Under her ENR Programme, is a project titled “Towards pro-poor REDD+ (Phase II): “Promoting pro-poor REDD+ principles and rights-based approaches to strengthen the conservation, governance and sustainable management of landscapes in Uganda.” Environmental Alert is implementing this project in partnership with IUCN – Uganda Country Office and ECOTRUST Uganda.
The purpose of the project in Uganda is to integrate pro-poor principles and rights-based approaches into the National REDD+ Strategy, and other frameworks for sustainable management of forest resources in the country. The specific outcome of the project will be “A pro-poor REDD+ benefit sharing scheme that clearly incorporates multiple benefits and incentives to the poor is agreed upon, demonstrated and applied in Mt Elgon and Agoro Agu project sites”.
Stakeholder’s consultative process/workshop for development of the REDD+ strategy, held in the Eastern Region, Tororo district at Prime Hotel, February 2017.
Government through the Ministry of Water and Environment and its environmental development partners came up with strategic measures of addressing deforestation and forest / environmental degradation in the country. The strategy dubbed “Strengthening Participatory Structures and Conducting Capacity Building Training to Enhance Stakeholder Engagement for Uganda’s National REDD+ Program in Central, Mid-Eastern and Southern Uganda” came into place to mobilize and empower key environmental actors, bodies and the local people with knowledge, tools and required assistance to check and regulate on the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation like human settlement, agriculture, charcoal burning and tree cutting for wood fuel and timber among other activities.
Environmental Alert (EA) under its Executive Director, Dr. Joshua Zake (PhD), spear-headed this project alongside the Ministry of Water and Environment. Dr. Zake noted that the rate of deforestation at the national level has escalated to 200,000Hq of forests and that if there are no quick interventions and safeguard measures like REDD+ among others put in place to check on that rate, 30 years to come Uganda will be no more. He added that the National REDD+ strategy has come up with strategic options of addressing drivers of deforestation like high dependence on fuel firewood and charcoal burning, agriculture and forest encroachment and urbanization and settlement as well. Because of the escalating forest deforestation and forest degradation by the above mentioned human activities, the country is now experiencing environmental and climate concerns today like prolonged drought and poor soils leading to crop failures. In an interview, farmers who spoke to Bukedde TV said that they were only counting loses and further expressed fear of the looming food shortage as a result of the failed crops due to the prolonged dry spell. The situation is not any different across Busoga region and in other parts of the country where the locals and the district local leaders and their MPs have lamented to government for food intervention because of their failed crops due to the prolonged dry spell.
EA facilitated the training in the Eastern Region, Tororo district at Prime Hotel where environmental technical people, agriculturists, key environmental actors as well as politicians from clustered district of Iganga, Tororo, Busia, Kaliro, Bugiri among others that fall in this programme converged. Reacting to the REDD+ strategy, the district environmental technical people and environmental body actors and district leaders as well looked at this project as not only being timely but a total messiah from the jaws of growing harsh climate. Showing and pleading their full commitment towards the project they said that their people have had harsh conditions with prolonged dry spells which have failed all their crops, and thus look at this project as an opportunity of mobilizing people or Ugandans to plant trees but also considering other environmental safe guard measures or giving alternative solutions to biomass consumers friendly to the forests and environment. While in Iganga district, in an effort to restore its forests and take full control of its local forests, the district through the district Forestry officer Samanya Abdu and with the help of Police went and marked and put mark boundaries on Wakatanga local forest reserve in Buyanga Sub County.
Interview given by Dr. Joshua Zake (ED, Environmental Alert) by Soma Frederick, Bukedde TV