Conservationists call for joint biodiversity protection

Restoration of Nakindiba Central Forest Reserve at Kakiri in Wakiso District. (Photo credit: National Environment Management Authority - NEMA)

Different environmental stakeholders have called for joint and resolute efforts in conserving and restoring the environment for sustainable biodiversity in Uganda.

In a press statement released yesterday ahead of today’s commemoration of the International Day for Biodiversity (IDB) yesterday, the environmentalists observed that it is the duty of all stakeholders to ensure that the degraded environment is restored to its original set up.

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) Executive Director (ED), Dr Tom Okurut, urged all partners to play their role in the fight for the conservation and restoration of biodiversity for a better earth.

He said conservation, restoration and implementation processes for the survival of the environment in diversity should be a key subject in everyone’s day to day activities with major focus on forests, wetlands and endangered and threatened species of wild plants and animals.

Basing on this year’s theme: “Restoring Nature Together,” the ED said since there is degradation of the ecosystem, joint efforts are needed to reverse the trend for the biodiversity including flora and fauna to survive.

“NEMA calls upon all stakeholders to design and implement sustainable biodiversity conservation and ecosystem restoration programmes to raise awareness about the importance of biodiversity and the associated ecosystem services provided,” Dr Okurut said.

On the same note, the ED of Uganda Biodiversity Fund, Juliet Kyokunda, observed that with everyone and different sectors playing an active role towards saving biodiversity, change can be realised. She said collective participation is crucial in this cause because people derive their survival from nature.

“We derive our livelihood from nature and, therefore, we must put back what we take out because if we don’t take care of nature, nature won’t take care of us,”Ms Kyokunda said.

The Country Director for Africa Wildlife Foundation (AWF), Suudi Bamulesewa, noted that working with all stakeholders to ensure ecosystem protection is the Foundation’s priority adding that resources are channelled towards conserving biodiversity.

“The effort to save biodiversity rests with us all. We need active participation from government institutions, private sector, civil society organisations, communities and land owners,” said Mr Bamulesewa.

The day was commemorated under the theme: Restoring Nature Together,” in response to the trend of environmental degradation in the country that has been manifested through loss of forest cover, reclamation and degradation of wetlands, air and water pollution that have all led to biodiversity and species loss among other negative effects.

It was commemorated by NEMA in partnership with Uganda Biodiversity Fund, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), National Forestry Authority (NFA), Nature Uganda, WWF, Wildlife Conservation Society, and the African Wildlife Foundation alongside other partners as an opportunity for governments, partners and stakeholders to showcase major achievements in conservation, management and strategic intervention on biodiversity.

The theme aimed to mobilise all Ugandans to take concrete and sustainable actions to restore the environment with a major focus on forests, wetlands and endangered and threatened species of wild plants (flora) and wild animals (fauna).

As part of the activities for the IDB 2021, more than 1,000 tree seedlings were planted to restore Nakindiba Central Forest Reserve at Kakiri in Wakiso district yesterday.

Facts Box

Uganda is one of Africa’s richest countries in biodiversity despite its relatively small size. It has diverse ecosystems consisting of forests, wetlands, rangelands, lakes and rivers. The country has 53% of the world’s mountain gorillas, 11% of the global recorded species of birds, 7.8 % of global mammalian species, 19% of Africa’s amphibians and 14% of African reptilians.

There are, however, a number of threats leading to loss of biodiversity including conversion of natural habitats to agricultural land and infrastructural development.

With the drive to achieve the middle income status by 2020 (NPA, 2013 and NPA, 2015), there has been a tremendous drive in infrastructural development and therefore a need to address the negative impacts of infrastructure development on biodiversity particularly at ecosystem and species safety level. Other threats to biodiversity include proliferation of invasive species, human-wildlife conflict, illegal wildlife trade, climate change and pollution to mention but a few.

Ratification

Uganda ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on September 8, 1993. The Convention entered into force on December 29, 1993. To date 196 countries are Parties to the CBD making it one of the Conventions with the biggest number of Parties. In December 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted May 22, as the International Day for Biodiversity (IDB) to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on May 22, 1992 in Nairobi, Kenya.

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