The Minister of State for Environment, Hon. Beatrice Anywar, has congratulated the Uganda Biodiversity Fund (UBF) as they marked their 7th anniversary. The minister noted the government’s commitment to exploring alternative livelihoods, particularly in wetlands, as a sustainable approach to environmental conservation.
Speaking at the event held at the Sheraton Hotel on Friday morning, where various stakeholders had gathered to celebrate UBF’s seven years since its registration, Minister Anywar said, “I want to assure participants that as the government of Uganda, we are very seriously looking at alternative livelihoods like fishing along the wetlands, and we have agreements with those living around forests so that they also enjoy nature and we think it is sustainable.”
Minister Anywar giving her remarks at the event
Minister Anywar, who also launched the Women in Conservation Forum during the celebration, highlighted the crucial role of women in environmental conservation. She praised women for their resilience and stressed their contributions to safeguarding water sources, ensuring food security, and maintaining healthy families. “Women take exceptional care to ensure that the sources of water are not drained, that there is food on the table, that they have a healthy family because if it turns the other way round, it is the woman to bear the burden. So, in conservation for health, we take seriously that women are stakeholders,” said Anywar.
The minister called for increased inclusion of women in decision-making processes and urged that their voices be given serious consideration. She cited the government’s efforts in education and economic empowerment as steps towards achieving this goal. “Many women have come out of the kitchen into the boardrooms. I am one of the testimonies,” she proudly noted.
Dr Gladys Kalema led the ideafair group which discussed Women in Conservation
Vice President Alupo, in a message conveyed by Minister Anywar, extended her congratulations to UBF on their 7th anniversary and the launch of the Women in Conservation Forum. She explained the importance of preserving Uganda’s ecosystem and biodiversity for the country’s sustained existence. She challenged the misconception that nature’s diversity derives value solely from economic exploitation and commercial gain, emphasizing the need for a holistic conservation approach.
Ivan Amanigaruhanga, the Executive Director of UBF, outlined the organization’s primary focus areas, which encompass the conservation of key habitats, climate change resilience, adaptation, and the reduction of human-wildlife conflicts. He reminded stakeholders of the alarming decline in Uganda’s forest cover—44.7% between 1990 and 2019, with an annual loss rate of 6.4%. He expressed concerns that, if unchecked, this trend could lead to the complete depletion of Uganda’s forests by 2050.
Mr Amanigaruhanga gives a speech, flanked by UBF staff members
Amanigaruhanga mentioned other concerning trends, including the reduction in woodland cover to 17,399 square kilometres in 2019 from 28,347 in 2000, and the drop in wetland coverage from 15.5% in 1994 to 8.4% of the total surface area in 2019. He pointed to Ministry of Water and Environment studies suggesting that this figure could plummet to 1.6% by 2040 if the challenges are not addressed.
To promote environmental reporting, UBF recognized top conservation journalists for their contributions. Olivia Nakalembe and Kisekka Edward from NBS received the top award, followed by Sarah Biryomumaisho from TheUGPost in second place. Noeline Nabukenya from Daily Monitor secured third place, and Moses Ndhaye from KFM came fourth.
TheUGPost’s Sarah Biryomumaisho receives an award from Ms Caroline Adraesen
The award ceremony featured 13 journalists covering four thematic areas: Smart Technology to counter human-wildlife conflict, sustainable land management practices and restoration of Rushango Wetland in Kamwenge district, Restoration of forest cover and improvement of livelihoods in refugee settlements, and enhancing community livelihoods and resilience through sustainable land management, tree planting, and the restoration of Bugoma Forest in Hoima District.
Ms Caroline Adriaesen the Head of Cooperation for the European Union in Uganda Delegation said that UBF has an important mission to promote biodiversity conservation in Uganda.
“It does so by mobilizing financial resources & working with different partners to implement projects and initiatives focused on the conservation of biodiversity & environmental protection,” she said. Adding that she was pleased to say that the EU proudly supports Uganda Biodiversity Fund to implement one of the projects.
Ms Caroline Adriaesen the Head of Cooperation for the European Union in Uganda Delegation
USAID Uganda Acting Mission Director, Daniele Nyirandutiye in her remarks said that this year’s celebration is especially exciting due to the launch of the Women in Conservation Forum.
She explained that “we face complex climate and biodiversity challenges that call on each one of us to double down on our efforts. Despite these challenges, globally, women remain underrepresented in leading solutions to these urgent conservation challenges. We know that daily, women are the ones who gather water, fuelwood, and food. And are at the forefront of serving as strong pillars supporting community livelihoods. The launch of this Forum is timely and I commend UBF for spearheading this effort.