Management plan for catchment areas launched

By Agnes Nantambi

The project will go a long way in helping the country address the challenges of environmental degradation

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Water catchment areas around Lake Kyoga, rivers Aswa and Kagera basins, are to benefit from a new project aimed at increasing resilience of communities to the risk of floods and landslides.

The four year project code named ‘Enhancing Resilience of Communities to Climate Change through Catchment Based Integrated Management of water and related resources in Uganda' is aimed at promoting catchment management.

The $7.7m (sh27.5bn) project is funded by Sahar and Sahel Observatory an implementing agency of Adaptation Fund, under ongoing global climate change financing.

Global climate change financing is aimed at implementing adaptation and mitigation interventions for a better and sustainable utilization of natural resources for generations to come.

Speaking during the launch of the project at Silver Springs Hotel in Kampala, State Minister for Environment, Mary Goretti Kitutu observed that the project first of its kind in Uganda will go a long way in helping the country address the challenges of environmental degradation.

The funding, she said will also address poor water resource management and climate change which has manifested itself in form of drought and floods.

"This is a very important project for the country since it directly contributes to the restoration of catchment areas" Kitutu said.

"In areas around Mt Elgon we are going to plant trees to protect the surrounding areas, in Aswa we intend to protect wetlands and train communities on how to harvest water which can be used during the drought" she added.

"The recent drought in the country caused a lot of outcry among the people and some of these problems are related to low resilience of the communities to impacts of climate change and environmental degradation" Kitutu explained.

She said government is committed to the universal commitment and announcement contained in the Paris Agreement and will continue to contribute towards the global climate change efforts.

"This will be done through fulfilling our nationally determined contributions and making progressive contribution to the universal efforts to accelerate concrete initiatives and urgent climate change action to mitigate the impact of climate change and make the world a better place," she said.

She noted that as much as Uganda has undergone remarkable development, it is still faced with huge but surmountable challenges amidst a rapidly growing population.

"We therefore welcome this timely support more so its alignment to the country's development priorities, "she said.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Alfred Okot Okidi, applauded the Adaptation Fund and Global Water for the fund and pledged continued collaboration with them.

"I wish to thank the two organisations for working with my staff to develop and submit this project to the Adaptation Fund for funding.

These same organisations will continue to work with us to implement this project. I assure you of good collaboration with my ministry during the four years of project implementation," said Okidi.

Nabil Nen Khatra, the environment program coordinator agronomy and remote sensing with Sahara and Sahel Observatory said the grant was part of the Adaptation Fund which Uganda is entitled to as a member state.

The commissioner water resources monitoring in the ministry, Dr Calist Tindimugaya, said the project will help increase resilience of eco systems by supporting management of forests, wetlands and river banks.

He noted that it will also help increase flexibility of other community livelihood systems by supporting income generating activities with credit and market access.

"We shall work with the communities to help them carry out activates which will not destroy the environment and water catchment areas.

We shall also encourage people living along the river banks to relocate by giving them revolving funds and help them start businesses which are linked to natural resources," Tindimugaya said.