Govt, UNDP Launch Wetland Restoration Drive Top story

2640 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The money will help in restoration of degraded wetlands in different parts of the country. The eight-year project is supported with a US24.14 million grant from the Green Climate Fund, US2 million from UNDP and US18.12 million in co-financing from the Government of Uganda.

The Government of Uganda and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have kick-started a new project on "building community resilience, wetlands ecosystems and associated catchments in Uganda."

The new project, which is Uganda's first Green Climate Fund-financed initiative, is a response to the Presidential Initiative on Wetlands.

The inception meeting held on Thursday marked the start of project. Both entities signed a financing agreement in August 2017 for the project to restore degraded wetlands, improve ecosystems, and strengthen climate information and early warning systems.

The grant based project will target an estimated four million people who live in and around Uganda's wetlands and rely on them for food security.

It is part of both the Government Uganda and United Nations' efforts to promote Sustainable Development Goal 13 on climate action as well as fulfil its obligations to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change which it ratified last year.

State Minister for Environment, Goretti Kitutu, said fighting climate change and its effects is now a key goal for the Government of Uganda. Kitutu said she is delighted that this project will enable the government to respond to the President's call to protect wetlands and boost ongoing efforts in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
 
The eight-year project is supported with a US$24.14 million grant from the Green Climate Fund, US$2 million from UNDP and US$18.12 million in co-financing from the Government of Uganda.

UNDP Uganda Country Director, Almaz Gebru, said UNDP's goal is to support the Government and its people in their fight against the effects of climate change. Gebru said the country is already witnessing with the long dry seasons, heavy rainfall leading to floods and landslides among others.

She added that the project will initially work towards restoration of Uganda's degraded wetlands, improve people's livelihoods and increase resilience of wetland dependent communities. The project will later be extended  to other facets of the environment such as forests and wildlife holding areas.

This project builds on UNDP's other efforts in building resilience to climate change, including the National Wetlands Atlas developed by UNDP, UN Environment and the Government of Uganda, which was launched in February 2017 during the World Wetlands Day celebrations.

The Green Climate Fund-financed project will restore an estimated area of at least 760 square kilometres of degraded wetlands and associated catchments while improving the lives of at least 500,000 people living in 20 districts in Eastern and Southwestern regions of Uganda, which have experienced the highest levels of wetland degradation and climate change impacts.

To achieve this, the project will employ a three-pronged approach including; restoration of wetlands and associated forests, improved agricultural practices and alternative livelihood options in the wetland catchment areas, and strengthening access to climate and early warning information to farmers.

It is anticipated that the restored wetlands will also enhance communities' climate change adaptation and resilience, by reducing risk to flooding and drought associated with changing climatic conditions.

About four million people are estimated to be living adjacent to wetland areas in Uganda and rely on these areas to feed their families and make a living. Wetlands are also an important ecosystem that captures carbon and their conservation will contribute to lowered greenhouse gas emissions.

The project will also diversify economic activities for the vulnerable communities living in the Southwestern and Eastern regions of Uganda through the introduction of improved fishing and agricultural practices among other activities.

These efforts will be key for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 13 on Climate Action and contribute to Goal 2 on No Hunger, Goal 6 on Clean Water and Sanitation, Goal 11 on Sustainable Cities and Communities, Goal 14 on Life Below Water as well as Goal 15 - Life on Land.

The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Water and Environment in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries,  and the Uganda National Meteorological Authority. It will also engage various civil society and private sector groups.