By Moses Mugwisa
For more than two decades now, climate change has remained high on the environment agenda in developing and developed world.
Climate change has been noted to negatively affect the ecosystems in the environment and altering the human life of living.
In addition, human-community interactions with the environment ecosystems have been reported to accelerate the effect of climate change on biodiversity.
This makes the local communities very vital stakeholders in natural resource conservation, successful corporation and participation local communities should be encouraged as they are more likely to be more effective than before, especially natural resource dependent communities.
Traditional and modern community conservation strategies should be incorporated together, evaluated and valued to establish their applicability under changing climate.
For a long time, biodiversity management approach has been top-bottom, but with time, there has been realization of the significance of understanding the needs and perspectives of local communities.
Therefore the need for strengthening of local institutional capacity in conservation and management of environmental ecosystems. More active and regular participation should be sought in order to empower and make the communities responsible for their own resource management.
Unfortunately, Community Based Organizations (CBOs) have no say in deciding who to be granted hunting rights or which investor should operate in hunting blocks. This gives communities limited rights, which discourages effective conservation in the changing climate.
The major objective of community involvement is to transfer the right to make management decisions, which is essentially in order for them to have a sense of ownership or stake in the resource and a sense of security that they would be able benefit from the resource in future.
Unless these gazetted areas generate direct benefits to the communities around them, other ecological conservation gains may not be sustained.
There is need to emphasize the usefulness of popular approaches such as the community base Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) in natural resource as an effective rural development and poverty alleviation tool, it is important to ensure that the rural communities capture direct financial benefits from community-based natural resource management.
However this could be hindered by local land use conflicts, contradictory policies and limited local resources rights.
In most rural communities, the capacity for planning and managing business enterprises is very low, communal enterprise initiatives usually fail. Providing more support through policy and legal mechanism is essential.
It should be noted that many private investors are acquiring land in villages and some of the areas they are targeting are ecologically viable areas. Apparently land is cheaper in rural areas than urban areas.
On a sad note some land is just taken by a few claimers as land Lords thereby displacing thousands of local people without clear compensation at the expense of the so called investors who don’t care for the ecosystems in our country Uganda and Africa at large.
The significance of the changing climate cannot be over emphasized as all sectors in the developing countries are already affected and are likely to face it harder in the future.
The developing countries including Uganda are more vulnerable to climate change due to low disaster preparedness capacity.
Way forward; Uganda and Africa should embrace fully community participation, local capacity development, and support communities financially and technically to pool up the conservation, management and protection of natural resources in ecologically viable areas in Africa, Uganda in particular to encounter the ever changing climate.
The writer is an Environmental Science Technologist
Green Organisation Africa (GOA)
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