Lake Tanganyika and its basin have always been recognised as a global and threatened heritage. Several important initiatives have been undertaken in the last twenty years. The most recognised is the International Scientific Conference on Biodiversity Conservation of Lake Tanganyika, held in 1991. It has been a catalyst for many partnerships and initiatives aimed at further improving the knowledge necessary for the sustainable management of biodiversity and natural resources in the Lake Basin.
Besides, in the early 1990s, two projects were implemented. They were of great importance in laying the foundations for the Strategic Action Programme (SAP): The Lake Tanganyika Biodiversity Project (PBLT) and the Lake Tanganyika Research Project (LTRP).
These projects have enriched knowledge on the state of biodiversity and fisheries in Lake Tanganyika and highlighted the need for riparian countries to find joint management solutions to transboundary environmental threats.
There are four countries namely Republic of Burundi, Democratic republic of Congo, The United Republic of Tanzania and Republic of Zambia which recognised this need for joint actions and agreed to implement a Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) and drafted the Convention on the Sustainable Management of Lake Tanganyika, signed on June 12, 2003, and ratified in September 2005.
This Convention provides a legal framework for regional cooperation and the establishment of harmonised laws and standards for the protection of biodiversity and the sustainable use of the natural resources of Lake Tanganyika and its basin. It also provides a formal framework for the establishment of the Tanganyika Lake Authority (LTA). The function is to coordinate the implementation of the Convention. Its primary mission is to ensure the protection and conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of the natural resources of Lake Tanganyika and its basin based on integrated management and cooperation between the Contracting States”