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Govt advised on refugee resettlement

By Francis Emorut

Added 5th July 2019 11:29 AM

The advice was given by the National Forestry Authority (NFA) coordinator Stephen Galima during the launch of videos by Refugees Law Project on rampant cutting of trees in northern Uganda at Skyz Hotel in Kampala.

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The National Forestry Authority coordinator Stephen Galima addressing participants during the launch of a video on climate change meeting at Skyz Hotel in Kampala. Photo by Francis Emorut

The advice was given by the National Forestry Authority (NFA) coordinator Stephen Galima during the launch of videos by Refugees Law Project on rampant cutting of trees in northern Uganda at Skyz Hotel in Kampala.

KAMPALA - The Government has been advised against resettling refugees near the forests reserves in order to curb charcoal burning.

This follows the increasing indiscriminate cutting of trees in forests for charcoal burning by refugees. 

The advice was given by the National Forestry Authority (NFA) coordinator Stephen Galima during the launch of videos by Refugees Law Project on rampant cutting of trees in northern Uganda at Skyz Hotel in Kampala.

Galima cited Bugoma forest in Hoima district where refugees at Kyangwali resettlement camp have encroached on.

“Why settle refugees in a protected area like a gazetted forest with no alternative source of energy and after you say mitigate climate change,” Frustrated Galima asked

He informed participants that ideal situation that is recommended internationally is to settle refugees away from forests.

Galima proposed that all stakeholders need to come up with an aggressive solution to combat charcoal burning and woodland logging.

He added that the biggest challenge was the lack of a law on charcoal burning unlike Uganda’s counterparts Kenya which has regulations of cutting trees only after planting.

“In Kenya you plant a tree before cutting and they implement it to the dot but here in Uganda you can even pass regulation of planting 100 trees and it won’t be enforced,” he said.

He encouraged district forestry officers and resident district commissioners not to be intimidated by the powerful charcoal dealers who are connected to influential people in government.

Resident District Commissioners, Peter Debele of Kiryandongo, Peter Data Taban of Adjumani and James Kidega of Lamwo asked the Refugee Law Project to screen videos in Parliament for lawmakers to come up with regulations to curb charcoal burning.

“The videos should be played in Parliament so that the MPs wake up and come up with a law that regulates charcoal burning instead of them concentrating awarding themselves allowances,” Lamwo RDC James Kidega said.

The director at National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Dr. Daniel Babikwa said Charcoal burning is a thorn in everybody’s neck adding that NEMA has engaged the ministry of energy to ensure gas is cheaper. 

 

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