Environmentalists Reach Out Kids With Disabilities Ahead Of Green Festival

Uganda's Little Hands Go Green and NEMA Uganda joined Cheshire Services Uganda, a local Non Governmental Organization working with Persons with Disabilities and Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children to plant trees at Kyambogo Primary School in the suburbs of Kampala ahead of the Green Festival 2017.

This, officials of Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green said, is a way of bridging the disability gap and promoting Inclusiveness of children with disabilities in our society.

“For a long time, little hands go green has pushed and carried out environmental conservation education in primary schools across Uganda and Rwanda but had not deliberately set out to purposely include children with disabilities directly in the campaign,” Joseph Masembe, the CEO of environmental organization said in a statement.

He added, “This tree planting exercise therefore is the start of a deliberate push and a call to all Ugandans in general to ensure that persons with disabilities are respected and given an opportunity to enjoy a better life by empowering them to take part in the greening efforts as well.”

The exercise which took place Friday afternoon attracted top NEMA Uganda officials led by the executive director Dr. Tom Okurut, celebrated music DJs Slick Stuart and Roger. They participated in the planting of fruit trees.

Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green will on third of September (3rd/9/2017) host parents, guardians and their children at Kololo Airstrip at the annual Kids Green Festival where children are taught the importance of planting trees. Each child who attends the festival takes home a fruit tree seedling of his or her choice.

Marriott International Announces Dynamic New Sales and Marketing Leadership

Marriott International has announced the expansion and strengthening of its Sales and Marketing Leadership Team for Middle East and Africa. This bold new initiative comes on the heels of the successful mega merger between Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts and the fast progressing integration of the two companies.

The revamped Brand, Marketing, Sales and Consumer Services (BMSC) Leadership Team comprises of highly experienced professionals from Marriott International and legacy Starwood Hotels and Resorts, bringing together exceptional talent and expertise from both companies and speaks to the company’s commitment to support its enhanced footprint and aggressive growth plans in the region.

Led by seasoned Marriott International veteran, Neal Jones, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International, the team will provide dedicated support to the company’s thriving regional portfolio and will be responsible for driving top line revenue for Marriott International brands, ensuring the regional Sales and Marketing strategy is aligned with the company’s vision and priorities.

With a current portfolio of over 240 hotels with 54,000 rooms in 30 countries, Marriott International is working towards targeting a projected growth of 150,000 rooms operational and pipeline in 38 countries by 2022 across Middle East and Africa.

Commenting on the announcement, Neal Jones said, “The leadership changes we are announcing today are important to foster greater synergies, teamwork, accountability and nimble decision-making critical to lay a strong foundation that will support our ambitious growth plans in the region.

I am extremely excited to work together with such a talented and diverse group of leaders who bring with them exceptional domain expertise as well as regional insights that will enable us to create a more vibrant organization that delivers value for all stakeholders.”

“I am confident that with this, we have the right structure and talent in place to accelerate our lead in the market, drive further innovation and strengthen the positioning of our brands while keeping our loyal and new guests at the centre of everything we do, steering us into the next phase of our growth and success,” he added.

Marriott’s BMSC leadership team for Middle East and Africa has been formed with the following seasoned hospitality professionals currently on board and a Vice President Luxury Brands soon to be announced.

Paul Dalgleish, Vice President of Sales & Distribution will be responsible for Property, Market and Area Sales Organisations as well as the Global Sales Organisation, whilst leading the Middle East and Africa Distribution Strategy.

Previously Vice President of Sales for Marriott International, Paul has played a key role in the rapid expansion of the Middle East and Africa Region, deploying new and innovative sales strategies, whilst ensuring talent development lives as a discipline priority.

Sarah Allen, Vice President of Revenue Strategy & Analysis will be responsible for Property, Market and Area Revenue Management, Remote Revenue Management Solutions and Revenue Management Analysis.

Formerly Vice President of Revenue Management, Marriott International Middle East and Africa, Sarah is a Marriott International veteran and has played a key role in moving hotels onto Marriott’s Revenue Management platforms implementing processes as well as setting up shared services across the markets to drive synergies. She was also the business leader for the integration of Protea Hotels which was acquired by Marriott International in 2014.

 

Jitendra Jain, Vice President of Digital, Loyalty and Portfolio Marketing will be responsible for the company’s award-winning Loyalty Programs, Partnerships, cross-brand marketing of Marriott International’s regional portfolio and will lead all Digital Marketing, Platforms and Products.

