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Wildlife resources yield direct benefits such as local and
national income from tourism activities and are important
sources bush meat, food, medicine, wildlife hunting,
cropping and ranching.

Wildlife and Tourism

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Uganda’s present policies and legislation for the management
of terrestrial biodiversity outside PAs is inadequate. The existing
land tenure systems of land holdings, leasehold and customary
holdings offer little incentive for protection and management
of biodiversity outside PAs.

Protected Areas

Biodiversity outside

Turning the ‘Ides of March’ to Save Our Environment

Even with the predictions of the calamity of climate change, it is worth celebrating the month of March which commemorates some of the most significant environment days including Day of Action for Rivers, Solar Appreciation Day, International Day of Forests, World Planting Day, and World Water Day. The Uganda Water and Environment Week in March is also a significant intervention that gives room for pause to ponder the best actions to make a positive change for our planet.

As forests and wetlands continue to get degraded, so does the quality of human life as the natural reservoirs and source of water get degenerated. Every negative action on the environment that is carried out results in pollution of land, air, and water leading to disease and decay for decades and generations to come. According to the Ramsar Convention, “natural wetlands are disappearing three times faster than forests.” The Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources with the number of Wetlands of International Importance numbered at 2,439.

The connectivity that biodiversity presents makes it impossible to separate the restoration of one area while leaving out the others. Water quality and production only thrives with a matching level of forest and vegetation cover, hence the interventions that are being carried out in different areas. Uganda Biodiversity Trust Fund (UBF) with a consortium of partners including Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Nature Uganda (NU) and Ecological Christian Organisation (ECO) are implementing a project to support restoration of wetlands, riverine, forests and ultimately the catchment areas and reservoirs that promote healthy production and retention of water.

This project is funded by the European Union under their Action on restoration and conservation, which is a response to the impacts of increased populations on the environment, natural resources, and improving the livelihoods of the refugee host communities in the regions of the mid-Albertine Rift and Northern Uganda. UBF identified and verified sites for restoration and activities to create sustainable systems of restoration and land management are underway. Many tree nurseries in the areas of operation were in dire need of revamping and thus capacity building to assist the operators to upscale and enhance production and quality of the tree seedlings to aid in restoration and economic development has been done.

Alice Zabib owns a tree nursery in Wolo Village, Odravu Sub County Yumbe District. This project is empowering her and has enabled her to provide better for her family and serve the community and the environment. The CEO of Mummy’s Safety Way Tree Nursery bed Enterprise is among the nursery operators whose nurseries were identified for upscaling and improve the environment situation under the restoration intervention. “I’m now on a project of institutional greening at schools and the district sub county offices to encourage more people to plant trees,” says Alice and adds that she made a total of Ushs7,000,000 from the last planting season in 2021, as she was able to sell a better variety to people who have available land and are interested in greening the environment. The area being arid means that there is need for extra effort in greening their environment to have more rainfall and cooler temperatures. Alice is going all in and says, “The training by UBF that I attended has helped me to acquire between 100,000 and 200,000 seedlings from just 20,000 before the EU project.”

The challenge of marketing is being tackled by expanding their network to other districts to have them buy tree seedlings. She has gone as far as Arua, Koboko and Moyo Districts to market the tree nursery to different communities in the hope of making more money and improving the livelihoods of women and environment. She noted that “the mentality of the people has to change as people are not exposed.”

Celebrating the International Day of Forest themed “Forests and sustainable production and consumption”, the European Union support to UBF and partners is enabling development of agreements with landowners to establish 182 hectares of woodlots, which will contribute to sustainable production and consumption of vital wood products. This is expected to reduce pressure on natural forests by providing communities with much needed economic, social, and

environmental benefits such as increasing rainfall which is key to farming and will benefit rural communities. Memoranda of Understanding were signed with local governments of the five districts which have committed to rally support to the project in addressing the impacts of displaced populations on the environment, natural resources, and the livelihoods of the host communities.

The importance of forests cannot be downplayed, and according to the World Resources Institute, they can “positively impact the quantity, quality and filtration costs associated with a city’s water, sometimes even reducing the need for costly concrete and steel infrastructure.” (Lyons and Gartner, 2017) These environment significant days are symbiotic as the two, forests and water are major life resources that life on earth cannot survive without.

As part of the Uganda Water and Environment Week 2022, UBF urges everyone to play their part by financing, and committed long-term involvement to improve the environment sector. To achieve one of the objectives of the UWEWK 2022, exploring opportunities for enhancing financing of water, environment, and climate change programmes, some of the most hard-hit communities like the refugee hosting districts must be a priority.  The theme this year “Water and Environment for Peace and Socio-Economic Transformation of Uganda” reiterates the message that conservation and economic development are not mutually exclusive and must be promoted at the same level for any impactful progress to be made in both areas.

