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Uganda secures sh850m grant for forest investment plan

By Vivian Agaba

Added 20th March 2016 03:47 PM

Uganda is one of the best six countries that were considered for the grant and though the sector has not yet received the money physically, it will do so soon

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State Minister for the Environment Flavia Munaaba speaks during the consultative forum at Hotel Africana. Photo by Mary Kansiime

The Forestry Sector Support Department (FSSD) under the ministry of Water and Environment has received a grant worth $250,000 about (sh850m) to help the sector develop the investment plan.

This was revealed by the Assistant Commissioner for Forestry, REDD plus National Focal point, Margaret Athieno Mwebesa, during the National Forestry Consultative Forum that took place at Hotel Africana in Kampala on Thursday.

"Uganda was requested by World Bank under the Climate Investment Fund project to prepare an expression of interest to participate in the investment forest plan. In this plan, we are required as a country to put a whole line of actions to reduce things like emissions, deforestation and ensure promotion and sustainability of the forestry resources," she said

Adding; "The process of preparing the investment forest by different stakeholders has started and by November this year, we shall have submitted our action plan for which this money is meant.'

She noted that Uganda is one of the best six countries that were considered for the grant and though the sector has not yet received the money physically, it will do so soon.

The meeting organized under the theme; "Celebrating achievements, enhancing accountability and planning for the future' was organized by Ministry of Water and Environment in partnership with Care, Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE), Panos Eastern Africa and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

It was attended by different stakeholders including; government agencies, local governments, religious and cultural institutions, development partners, Civil Society organization, academia and the media.

Evelyn Atuhaire, an Economist working with FSSD said they want to identify avenues and opportunities in the forestry sector in which government and other development partners can invest the grant.

"Some of the areas in which we are likely to invest the money includes; establishment and enforcement of policies, encouraging commercial forestry, research and development in the forestry sector and sustainable management of the forestry resources," said Atuhaire.

The meeting aimed at discussing the challenges affecting the Forestry sector and to forge a way forward.   

The forum is one of the activities organized to commemorate the International Forestry Day celebrated on the 21st of March every year. This year's theme is "Raising awareness of how forests are key to the planet's supply of freshwater, which is essential for life."

Levi Etwodu, Director, Natural Forests, National Forestry Authority (NFA) noted that the key challenges facing the sector include; high threats on the permanent forest estates that requires adequate resources for mitigation, low rate of tree planting against high and growing demand for forest products, the unclear Central Forest Reserves (CFR) boundaries that promote occurrence of illegalities and undermine capacity to enforce the law and inadequate lobby for conservation of natural forests which are threatened by unsustainable harvesting and land grabbing.

Etwodu called upon stakeholders to work together to address such challenges, which he said are hindering the sector from realizing its full potential.

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