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Museveni, EU Commissioner sign forest program agreement

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Simon Kabayo
Simon Kabayohttps://eagle.co.ug
Reporter whose work is detailed

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and European Union (EU) Commissioner, Mr. Virginijus Sinkevicius, have launched the new EU Forestry programme which will see Uganda benefit from the extensive experience of the EU in the forestry sector.

The launch took place on Tuesday at State House Entebbe.

“The European Union is making available grant financing to Uganda to the tune of Eur40 million (Shs167 billion) in new funding to tackle the root causes of deforestation in Uganda while promoting reforestation and sustainable economic development,” said Mr. Sinkevicius who is the EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries.

He noted that the grant comes as a milestone that demonstrates common aspirations in achieving the European Green Deal objectives and the Global Gateway – the EU’s sustainable connectivity strategy.

“This includes enhancing the role of forests in the bioeconomy and nurturing our trade flows of wood material,” he added.

President Museveni welcomed the EU group and appreciated their support for the environment, saying it is great to protect the ecosystem including national parks and forest reserves. He added that the wetlands should be included in their conservation plans.

Both the EU and Government of Uganda have laid the groundwork for commercial forestry in Uganda, particularly in the last 15 years, through which the two have accumulated collective experiences and efforts to identify and implement inclusive solutions that strike a balance between different land uses, reduce deforestation, forest degradation and unsustainable conversion of natural ecosystems.

Commissioner Sinkevius congratulated Uganda for being among the first five countries in the world to sign a Forest Partnership Agreement with the European Union at the COP-27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, where President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen ratified the Memorandum of Understanding on November 8, 2022.

Following that signing, Uganda successfully developed and validated a Forest Partnership roadmap on June 29, 2023, within the set six months as committed globally.

The new Forest programme will work through the following key areas:

To increase inclusive investments and decent job opportunities for women and men in sustainable forestry and forest-based value chain,

To increase forest cover by both decreasing deforestation & forest degradation and promoting forest restoration and community support to preservation efforts; and to enhance effectiveness of forest resources governance, protection and management.

The Government of Uganda and the EU have enjoyed a long-standing collaboration in natural resources management (forestry, water, climate change) for over 30 years but most recently in the past 15 years this collaboration has mainly been in the field of commercial forestry.

The Minister of State for Environment, Beatrice Anywar thanked the President for hosting the event as well as his continuous support to the water and environment sector.

She noted that the implementation of the forest partnership will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 22% by 2030 and increasing forest cover of up to 21% by 2030, among other benefits.

The meeting was attended by the Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Okello Oryem, among others.

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