"Action for Nature:The case of Biodiversity."
Uganda ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity on 8th September 1993. The Convention entered into force on 29th December 1993. To-date 196 countries are Parties to the CBD making one of the Conventions with the biggest number of Parties. In December 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted 22 May as the International Day for Biodiversity (IDB) to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on 22 May 1992 in Nairobi, Kenya. IDB is meant to increase understanding and awareness of about biodiversity.
This year, Parties to the CBD celebrated IDB by marking 25 years since the Convention entered into force. The global theme for IDB was "Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity". In line with the global theme, the national theme was “Action of Nature”. The national theme was meant to raise awareness on the importance of biodiversity as a central of nature upon which human wellbeing, livelihood and also for Government and stakeholders to take stock of major achievements Uganda has made biodiversity conservation and management since becoming a Party to the CBD in 1993.
One of the activities to mark national celebrations for IDB was a Public dialogue. This was in collaboration with the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and was held on 15th May 2018 at the Uganda Museum. The topic for the public dialogue was 'Action for Nature: The Case for Biodiversity'.
In the introductory remarks, the Chairman NatureUganda Hon Arimpa John Kikyagi congratulated all for joining the rest of the world to celebrate the International Day for Biodiversity. He shared with members about the status of the previous Biodiversity while noting that comparing the two; there is a big difference in terms of Biodiversity conservation. He therefore challenged all to look at what was used to be done in the previous time as regards to Conservation and what is being done current and try to find out where the problem lies.
The Deputy Executive Director NEMA, Ms. Christine Okello appreciated that Biodiversity was being celebrated on a special day. She observed the benefits that are accrued from Biodiversity and the impacts they on our daily lifestyles. She went ahead to applaud the different partners that have joined efforts to promote the status of Biodiversity conservation. She called upon all to safe guard Biodiversity jealously with a focus conserve it
Additionally, remarks from the Board Chairman NEMA Pof. Sandy Stevens Tickodri-Togboa emphasized the need to continuously observe the importance of Biodiversity and its impact to our livelihoods. He called upon the different stakeholders charged with a mandate to protect the environment and Conservation to continue with the vision. He congratulated the different parties that deemed it necessary to set aside the celebrations for the day and urged all to mark this day.
The key note address at this event was delivered by Director of tourism, wildlife and antiquities Mr. James Lutalo who in his address, observed that Uganda is a biodiversity rich country and the protection of biodiversity is in the interest of us all.
He alluded to the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995, under National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy XIII which states “The State shall protect important natural resources, including land, water, wetlands, minerals, oil, fauna and flora on behalf of the people of Uganda”. To emphasize this, the director highlighted that Government of Uganda is committed to promoting the conservation and sustainable use of its biological resources and protection of the vital ecosystem services provided by biodiversity for sustainable development, wealth creation, job creation and improvement of livelihoods of local communities.
He shared with the audience on a Brief History of Convention on Biological Diversity while noting the many steps that led to the United Nations process leading to the development of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
The steps involved among others; The declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, 1972 where man has the ability to transform his environment in countless ways and on an unprecedented scale to United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations, the World Charter for Nature, 1982 that emphasized “Mankind as a part of nature and that life depends on the uninterrupted functioning of natural systems which ensure the supply of energy and nutrients, report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987; that relates to our Common Future, that coined the term “sustainable development” and sought to describe a means by which humanity could learn to live sustainably within the Earth’s resources.