Restoring Degraded Forests A Tall Order - Govt

1835 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
During the 2014 Bonn Challenge at the Climate Change summit in in New York, USA, President, Yoweri Museveni pledged Ugandas commitment to restore 2.5m hectares of degraded forests by 2030

The Water and Environment Ministry has admitted that Uganda's commitment to restore 2.5 million hectares of degraded and deforested land is an uphill task since the country continues losing 200,000 hectares of forest cover annually.

During the 2014 Bonn Challenge at the Climate Change summit in in New York, USA, President, Yoweri Museveni pledged Uganda's commitment to restore 2.5m hectares of degraded forests by 2030

Uganda was part of the 26 African countries that committed to restore 100m hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2030 under the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (Afri100).
 
But Margaret Adata, the Commissioner for Forestry in the Water and Environment Ministry, says the Ugandan's target to restore 2.5m hectares of forests and landscape is very ambitious.

She was presenting the status of Uganda on the Bonn Challenge Barometer: Enabling reporting in Action at the Global Landscape Forum at the United Nation Offices in Nairobi.
 
She noted that Uganda is experiencing a downward trend as opposed to restoring degraded lands due to massive degradation and deforestation. According to Adata, Uganda faces an uphill task to keep its forest cover given the growing population.
 
She said they have now identified restoration opportunities for the country like sustainable management and restoration of natural forests, development of plantation forests at commercial level to reduce pressure from natural forests.
 
She says they are aspiring to revert the forest cover from the current 9% to 18% in line vision 2020, but they could be caught by time. Uganda has only restored 36,000 hectares of the 2.5 million hectares required.
 
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Bob Kazungu, a chief forest Officer in the Water and Environment Ministry, says many actors have been reporting but irregularly in the past year, which has made it difficult to monitor progress.  

He says only 45 percent of the all the Non-Governmental Organizations involved in restoring land are reporting this is followed by local Government with 50% while the private sector isn't reporting.
   
Concepta Mukasa, who works with communities in Uganda on Afforestation, says there is need for the stakeholders to double their efforts in planting trees and restoring degraded lands. She says there is need for Uganda to go back to its initial glory of being a completely green country.

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Satya Tripathi, the newly appointed Assistant secretary General of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), says the having the Global landscape forum in Africa will ensure great discussions in an Area where the issue of environment is less talked about. 

He says with the commitments from African Governments, the target to restore land can be achieved.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.