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Protected Areas And Sustainable Development In Uganda


Uganda is a home to a remarkable range of protected areas that support a wide variety of wildlife species. Despite the threats faced by protected areas, the long term future of protected areas in Uganda is now probably brighter than before. Protected Areas in Uganda have a high monetary and non-monetary value in Uganda. The table below shows just a summary of Monetary Value of forest products, Services and management as of 2012. In Uganda wildlife enterprise has been widely promoted and considered a promising strategy for income to the government and poor communities in wildlife areas. It has provided financial and social benefits as well as incentives to conserve protected areas. Thus recognizing the potential of protected areas to support human development the Government has put place systems and strategies to effectively manage and unlock the potential for significant contribution to sustainable development.

Problem, challenge or context: 

Protected areas in Uganda are continuously undergoing degradation from the growing population pressures of the adjacent communities through habitat encroachment, poaching and excessive exploitation of natural resources inside and outside protected areas. The need for conservation or nature protection has thus become the prime force for the creation of protected areas as forest reserves, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. In Uganda as elsewhere, this is the remedial solution which is generally adapted in order to mitigate the degradation and depletion of our natural resource base. But still creation of protected areas is not a solution alone when the economic values of the protected areas are no vivid and demonstrated economic values. For instance protected areas are very useful for ecotourism development which could usher in a number of socio-economic and environmental benefits to the society in question if they are well managed. Protected area management challenges in Uganda range from weak institutional support to secure livelihoods, which are connected to the activities of the PA. To guarantee the sustainable management of protected areas, ‘new ideas are needed’ because the local populations generally see these protected areas as government-imposed restrictions on their traditional rights. The redistribution of the benefits emanating from conservation and the resolution of conflicts between conservationists and local communities are central elements in the protected area management approaches in Uganda. Economic valuation of protected areas is paramount to reflect the total contribution of protected areas to satisfy the growing human demands and economic development.

Specific elements of components: 

Government has put in place policy, institutional and governance frameworks that strategically expand and strengthen the management of protected areas at the systems level to promote co-management with local communities and private sector to enhance management effectiveness and maximize economic benefits. This approach has not only helped to strengthen the rights of local communities to sustainable use of protected areas’ resources but has also helped to develop their capacity to fulfill their responsibilities.

Key lessons learned: 
  • The components of biological diversity hinges on the survival of humankind as cornerstone for improving the livelihoods of the people and for the economic development of the country.
  • There is a need to promote the holistic valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services to strengthen the business case for investments by governments and the private sector in conservation of protected areas.
  • There is a need to internalize the value of protected areas and ecosystem services within national and sub-national plans, policies and accounting frameworks.
  • There is a need to build capacities in all aspects of the biodiversity-development interface.
Impacts and outcomes: 

Effective management of protected area systems has increased tourism revenues, business development, job opportunities and other benefits including ecosystem services. Reduced pressures and threats to protected areas, species, habitats and ecosystems. These pressures include encroachment, poaching, and negative attitudes due to human-wildlife conflict. Private Sector engagement Community benefits
Financing mechanisms have also been explored and promoted so that protected areas can generate significant revenues for sustainable financing, while protecting threatened species and ecosystems and remain buffer against climate change-related disasters, and continuously supply ecological services such as supply of clean water, carbon sequestration among others. Beyond Protected Areas, Government of Uganda is committed to stepping up efforts to mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem objectives into multiple sectors including key productive sectors, such as fisheries, agriculture and forestry; promote more sustainable production practices that maintain land and water ecosystem services; and conserve remaining biodiversity.

Contact details: 
Aggrey Rwetsiba
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