A Starwood veteran, Jitendra previously led the Marketing function for the former Starwood portfolio in the Middle East, where he spearheaded the transformation of marketing processes, talent and culture, cultivating a data-driven and forward-looking mindset leveraging digital, brands and loyalty.

Sandra Schulze-Potgieter, Vice President of Premium and Select Brands will be responsible for Brand Marketing and Management for Marriott International’s compelling portfolio of Premium and Select Brands and will oversee Restaurants & Bars Marketing as well as Area Field Marketing.

Sandra was previously Senior Director, Brand Marketing & eCommerce for Marriott International Middle East and Africa managing Field Marketing, Brand Marketing, Public Relations, Partnerships, Social Media, Digital as well as Loyalty. She was instrumental in positioning Marriott International’s lead in Brand Marketing in the region.

Sarah Walker Kerr, Vice President of Communications Middle East and Africa will be responsible for devising and implementing the overall Communications Strategy for Marriott International in the region, driving visibility, enhancing the perception of the company and its brands and increasing its share of voice in the media.

She will provide strategic counsel to the senior executive leadership team, managing Internal and External Communications, Crisis Communications and Reputation Management as well as Brand Communications. A seasoned communications specialist, Sarah was previously Regional Director of Public Relations Middle East, Africa, India & Japan for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

Raheel Baggia, Senior Director, BMSC Planning and Services will be responsible for Integration and Change Management, Program Execution and Training. Prior to this Raheel served as Director, BMSC Consulting-Middle East and Africa.

Since joining Marriott in 2013, Raheel has been working on strategic continent projects both in his previous role supporting BMSC-Middle East and Africa as well as in Europe where he was part of the Global Operations team.

 

Sudhir Hotels Get Tripadvisor Certificates Of Excellence

The tourism sector in Uganda got a massive boost when Sudhir Ruparelia’s hotels Speke Resort Munyonyo and Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort were awarded with TripAdvisor's prestigious CertificateOfExcellence for 2017.

“We're honored to announce that we've received the TripAdvisor's prestigious CertificateOfExcellence for 2017 for the 3rd consecutive year. A massive thank you to all our customers for their amazing reviews and support,” a note sent out to customers in an email said.

Ajit Singh, Rooms Division Manager, said ‘we are always striving to become the best and to serve our guests and will continue to do so in the future. Do give us your feedback if you have stayed with us.

TripAdvisor, Inc., is an American travel website company providing hotels booking as well as reviews of travel-related content. It also includes interactive travel forums, according to Wikipedia.

Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort is a luxurious Five star hotel-resort in Kampala. The resort is located in Munyonyo, Makindye Division, in the southeastern part of Kampala, along the northern shores of Lake Victoria. The resort was commissioned in 2007 and served as the host venue of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2007.

Speke Resort Munyonyo is 5 star hotel in Uganda conveniently located 12 km from the capital Kampala. The hotel offers you the ultimate in luxury accommodation in Kampala and has leisure facilities together with the finest conference and business meeting location in East Africa.

Cash For Carbon: Paying Ugandans To Preserve Trees Deters Climate Change

If you have moved around Ugandan villages, you would have noticed huge chunks of forested land. These forests are paid forby a new method of fighting climate change called Paying for Ecosystem (PES).

Paying for Ecosystem paid a total of US$20,000 to 180 people in 60 Ugandan villages not to cut down trees on their land was worth the money, researchers say. By delaying carbon dioxide emissions, the project’s benefits to society were more than double its costs.

Deforestation dropped by more than half in Ugandan villages where land owners were paid 70,000 Uganda Shillings(about $28) per hectare each year if they preserved their trees, according to the study from U.S. researchers published in the journal Science on July 20, 2017.

The benefits of paying land owners to preserve forests were more than two times greater than the cost of the program when it comes to protecting forests and tackling climate change which is exacerbated by deforestation, said the two-year study.

Trees are important because they absorb lots of carbon dioxide, which is a by-product of fossil fuel burning and is the primary of driver of global warming.

Ethiopia is also among the sub-Saharan African countries taking the threat of climate change seriously and is proving to be very ambitious in its plans to tackle its causes and effects: it is one of the few countries that was rated to have a ‘sufficient INDC’ and it has developed a Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy or CRGE to stabilize the country's economic vulnerability to climate change. With Ethiopia being proclaimed the fastest growing economy worldwide for 2017, taking into consideration adaptation and mitigation approaches will prove necessary for the sustainability of its economy.