‘Our ED, it’s Not Goodbye, it’s See You later’

Everybody has a legacy. What do you want to leave behind you as you walk out that door? Juliet Kyokunda our Executive Director (still call her our) walked through the UBF doors for the last time as Executive Director but it still feels like she’s just up the staircase in her office!

‘ED’ as some referred to her although most as Juliet because she always said, “My name is Juliet, not ED”, told us time and time again that the organisation one works with is bigger than them and therefore all effort must be in making it better. She emphasized that processes mattered as much as results because ultimately, these will get plans turned into achievements.

And achievements Juliet indeed had. Uganda Biodiversity Fund was brought from infancy and sub-grantee status to a full-fledged and well-functioning organization, a trust fund that awards grants to sub-grantees. This role reversal is a testament to the dedicated service and selfless hard work that came out of an Executive who came in first and left last, immersed herself in work beyond a regular CEO would handle, and encouraged her staff to go the extra mile as well, and give 110%.

As she closes one chapter of her life and embraces a new one, the entire UBF family old and new, internal, and external wish Juliet the best. The staff continue to employ her taught techniques in different ways to further develop the organization to the  level she imagined and beyond.

See you later, our ED.

EU awards €9.2 million for restoration of degraded Environmental and Natural Resources in the Refugee Hosting Districts of Uganda

Two consortia headed by Uganda Biodiversity Fund (UBF) and Save the Children have received funding from the European Union (EU) to lead in the project implementation of the “Response to Increased Environmental and Natural Resources Degradation in the Refugee Hosting Districts of Uganda” (RED). The EU € 9.2 million Grant was lauded by Hon. Beatrice Anywar, the state minister for Environment, who represented the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda at the launch held at Sheraton Kampala Hotel on 5th of October 2021.

On behalf of government, she appreciated the European Union Delegation in Uganda response Action towards environment and Natural resources. She proposed that the program should go beyond the current districts of Yumbe, Terego, Moyo, Adjumani, Madi-Okollo, Kiryadongo, Kikuube, Kyegegwa, and Kamwenge, to other districts including Kitgum, Lamwo, and those in Central and Southern Uganda that also host refugees.

She intimated that there must be a formidable reaction to the state of conservation for change to take place. “We need to get angry, agitated and passionate about environmental degradation if this programme is to bear fruit” Anywar said.

The launch was also attended by LCV, the RDCs, the CAO, the technical staff of the beneficiary districts and the national stakeholders including the Ministry of Water and Environment, UNHCR and the donors.

The European Union Action to run for four years up to 2024, aimed at addressing the impacts of displaced populations on the environment, natural resources, and the livelihoods of the hosting communities, is being implemented by two consortia comprising, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Nature Uganda (NU), and Ecological Christian Organisation (ECO), and ENABEL, the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF), and the Joint Energy and Environment Projects (JEEP).

The project is intended mitigate risks to forests, woodlands, wetlands, and riverine ecosystems and improve livelihoods of refugee host communities. The project also aims to restore degraded ecosystems, improve environmental planning, support Sustainable Land Management practices such as Climate Smart Agriculture, soil, and water conservation measures, and to build capacity of governmental and non-governmental institutions responsible for environment protection and biodiversity conservation.

This project responds to problems stemming from, among other stressors, increased population pressure with the attendant demand for natural resources. Uganda is host to refugees from South Sudan, DR Congo, Burundi, Ethiopia, and other countries. These displaced persons are hosted by communities in West Nile, the Albertine Rift, and other areas of Uganda. Because of the high populations hosted, there is unsustainable use of natural resources, which has led to degradation of woodlands, forests, and wetlands. The local populations, both indigenous and refugee, are aggravating the degradation.

The EU Head of Cooperation, Caroline Adriaensen, noted that the country hosts many refugees in areas that need support, which such projects will aid. “The fact is, the ongoing refugee influx into Uganda has led to the establishment of some of the world’s largest refugee settlements in Northern and Western Uganda,” she said.

The project supports restoration, strengthens protection, while mobilizing local action to support and maintain the restoration efforts. It supports development of methodology for selection of new refugee settlements, develops Wetlands Management Action Plans, and supports implementation of mitigation measures and monitoring. This is expected to enhance flow of ecosystem services and goods and build collective responsibility toward sustainable management of the natural resources.

It would also mobilise and support different non-state actors and Local Governments to deliver livelihoods and resilience action to reduce and eventually stop environmental degradation. This will strengthen government capacity and coordination in climate change interventions.

