By: Ismael Kasooha
The government of Uganda has assured the European Union Delegation that it has put in place strategies and mechanisms to address the challenge of biodiversity loss in the country.
“We have been losing our forest cover due to many reasons including population pressure, poor farming practices, lack of access to alternative and affordable sources of energy, which causes our people to cut down trees for charcoal and firewood. The President has directed and we are working on reducing the cost of power to below 5 US cents per kilowatt hour and also to expand its distribution and access. We hope this can reduce the pressure on our forests and other natural resources,” said Robinah Nabbanja, the Prime Minister of Uganda.
A delegation of the European Union in Uganda Thursday met the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, to present their position and support that they will provide to the negotiations on the Global Biodiversity Framework.
Phase two of the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP15), will be held in Kunming – China in May this year.
This convention brings together member states to discuss the Biodiversity Framework which aims at halting biodiversity loss by 2030.
The Prime Minister said that the subject of discussion was very important and pledged the government’s commitment to implement the necessary policy guidelines to mitigate Biodiversity loss in the country.
Related to protecting biodiversity, Nabbanja said that she was pleased to learn that the EU is designing a new program to support the forestry sector in Uganda.
“Any effort and support to protect, restore and enable us to use our forest resources in a sustainable manner is very much welcome. Forests are the homes to our rare plants and wild animals that constitute the biodiversity we want to protect,” said Nabbanja.
Regarding the Global Biodiversity Framework that will be adopted at the forthcoming summit in China in April/May 2022, Nabbanja said that the responsible Ministries, Departments and Agencies are at the forefront of these discussions.
“At the highest political level from the President and Cabinet, you can count on our support for any agenda that supports investments in the critical areas that will reduce pressure on land, water, forests and wetlands,” said Nabbanja.
Hon. Beatrice Anywar, the State Minister for Environment saids that Uganda is determined to conserve biodiversity.
“We have waged war against people who are degrading our biodiversity and measures have been put in place to restore the degraded areas,” said Anywar.
The Ministries of Water, Tourism, National Forestry Authority-NFA and National Environment Management Authority-NEMA attended the meeting to respond to issues raised by the EU Delegation.
Barirega Akankwasah, NEMA Executive Director said that Uganda declared 2021 to 2030 a decade of ecosystem restoration in the country.
“The government has developed a 10 year plan of action for restoration of environment and natural resources and Uganda is fully ready to partner with the European Union which will see us halt further degradation of the environment and be able to reverse the trend in forestry, wetlands, wildlife and other areas,” said Akankwasah.
Head of the European Union delegation to Uganda, Attilio Pacifici called for increased global ambition to set and achieve biodiversity objectives.
“We want all countries to commit themselves in restoration of biodiversity especially of the high risk areas such as natural forests, wetlands and other important areas,” said Attilio.
The Ambassador raised a number of issues that the Prime Minister responded to such as the cutting of forests in the country especially in Bugoma and Zoka among others and called on the government to act and reverse the trend.
The meeting was attended by the 2nd Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Leader of Government Business in Parliament, Rtd. Gen. Moses Ali, State Minister for Environment Betty Anywar and State Minister for Tourism Martin Magara and other Senior Government Officials. END