The United States government through its USAID program has donated UGX 8 billion towards bio-diversity conservation.
The announcement was made by USAID Mission Director in Uganda Richard Nelson who represented the US Ambassador Natalie E. Brown, during events to commemorate World Wildlife Day (WWD) held at Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC) in Entebbe on Thursday March 4.
Nelson asked Ugandan authorities to ensure that they protect the wildlife in parks against common threats such as poaching and wildfires.
“Uganda is blessed with significant wildlife and we recognize the challenges that they face with threats like poaching, wildfire, deforestation. We commit ourselves to fight together and curb these problems,” he said.
He added that tourism has been a significant benefit to Uganda during and after the Covid-19 lockdown.
Uganda’s Vice President Maj. Jessica Alupo who received the donation, revealed that tourism plays a significant role as Uganda fights to achieve a middle income status and the 1995 constitution mandates the state to protect wildlife.
“It mandates the state to develop and ensure that there is conservation of natural resources to safeguard and protect bio-diversity,” she said
It should be noted that in 2019, international tourism arrivals reached to 1.5b tourists worldwide increasing to 5% per year between 2009 and 2019, making tourism the world’s largest economic sector.
Alupo said that revenue collected from tourism is a very big contribution to the economy, adding; “It’s not enough to lift the economy from the economic state of poverty. However there are positive prospects for growth in the coming years.”
She also revealed that 6 more National parks have been created including; Kibaale N/P, Semuliki N/P, Bwindi impenetrable,Mgahinga gorilla N/P, Mt. Elgon N/P and Rwenzori N/P.
“As government, we shall continue to strengthen peace and security fundamental to the tourism sector and work hand in hand with stakeholders to ensure that we find solutions to threats towards wildlife,” she added
The Country Director World Wide Fund for nature (WWF) in Uganda David Duli said that wildlife species need to be monitored and accessed.
“We cannot achieve this if we don’t have very good capacity of what we call monitoring and accessing these species and with the help of the public we treat these habitants that have been encroached on,” he said
The WWD was celebrated under the theme ‘Recovering Key Species for Eco-system Restoration’