Kampala, Uganda: The Uganda Biodiversity Fund (UBF) celebrated its 6th anniversary on August 11th, 2022, with the day commemorated at the Sheraton Kampala hotel. The lively event comprised the launch of the UBF Strategic Plan 2022-2026, and the UBF Green Awards for the Top Conservation Journalist.
The event was attended by officials from the Ministry of Water and Environment, development partners from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and European Union (EU), UBF Board Members, Management and Staff members, Implementing Partners (IPs), the media, and friends of UBF and the environment.
Speaking at the event, Dr Callist Tindimugaya, the Commissioner, Water Resources and Planning who represented the Minister of Water and Environment lauded UBF for the great work they are doing in conserving Uganda’s Biodiversity and guarding against the effects of climate change. The Commissioner launched the Strategic Plan and presided over the award ceremony.
“As government, we are doing all we can to protect and guard the environment so that the future of our nation is secured. However, we cannot singlehandedly do this, that’s why we need support from the private sector, civil society, development partners and the public. We appreciate the effort of UBF and its partners,” he said.
The UBF acting Executive Director Apophia Atukunda speaking of the growth of UBF, likened it to an egg that develops into a caterpillar, a pupa and finally, beautifully morphs into a butterfly that begins soars to heights.
“With your support, partnerships, and collaboration, we are sure we will reach there. Transition from one stage to the next requires change. Many times, this change may be accompanied by some crisis or another. Proactivity of management minimizes those crises, said Ms. Atukunda”
Dr Helga Rainer, the UBF Board Chair expressed concern that even as one of the top 10 bio-diverse countries in the world, Uganda faces major challenges in achieving the desired conservation impact.
“Uganda is still experiencing unacceptable levels of biodiversity loss,” Dr Rainer said. “UBF also acknowledges that informing the public and other stakeholders of the linkages between biodiversity loss, climate change and behavior could go some way in contributing to a reduction in unsustainable action,” she noted.
Speaking on behalf of the Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Uganda, EU Head of Cooperation, Caroline Adriaensen noted that there is more to protecting and preserving local biodiversity in Uganda. “In fact, biodiversity underpins sustainable development and is central to achieving the SDGs. Without a healthy environment we cannot achieve the basis for food security, health, or growth.” Ms Adriaensen said. She added that, “Together, the EU and Africa are joined in their ambition to take action against global climate change and to tackle the twin challenges of limiting global warming to 1.5°C and speeding-up adaptation to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.”
USAID acting Mission Director Daniele Nyirandutiye said, “We hope that you will continue to serve as a catalyst and an inspiration to Ugandans of all ages to invest in conservation.” She expressed appreciation to UBF for the continued effort to bring to the forefront and solve issues concerning biodiversity conservation through the work it supports.
During the event to mark its growth, UBF awarded conservation journalists who have reported compelling stories about conservation from deforestation to the plastic problem. These have contributed to the promotion of biodiversity conservation by bringing the issues affecting it to the forefront. The UBF Top Conservation Journalist award went to Adrian Bwanika Bbaale, an environment journalist at the New Vision and Bukedde, the first runner up was Zadock Amanyisa from Nation Media Group working at the Monitor newspaper, and the second runner up was Tony Abet, also from the Monitor newspaper.