Uganda Biodiversity Trust Fund (UBF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Buganda Kingdom to collaborate on environmental management and biodiversity conservation initiatives in Buganda, and to engage in cooperative fundraising activities for the mutual benefits of both organisations. The Buganda Kingdom is represented in such matters by the Buganda Investment and Commercial Undertaking Ltd (BICUL)
Opening remarks were delivered by Ivan Amanigaruhanga, the Executive Director, UBF who emphasized the need to work together to accelerate the restoration and protection of biodiversity through intervention against the effects of climate change. Mr Amanigaruhanga stated, “This is a momentous occasion for UBF and our partners in conservation. In our constant quest for like-minded partners who are willing to make a change in the fast-degrading space of the environment, UBF identified that unifying factor with the Kingdom of Buganda.”
UBF was further represented by Elly Mugumya, the Secretary to the Board of Trustees, and Bob Mugerwa also a Trustee. The former in his remarks affirmed the position of UBF in providing sound technical support in the workings of the ensuing programs between the two entities.
The signed MoU was endorsed by the Buganda Katikkiro (Prime Minister), Owekitiibwa Charles Peter Mayiga. The Katikkiro expressed his pleasure to be launching the necessary venture, and the validation it would give to the Kabaka’s concern for the environment. He stated, “If we do not mind the environment, then there is nothing we are going to leave to the future generations. We welcome this collaboration, and we shall do everything in our power to ensure that it yields fruits. As you well know every year, we mark a week for ‘obulungi bwansi’ where we hope that we can regenerate nature by being mindful of it.”
The Buganda Minister for Environment Owekitiibwa Mariam Mayanja who signed the MoU reiterated the commitment of the Kingdom of Buganda to participate fully in the programs that will carry biodiversity conservation to greater heights.
In a show of true brotherhood in the colourful culture of the Baganda, there was an exchange of coffee beans which signifies a seal of partnership. Gifts were offered to the Katikkiro, the line Minister and the Chief Executive Officer of BICUL. These were presented by
The biodiversity in Uganda is under threat with plant and animal species being degraded, and very little funding apportioned to conservation. Under the MOU, UBF and the Buganda Kingdom will mobilize resources to finance biodiversity conservation programs that can contribute to reducing the financing gap. The loss of biodiversity touches all ecosystems and all species. For example, the Crested Crane whose numbers were up to 60,000 individuals in the 1960s, has dwindled to about 10,000 birds, according to Nature Uganda. NEMA states that wetland coverage has reduced from 15.5% in 1994 to 8.4% as of 2019. UBF supports projects to counter this situation.
Currently UBF is supported with USAID’s Uganda Biodiversity Fund Activity and the European Union Action on Restoring and Conserving Degraded Fragile Ecosystems For Improved Community Livelihoods Among the Refugee and Host Communities of West Nile and the Mid-Albertine Rift. These projects are having a positive impact on over 1000 ha. of various ecosystems, through restoration of forests, wetlands and woodlands and establishment of woodlots in the mid-Albertine, Karamoja, and West Nile Regions.
The partnership between UBF and the Buganda Kingdom will explore areas of mutual interest some of which include the following aspects:
- Designing an integrated planning framework for biodiversity, eco-tourism, and natural heritage conservation.
- Promoting community focused biodiversity literacy and conservation efforts.
- Promoting community access to affordable, and adaptable renewable Clean Energy solutions
- Supporting independent campaigns of either party concerning environmental management and biodiversity conservation.
- Initiating programs in primary and secondary schools focussed on biodiversity conservation.
- Harnessing the resultant strength of the partnership for resource mobilization.
The MoU is for a duration of five years and may be renewed on the agreement by the two parties.