Much like Uganda, Ethiopia has planned to build a strong green economy in the next 20 years, with an estimated cost of $150 billion. A yearly amount of, $7.5 billion in funds will be needed to implement this.

Back in Uganda, Economists who crunched the numbers on forest preservation say the model pioneered in Uganda could be expanded to other countries with large tropical forests including Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Peru, as part of the fight against global warming.

The analysis of “Payments for Ecosystems” showed its benefits to the environment were 2.4 times as large as the program costs, said the study in the journal Science. “The payments changed people’s behavior and prompted them to conserve,” said lead author Seema Jayachandran, associate professor of economics in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University.

“And we didn’t find any evidence that they simply shifted their tree-cutting elsewhere.”

The two-year pilot in western Uganda examined the impact of offering landowners 70,000 Ugandan shillings ($28 in 2012 U.S. dollars) per year for each hectare (2.5 acres) of forest in which they left trees unperturbed. 

'Cost effective' program 

"When you think of the damage done by climate change, paying people to conserve forests is cost effective," said Northwestern University economist Seema Jayachandran, the study's lead author.

"It is a straight forward idea and the benefits are bigger than the costs," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Researchers hope some of the billions of dollars pledged by rich countries to help poor nations respond to climate change under a United Nations agreement signed in Paris in 2015 could be used to replicate the forest protection program.

Jayachandran said researchers were able to monitor whether beneficiaries in the 121 Ugandan villages were actually preserving the forests by a combination of site visits and satellite imagery.

Most deforestation in Uganda is caused by people cutting down trees for timber or charcoal or wanting to turn forested land into farms, she said. The program included residents who formally owned their land and those who had ancestral or informal control over their properties, Jayachandran said. 

Following the Programme by Its Roots

Sixty villages were randomly selected by Innovations for Poverty action to receive incentives, and 61 were not offered any cash to save the trees. Satellite data was analysed to measure tree cover, and forest monitors conducted spot checks on enrollees’ land to hunt for any sign of recent tree-clearing.

“In the villages without the program, 9% of the tree cover that was in place at the start of the study was gone by the end of it, two years later,” said Ms. Jayachandran.

“In the villages with the PES program, there was four to five percent tree loss. In other words, there was still deforestation, but much less of it.”

Forests in Uganda provide precious habitat for endangered chimpanzees.

Between 2005 and 2010 Uganda had one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, with 2.7% lost per year, according to background information in the article.

A full 70% of forests in Uganda are located on private land, where poor farmers cut them for timber and charcoal burning. Cleared land is also used to grow crops. After the study, villages offered the incentive preserved 13.5 more acres (5.5 more hectares) of forest than villages in the comparison group.

“This equates to 3,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide not released into the atmosphere, at a total cost of just 46 cents per ton not released over the two years of the study,” said the report.

Because the amounts of money involved are fairly small, and because most deforestation today occurs in low-income countries, researchers said the savings can be big. For instance, paying Ugandans to conserve and plant trees was an estimated 10 to 50 times more effective per dollar spent than many energy efficiency programs in the United States, the study also found.

Though this is the first experimental study of its kind, its success show not just how effective, but how cost-effective, programmes like this can be. It may also be a very cost-effective way to help meet goals such as the Paris Accord targets. 

By Boaz Opio

No Turning Back For Africa’s First Solar Bus

A 35-seater solar bus branded Kayoola is an automobile described as Africa’s first solar-bus, a Ugandan-made Kiira Motors' Kayoola prototype electric vehicle having a collocate of two electric batteries that can charge on the solar panels built on its roof. It was launched in Feb 2016 at the Mandela National Stadium in Kampala.

One year down the road, government has increased the budget allocation for the development of Uganda’s Renewable Energy Science and Technology which increased from Shs14.2 billion it got in the 2016/17 fiscal year to Shs 71.9 billion in the 2017/2018 budget.

East African Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (EACREEE) was also launched by the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Hon. Eng. Irene Muloni to act as an abode for further research and development of renewable energy innovations.

Kayoola was designed by Makerere University’s College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT), where the first ever Centre of excellence for East African Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (EACREEE) is situated.

During the launch of EACREEE, Hon. Eng. Irene Muloni said the Centre will proceed to contributing towards increased access to modern, affordable, sustainable and reliable energy services in Uganda and the East African region.

