On November 6, 2018, the Vital Signs program of Conservation International in partnership with the Africa Innovations Institute (AFRII) and the government of Uganda convened stakeholders to discuss the preliminary results of an analysis of some of Uganda’s key natural areas and their role in realizing the country’s sustainable development and climate action targets.
The stakeholders, drawn from government and non-governmental institutions, convened for the “Essential Ecosystems for Climate and Sustainable Development” Workshop at Golden Tulip Hotel in Kampala, Uganda.
The analysis, conducted over the last 6 months, aimed to identify and prioritize the country’s key areas of natural capital that are critical to Uganda’s realization of its commitments under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the latter being Uganda’s targets against climate change in line with the Paris Agreement.
The study was also intended to identify gaps in policy and institutional frameworks to ensure that nature essential to SDGs and NDCs is maintained; and to provide recommendations for the Government of Uganda to integrate these priority areas into their planning and financing efforts for achieving the SDGs and their NDCs.
It involved a combination of in-country literature gathering and review as well as a total of 17 key informant interviews with relevant government and non-state institutions followed by spatial analyses using geospatial modeling and remote sensing.
The Africa Field Director the Vital Signs Program Dr. Peter Alele said in his workshop opening remarks that as Uganda considers how to achieve its targets within SDGs and NDCs, it’s critical to consider how to maintain the essential natural capital needed for sustainable development and a healthy climate.
“Integrated national-level planning for how to achieve these different commitments can lead to more efficient implementation. This is critical for the country since Uganda depends a lot on agriculture,” he said.
He added: “Natural systems support our food production, clean our water, regulate our climate and safeguard the Earth’s diverse species – and by doing so, support many aspects of human well-being. However, there is little guidance for countries on how to manage natural ecosystems to ensure that development is sustainable.”
Dr. Alele said that for years, the Vital Signs program has harnessed tools of science to support policy and efforts by partners to achieve their conservation and socioeconomic development targets faster.
The CEO of the Africa Innovations Institute, Prof. William Otim-Nape, called for enhanced collaborations between government institutions, civil society, private sector and other actors to achieve data integration in Uganda to accelerate sustainable socioeconomic development and conservation of natural assets.
“Data is essential as a basis for policy decisions but it remains scattered across government institutions and private companies and users cannot readily access it. It is important therefore that we have an integrated data system to have the available data sourced for by the different institutions placed into this common pool to be readily and easily accessible by anyone in order to achieve sustainable development,” he said.
Prof. Otim-Nape cited the ongoing exercise of Monitoring, Reporting and Verification of Uganda’s Green House Gases being implemented by AFRII, Vital Signs and Uganda government as an example that needs such cross-sectoral collaborations to succeed. The project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
Stakeholders at the workshop concurred that an integrated approach to national and sub-national planning is needed to maintain the essential natural capital needed for sustainable development and a healthy climate. They agreed that Uganda has put notable efforts to address existing challenges regarding domestication and implementation of SDGs and NDCs, including gap analyses, policy review, fundraising, and development of tools for monitoring and evaluation of the SDGs and NDCs. A number of useful high-level analyses of the current institutional structure and available policies that act as a useful starting point for further analyses were discussed.
The meeting was attended by various stakeholders including officials from the Ministries of Agriculture, Water and Environment, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), National Forestry Authority (NFA), National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Uganda National Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), Makerere University, selected NGOs, private sector and international development partners.
Also present was Conservation International’s Senior Manager for Sustainable Development Policy Rowan Braybrook and its Associate Scientist, Nature and the Global Sustainability Agenda Pamela Collins.
For more information, please contact Dr. Peter Alele firstname.lastname@example.org