The European Union (EU) has committed €40 million (over 164 billion) to boost government’s activities to help in restoration of Uganda’s forest cover.
The five year partnership was signed between the Ugandan government and the EU commission during the just concluded COP 27 in Egypt and will run until 2027.
Speaking on Friday, the Minister for Water and Environment, Sam Cheptoris said the agreement will help deepen cooperation in the field of protection, restoration and sustainable use of forests.
“This will help increase the area of protected, restored and sustainably managed forests to enable Uganda attain the nationally determined contribution target of 21% tree cover by 2030, reduce the annual rate of deforestation, increase the number of forest related decent jobs and facilitate trade in legal and sustainable wood products based on value addition and not raw products,” Cheptoris said.
According to the Minister for Water and Environment, the agreement will enhance biodiversity conservation, management and sustainable utilization and fair benefit sharing based on Uganda National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.
“With these interventions, the expansion of other land use activities encroaching into forest lands will be reduced, while strengthening the economic resilience of forests through enhanced value chains for consumptive and non-consumptive forest products and services including timber, fuel wood, biodiversity, tourism, carbon storage, water provisioning and pollination.”
The minister assured the EU delegation of government’s continued commitment to enhancing value addition in key growth opportunities, including forestry, reducing environmental degradation and the adverse effects of climate change as well as improving utilization of natural resources for sustainable economic growth and livelihood security.
The European Union deputy director general for international partnerships Myriam Ferran acknowledged government’s commitment to reduce green house emissions approximately 22% by 2030 compared to the business as usual scenario of increasing forest cover by 21% by 2023 and the national biodiversity strategy and action plan 2015-2025 and action plan for restoration of the environment and natural resource 2021-2031.
“Uganda’s wonderful nature has developed into robust ambitions and strong commitments in our joint development cooperation agenda for its preservation, protection and sustainable development. This also resonates with the core of the EU’s global partnership agenda – the European Green deal,” Ferran said.
She noted that the partnership between the EU and the Ugandan government is a demonstration of common aspirations to enable forests to fulfil their economic, social, and environmental roles and a common responsibility posed to forests by human, social and development needs.
“This forest partnership will focus on generating economic growth, jobs, income and fiscal revenues through increased investments in sustainable forestry and forest-based value chains but also increase forest cover by both decreasing deforestation and forest degradation as well as promoting forest restoration.”
The EU deputy director general for international partnerships also noted that the partnership will help increase institutional capacity for forest resources governance, protection and management.