Established by the partner member states of the East African Community (EAC) with support from the Austrian Development Agency and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), EACREEE is destined to making sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) a reality in 2030. The center is based at Makerere University’s College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) and operates through a network of National Focal Institutions among all East African States.

According to the Principal of Makerere University College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology Assoc. Prof. Henry Alinaitwe, EACREEE is geared towards increased access to energy security and mitigation of negative externalities of energy systems (such as pollution) by creating an enabling environment for renewable energy and energy efficiency markets and investments.

Assoc. Prof. Henry Alinaitwe said that the centre will also promote all appropriate and sustainable renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, promote small-scale and medium-scale hydro power projects, and Bio-fuel projects which prove to be sustainable and Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) cooking projects.

“EACREEE will also support and execute Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency activities and projects which cover one or more EAC Partner States focusing primarily on activities and projects with regional impact or national projects which demonstrate high potential for scaling-up or regional replication,” he  said.

While launching the centre, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Hon. Eng. Irene Muloni said adequate renewable energy is key in promoting industrialisation and subsequently achieving Uganda’s middle income status by 2020. She therefore said that the creation of this facility will support the efforts to realise this target.

“Majority of Ugandans are in the rural areas and they rely on bio mass including charcoal and agricultural waste for energy. Fortunately, 85% of the energy Uganda relies on is renewable and thus need to fully tap into its potential. Only a few of the population are connected to the electricity power and this remains a major constraint to industrial activities particularly manufacturing,” she unequivocally stated.

In a bid to counter these shortfalls, Minister (designate) Muloni said the regional strategy is working towards wider penetration of renewable energy through its Northern Corridor Integration and Standardized High Voltage projects.

The EAC Deputy Secretary General Jessica Ariyo thanked the Austrian Development Agency and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) plus the Government of Uganda for their continued support toward the development of the centre to advance science and technology in Uganda when she said that,

 “The center is a milestone in the integration process and needs to be taken seriously. We hope that this will facilitate a dialogue and exchange of ideas between stakeholders in the private sector within the EAC member states.”

Describing industry and energy as important sectors, the Director General of United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Mr. Philippe Scholtes noted that the two sectors should stand alone if countries need to achieve sustainable development.

Mr. Philippe Scholtes said that Member states should work hand in hand for inclusive and sustainable development if they want to achieve industrial development.

“This is what UNIDO is up to and I believe we are not the only ones in the race. The African Union adopted this. And in October 2015, the UN concluded that the general assembly of industries that anyone who wants to involve in energy activities should stand out for sustainable development. It is also important to note the COP21 in Paris last year 2015 agreed to encourage countries engage in better use of energy,” he said.

Renewable energy is a boom in Africa and Uganda has invested $134 million since 2015. In a speech read by the current Makerere University Vice Chancellor elect, Prof. Banarbas Nawangwe, the former Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu said that the university is ready to promote all appropriate and sustainable renewable energy and energy efficiency across East African region.

This includes the development of research in electric and solar-powered vehicles, solar water pumps for irrigation to farmers in remote off-grid countryside. Though the bus is intended for urban areas rather than inter-city use because of the restrictions on how far it can travel, according to Kiira Motor’s CEO in a statement told New Vision that by 2039 the company will be able to manufacture all the parts and assemble the vehicle in Uganda in order to cut on the pollution resulting from over dependence on gasoline vehicles.

Environment: Kayihura, Uganda's Little Hands Go Green To Plant Trees

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Gen Kale Kayihura is incorporating tree planting into Uganda Police’s Community Policing initiatives as a way of protecting and conserving the environment in the country. This resonates well with President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni recent call to protect and conserve the environment.

Gen Kale Kayihura is teaming up with Uganda's Little Hands Go Green and My Kid is A superstar to rally residents in different divisions of Kampala to plant trees. This initiative comes as a boost to Uganda's Little Hands Go Green is organizing the Green Festival 2017. The festival which will take place at Kololo Airstrip on Sunday, 3rd September, 2017 inspires children to embrace tree planting.

Uganda's Little Hands Go Green is being supported by National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), MilkMan , The Ministry of Environment, Eskom Uganda, Movit , Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), NBS Television and the CIA to organize the annual festival. Each child who attends the festival returns home with a free fruit seedling for planting at their home, community or at school.

Gen Kale Kayihura has been at the forefront of inspiring the police officers to work with communities as they execute their statutory mandate of serving and protecting Ugandans by keeping law and order. He has recently traversed various parts of the country encouraging neighborhood watch schemes and other community policing initiatives. 

