Earlier this month, we asked our supporters to take action to protect Kenya’s Lake Turkana. Many of you answered the call, flooding the inboxes of World Heritage Committee members with hundreds of emails urging them to save this World Heritage site and the people who depend on it.
At the recent annual meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Bonn, several governments even added their voices to the chorus, pushing for urgent action to protect the lake.
Unfortunately, the international scrutiny wasn’t enough to carry the day: Ethiopia, in complicity with Kenya, blocked any meaningful action. The two governments were granted another year to begin studying the impacts of the Gibe III Dam and associated sugar plantations – a study the Committee has been requesting since 2012. And if anything, the situation is becoming more urgent. Ethiopia began filling the Gibe III reservoir in January, heedless of the Committee’s request to await the outcome of the study.
Now we have another chance to stand up for the rights of the people of Lake Turkana and the remarkable place they call home.
Next week, President Obama will pay a visit to Ethiopia – the first time ever for a sitting US president. The United States is the biggest aid donor to Ethiopia, so Obama’s in a unique position to defend the lake. We sent President Obama a letter earlier this week, urging him to pressure the Ethiopian government to protect Lake Turkana and the people who depend on it. Now we need your help.