Members of the Uganda and Russian delegation tour a water treatment plant. All photos/ courtesy

A Ugandan delegation from the Water and Environment Sector arrived in St Petersburg for a five day business visit with officials from Vodokanal, the company responsible for water supply and waste management in the metropolis.

The cooperation talks are a result of an October 2017 meeting between Uganda’s Ambassador to Russia Johnson Agara Olwa and officials from the Office of the Governor of St. Petersburg, held on the side-lines of the Inter-parliamentary Union meetings in Russia last year.

The delegation was led by Eng. Aaron Kabirizi, Director Water Development at the Ministry of Water and Environment. The other delegates included: Ambassador Olwa; Mr Paul Mafabi, Director Environment Affairs at the Ministry of Water and Environment; Dr. Tom Okurut, Executive Director of National Environment Management Authority; Eng. Richard Matuwa, Assistant Commissioner, Urban Sewerage, Ministry of Water and Environment;Eng. Johnson Amayo- Deputy Director Technical Services, National Water and Sewerage Corporation and Ms Susan Okodi, First Secretary at the Uganda embassy in Moscow.

The Ugandans met the Vice Governor of St. Petersburg, Mr Oleg Aleksandrovich Markov who assured them about St. Petersburg readiness to cooperate with Uganda in several sectors including; Water and Enviroment , Health Sector , Education, Tourism and Hospitality , Transportation and construction among others.

Mr Markov also mentioned that it would be important for Uganda and St Petersburg to sign a memorandum of understanding as a framework for cooperation, and also suggested a city to city cooperation between Kampala and St. Petersburg.

Uganda and Russia hold Joint Permanent Technical Cooperation meetings annually and this coming May 2018 the meetings will be held in Moscow. This will provide an opportunity to consider and sign a number of Memorandums of Understanding between different sectors in the two countries.

The delegation held extensive discussions with the officials of Vofokanal, visited South-West Water Treatment Plant, Visited the Island of Valaam to look at the technical solutions for water treatment and Waste water treatment for small settlements.

The delegation also visited the Water academy which will be opening in September this year. The management of Vodokanal and the leadership of the Governor’s office in St. Petersburg have invited Ugandan students to join the academy and are looking forward to receiving them this September.

The Memorandums of Understanding will consider issues of training, technological transfer and technical support among others.