The IMO commander Frank Mwesigwa has as a result been traversing the five divisions of Kampala to ensure that there is a massive reduction in crime all over Kampala. The IGP will plant fruit trees in various areas of Kampala in partnership with Uganda's Little Hands Go Green and My Kid is A superstar the organizers of the only Green Festival in Africa.

How Online Booking Is Helping Hotel Business In Uganda

The Internet has caused massive change in the hotel industry, Greg Petzer, General Manager, Speke Resort Munyonyo reveals, explaining that new technologies, new competitors and newly empowered customers have fundamentally altered the face of the hotel business.

He however says that this massive change also bring opportunity, a pronouncement Dhaval Machhar, the General Manager of Forest Cottages, agrees with. “In last five years internet has played extremely dramatic role in business growth of Hotel industry globally and in Uganda,” Machhar confesses.

“Almost each & every traveler is engaged in any short online search before they go for either official tour or for leisure,” Machhar adds. Petzer further explains that with internet a hotelier can control the information ‘you publish and distribute to most booking channels’.

“With the right information shared across all distribution channels you have limitless ways to know your customers better, coordinate their requests, anticipate their needs, develop appealing promotions and improve service,” Petzer says.

Hoteliers talked to for this article said the use of internet is driving direct online bookings, which is a positive for the industry. Petzer explains that hoteliers in Uganda are equally catching up with the trend.

Petzer says: “Hotels have adopted online booking to make it easy and attractive for international travelers. Many customers from Europe, United States and Asia have gone digital. E-commerce has many uses in business, including in the tourism industry.

“In an increasingly competitive market place, tourism products require an effective distribution strategy for a firm to reach its target tourists and local markets. E-commerce mainly helps in the generation of leads, presenting information about the tourism product to the customers and facilitating the transaction process electronically using the World Wide Web.

“The Internet is here to stay, and many businesses have made their first leap to the Internet with a web site, and many are now moving forwards using the Internet, not only as an advertising and promotion platform, but as an active business platform,”

The internet, according to people in the hotel business gives them a ‘24/7’ platform to receive reservations which are commission free. The internet also reduces workload and as Petzer says ‘it’s simply good customer service’. The option of online payment eases transactions.

Machhar however cautions that cybercrime is on high nowadays, ‘so all guests should take care when using credit cards online’ because ‘you need to make sure you are using secure payment gateway’.

Petzer advises that ‘if you decide to use a third-party site, choose a well-known and reputable brand’. “Get recommendations for trusted travel companies or sites from your network of friends and family,” he advises.

“Use a credit card instead of a debit card to book online. In case the website is phony, you won’t have given the cybercriminals direct access to your bank account. Many credit card companies offer fraud protection,” Petzer further advises.

 He says that upon completion of the transaction and reservation ‘always call the company afterward to confirm’. “If there is no record of your reservation, it’s better to know sooner rather than later. You’ll be able to alert your credit card company, report the fraud, and still have time to book reservations with the real deal,”

Asked what factors consumer considers when choosing a hotel online, Petzer explained that description of the hotel, online ratings and reviews, social media presence and content of hotel website are key.

“Our online customers do choose us because of positive guest reviews, budget rates, safari style accommodation with comfortable facilities and of course the forest.” Machhar of Forest Cottage explained.

“Forest cottages is the only place in the heart of Kampala where you can feel like you are somewhere up country. You don’t feel like you are in Kampala. Our place is like a real tropical forest - lush green full of nature. Till date we have spotted more than 25 spices of birds at forest cottages and grows 9 different type of fruits in our forest.”

Make An Entry Into Uganda Tourism Sector With This Degree Training

There is renewed focus directed at reinvigorating Uganda’s tourism industry. These efforts have in the past few years received enormous backing from both government and the private sector. Some people have started harvesting.

However, amidst this hope, one disadvantage stands in the way of Ugandans intending to work in the country’s tourism industry – the lack of necessary education and training. This lack of know-how and skills to work in the industry has seen Ugandans lose jobs to Kenyans.

This skills gap has woken up regulators and high learning institutions to start training Ugandans. Uganda Tourism Board has on different occasions called on private sector players who are the helm of the industry as service providers to improve on their skills through training; training institutions are heeding to this call.

Victoria University, a private university in Kampala, is inviting interested students to apply for the three year Bachelor of Tourism and Hotel Management ahead of their August intake. The course covers a wide range of topics in the tourism sector.