Representing the Rt. Hon Prime Minister, the State Minister for Environment, Hon. Beatrice Anywar reiterated the need for collaboration in conservation efforts, stating that: “The pressure on the environment is by all of us, both Ugandans, host communities and refugees. As Government of Uganda, we cannot address it in totality, we are happy that partners have joined us in these efforts.”

She also informed the national attendance that the Ministry of Water and Environment is responsible for planning and coordinating the sectors’ response in addressing the challenges related to the influx of displaced persons.  In line with this, the ministry has in place a Comprehensive Refugee Response Plan to guide the ministry’s efforts in coordinating all interventions falling within its mandate.

In his speech read by the Director of Environment, Ministry of Water and Environment, Mr Collins Oloya, the Honourable Minister Sam Cheptoris stated that although human rights are universal and individual and displaced persons need dignified life while in Uganda, this should not be to the detriment of host communities and the country. “There is competition for food, building materials, and wood fuel, leading to further encroachment on the fragile ecosystems like wetlands, riverbanks, and woodlands. Additional risks such as confrontations over land, like what is happening in Kikuube district are emerging.” He added that if the situation is not addressed, the country could lose most of its natural ecosystems, and therefore its rich biodiversity. “The consequences on our environment, and economic development, especially tourism, would be catastrophic,” he said.

Ms Juliet Kyokunda, the Executive Director of Uganda Biodiversity Fund, pointed out that it is the responsibility of everyone to participate in the cause of ecosystem restoration, stating that all communities, local and refugee, contribute to the state of degradation Uganda is facing. She echoed that Uganda “should treat degradation as a national problem and all Ugandans must join hands in dealing with it.”

The Country Director of Save the Children Uganda Dragana Strinic said, “We recognise that climate change directly affects children and is the greatest threat to their survival, learning and protection”. She urged everyone to support the project since it has a ripple effect and will better livelihoods of communities in the long term.

Ultimately, the project directly contributes to the Goal of the National Development Plan (NDP) 3: “To Increase Average Household Incomes and Improve the Quality of Life of Ugandans”, and contributes to the Climate Change, Natural Resources, Environment, and Water Management Program that aims to stop and reverse degradation of the environment and natural resources as well as the effects of Climate Change on economic growth and livelihood security; and Community Mobilisation and Mindset Program that aims to empower families, communities and citizens to embrace national values and actively participate in sustainable development.

$2.5 M Awarded to Uganda Under USAID’s Uganda Biodiversity Fund Activity

Uganda Biodiversity Trust Fund (UBTF) with funding awarded by USAID has begun implementation of USAID’s Uganda Biodiversity Fund Activity worth $2.5m (Ush9.2 billion). The five-year program from 2020 to 2024 focusing on sustainability of biodiversity conservation and natural resource management at national level, will be largely executed by community organizations, private sector enterprises and government agencies.

The main objectives of the project discussed during a stakeholder workshop at Protea Hotel in Kololo, Kampala are to strengthen Uganda Biodiversity Fund into an effective and efficient national Conservation Trust Fund, to implement a grants program with diversification, as well to strengthen partnerships with relevant stakeholders in biodiversity conservation. Biodiversity conservation is the protection and management of various plant and animal species to acquire resources for sustainable development.

UBF Partners with Rotary Mission Green to raise funds for the Endowment fund.

As its core mandate, Uganda Biodiversity Trust Fund (UBTF) in partnership with Rotary Mission Green (a program of Rotary Uganda) and funding support from USAID Uganda raised 100 Million (A hundred Million) in pledges during its inaugural ‘Friends of the Environment’ Breakfast Fundraiser held at Sheraton Kampala Hotel on Tuesday, September 24th, 2019.

The joint ‘Friends of the Environment’ campaign seeks to inspire individuals and the general public to adapt to sustainable and renewable ways of living by focusing on reducing, reusing and recycling whenever possible in order to save the environment and biodiversity loss. The initiative is aimed at raising funds to invest in projects that will help to maintain the flow of goods and services from natural ecosystems, secure health lives of people and wildlife and sustain nature-based businesses.

Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs)

Since 2004 IUCN has been going through a process to define Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs). These are globally important sites for conservation because they conserve significant numbers of one or more species of conservation concern.

KBAS in uganda

Alongside our partners, the Uganda Biodiversity Fund is committed to focusing on protecting Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) and irreplaceable sites as our priority areas for conservation.

Threats to KBAs

While it is true that Uganda is one of the most diverse countries on the planet and the second most bio-diverse country on the African continent…

Why protect KBAs?

While agriculture is the backbone of Uganda’s economy, ecotourism is just as instrumental in the economic success of the country.

What we Have Done

Projects Supported