start Year 2012
Description Partnership with Belgian project (BELSPO) on Change Sensitivity in African Lakes 
Organisation University of Namur
Country Belgium 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution (see http://www.eagles-kivu.be) In this BELSPO project, historical, new insitu and laboratory studies will be combined in data bases of limnological variables, plankton (diversity, biomass and production of phyto- and zooplankton), fish abundance and meteorological data will be completed by sediment archives (biogeochemical and biological proxies) and by remote sensing of phytoplankton biomass and surface hydrological features,to increase our present understanding of ecosystem biodiversity and functioning. Research objectives will: * link atmospheric forcing and the lake's physics: relation between atmospheric conditions and lake temperature and water column structure, aiming to understand/simulate the variability of seasonal mixing processes and forecast long term changes * link physical processes with biological and ecological (e.g. nutrient availability) processes: diversity and biomass of plankton, fate of primary production in the planktonic food web, fish abundance and fisheries yield * predict future changes of ecosystem processes and resources, as a result from fisheries management, exploitation of methane from the deep waters, and climate change (linking global climate to regional climate).
Start Year 2011
Description African Lakes 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Mzime Ndebele-Murisa, Presented the long-term planning of EAGLOnet at COP 17 in a number of forums one of which was a special session under the African Pavilion that was hosted by the UNFCCCC

COP 17
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011