All one needs to qualify for this course is Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education or its equivalent with two principle passes obtained at same sitting or a Diploma in Tourism and Hotel Management or in related course from recognized institution.

“This course welcomes students into the exciting and diverse hospitality and tourism industry. While providing an understanding of the scope and complexity of the industry, the course covers key hospitality issues, management definitions.” Abdul Kalanzi, marketing and recruitment specialist at Victoria University, said.

He elaborated that students after graduating can build careers and work in restaurants, hotels, beverages operations, casinos, theme venues, entertainment centers, cruise lines, and countless other hospitality and tourism business.

Tourism in Uganda is a major driver of employment, investment and foreign exchange, contributing trillions of Ugandan Shillings to country's coffers. Tourism can be used to fight poverty in Uganda.

Tourist attractions in Uganda include national game parks, game reserves, traditional sites, natural tropical forests. Traditional occasions like Mbalu in eastern Uganda, boat riding, waterfalls etc.

Speke Resort Munyonyo In Fresh Weekend Offers

Luxury hoteliers’ Speke Resort - Munyonyo and Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort owned Speke Group of Hotels recently announced special Weekend Packages on bed & breakfast basis as a commitment to offer best competitive rates along with quality services to guests.

Ajit Singh, Rooms Division Manager, Speke / Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort revealed that this package gives clients more options to choose from and pay less. “At Speke Resort we are committed to offering best competitive rates along with quality services to our valuable guests,” he said upon unveiling the new packages.

“We have come up with a special Weekend Package on bed & breakfast basis in addition to our existing full board basis weekend package rates, giving you more options to choose from and pay less by selecting the option that suites you best as per your requirements.” He added in an email revelation which was shared with customers.

According to Singh, all resident guests are entitled to free usage of Gym, Swimming pool, Steam & Sauna. The Weekend package rates include 30 minutes boat & 10 Minutes pony ride. Use of Gym, Swimming, and Steam & Sauna is free of charge for all our residents.

While Extra person or child in the room (Speke Resort) will be charged US$ 35 per night on bed & breakfast with an extra mattress and US$ 68 per night for Full Board.  Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort doesnt provide extra mattresses.

Protecting Environment Is A Matter Of Life And Death, Says Museveni

President Yoweri Museveni emphasized that protecting the environment is a matter of life and death for humanity cautioning that ‘we must do all it takes to protect the environment lest we perish.’ The president was speaking as guest of honor during World Environment Day celebrations in Ibanda District on Monday.

“All those interfering with nature are doing a great disservice to themselves and will ultimately pay a heavy price. God created for us a wonderful environment to live in but by degrading it, we are going against his will. Water is our life and we should not interfere with anything to do with water or the environment.

“We have not had enough rains for the last two seasons in Uganda and experts attribute it to the attack on the environment by people who invaded wetlands, forests, lakes and rivers that contribute 40% of the rains we get and we can’t go on like that,” he added.

The President, therefore, said that government is soon amending and strengthening the environment protection law to ensure that nobody should do any activity in a radius of 50 meters from a river bank, 200 meters from a lake shore and advised all people living or practicing agriculture in wetlands and forestry reserves, to leave them peacefully.

Important for tourism

Museveni further said that protecting the environment is also important for tourism noting that the sector earns the country much more foreign exchange than most economic activities the country is engaged in.

The President, who described the environment as the genetic bank, appealed to all citizens of Uganda to prioritize environmental protection for the good of the current and future generations. He emphasized that they ought treat whoever is attacking the environment as their number one enemy.

Rain catchment areas

The Minister of Water and Environment, Sam Cheptoris, said that wetlands, forests and water bodies are important rain catchment areas and that whoever attacked them in a country like Uganda that is largely agricultural and dependent on rainfall, must be resisted.

On behalf of the United Nations, the United Nations Development Program Country Director, Ms. Rosa Malanga, said that humanity must find ways of connecting with nature, protect it, respect it and safeguard the world heritage. She commended Uganda for being one of the few countries that have put in place a legal framework to protect the environment.

The French Ambassador to Uganda, Ms. Stephanie Rivoal, noted that humanity shares the same planet and there must be a collective duty to protect it selfishly for the sake of the future generations.

She said that the planet belongs to nobody but to everybody and it is, therefore, a duty of everybody to ensure that it is safe for humanity. She appealed to developed countries who contributed greatly to climate change to take a leading role in mitigating the causes of climate change.

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