CBD Programme work in Uganda - Page 4

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4. It was found out that MFCA and BCFR Complex (MFBFC) are important as a biodiversity habitat and contribute a lot to the community, the nation and globally through a number of ecosystem products and services. As a biodiversity habitat MFBFC has a diversity of fish, reptiles, birds, plant, animals and invertebrates species. The long duration of conservation and protection of these habitats has made the area rich in biodiversity.

Ecosystem products/services

5. PAs play important roles in the provision of ecosystem services for the local communities and this contributes significantly to poverty reduction. Some of the services and products from the MFBFC to local community include provision of firewood, food, housing construction materials, microclimate moderation that also influences agriculture the main economic undertaking. Although all these services are important, the potential of PAs to ensure that the communities are above the poverty line is yet to be realised. A poverty study undertaken in the entire country shows that highest levels of poverty were observable around PAs including MFBFC. The main findings of the value of MFBFC are shown in Table below

Value of ecosystem services and products in MFCBFC

Value of the service/product(Ushs)

Value of timber stock

146 billion

Non-timber products (mainly wood)

4.81 billion per year

Non-wood Forest products

5.425 billion per year

Medicinal and pharmaceutical value

2.21 billion per year

Soil erosion control

132.1 billion per year

Tourism value

142.3 billion in 2009

Carbon sequestration and storage value

3.75 billion per year

Option, bequest and existence value

35 trillion

Relocation and rehabilitation value

114.438 trillion

Watershed protection and catchment services

26.5 billions

Research and education

47 million

Costs to the community

2.5 billion per year

Opportunity costs for MFBFC (livestock husbandry and sugarcane )

25.2 billion per year

Income of the MFCA

2.2 billion (2008)

Oil reserve

Value not yet established

6. In conclusion, more effort is needed to ensure that the PAs contribute significantly to poverty reduction besides their other function of the provision of ecosystem services. For example the return from apiculture, one of the main interventions on sharing benefits with the communities, has not benefited the MFBFC community much. In order to increase the contribution of the PA to both poverty reduction and the provision of ecosystems services, the study recommends the following:

a) Undertaking of regular scientific inventories of the PAs to identify, quantify and document all key resources in the area;

b) Updating of valuation studies of key ecosystem goods and services and assessing the cost/benefit implications of maintaining them;

c) Promoting the multiple use of strategies including community access to protected area resources on a sustainable basis;

d) Introduction of support of more meaningful revenue and benefit sharing schemes; development and support of new wildlife based local enterprises and supply chains (beeswax, medicinal extracts, wild plant foods etc);

e) Development and implementation of relevant and effective economic instruments for the conservation of protected areas;

f) Creating opportunities for REDD projects and programmes that incorporates both the maintenance of PAs and improvement of local communities livelihoods should be explored; and

g) Ensuring that more capacity needs to be built on the valuation of protected natural resources and ecosystem services especially for natural resource managers in Government ministries, Government departments/agencies, NGOs and the private sector.

Highlight of the report of the study on Governance of Protected Areas

Governance encompasses four interrelated elements. First is the element of state capacity which is related to the power and capacity of a state to enforce rules that are consistent and predictable. Second is the element of the rule of law which establishes, among other things, property rights and limits the state’s discretion in manipulating those rules. Third is the element of democratic institutions which further limit the exercise of the state’s discretion by holding governments accountable to their citizens. Fourth is the element of an active citizenry. Active citizenship is essential for the defense of public institutions that act in that act in the public interest. A combination of these elements defines the quality of governance in a country.

For the purpose of the study, protected area governance concerns the structures, processes and traditions that determine how power and responsibilities are exercised, how decisions are taken, and how stakeholders have their say. When considered in the context of protected areas, protected areas governance concerns the structures, processes and traditions that determine how power and responsibilities over protected areas are exercised, how decisions are taken, and how stakeholders have their say.

Over the last half a century, in spite of potential setbacks mainly resulting from a history of political and economic instability, Uganda has made significant progress in ensuring effective protected areas governance consistent with national conservation objectives and global commitments. As discussed throughout this paper, the following general conclusions in terms of progress can be made:

First, while there have been various changes in the size and type of protected area types under the different sectors, the country has remained steadfast in trying to address the problems of loss of protected areas. Secondly, significant progress has been achieved in the area of policy, legal and institutional reforms. These reforms have created wide ranging opportunities for many stakeholders including non-state actors to engage more actively in PA governance related activities. Thirdly, the creation of new protected areas and the enhancement of the conservation status of some of the existing PAs during the 1990s was a major achievement by Government. It is worth noting that during this period, selected wetlands, forests and wildlife areas were recognized and their conservation status enhanced by changing their categorization.

In spite of these achievements, major challenges remain. The future of PAs and the effectiveness of the applicable governance regimes will particularly depend on how these challenges are addressed in a more strategic and robust manner.

Political support

Political support for effective Protected Areas governance is inadequate and needs to be improved. While Government sought to increase the political profile of environment and natural resources activities through the creation of dedicated Ministries and Agencies, Government is yet to provide adequate resources for effective conservation of Protected Areas.