WED panellists

Public Dialogue on Ecosystem Restoration for Climate Resilience

NatureUganda, in collaboration with NEMA, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), Uganda Biodiversity Fund (UBF), and CARITAS Uganda, organized a public dialogue to tackle the pressing issue of ‘Land and ecosystem degradation crisis and rising impacts of climate change.

This dialogue, held on May 29, 2024 at Protea Hotel in Kampala, aimed to engage the public in World Environment Day celebrations and inspire actionable solutions for environmental restoration.

The national theme for this year’s World Environment Day, “Land Restoration for Climate Resilience,” underscores the urgent need to restore our environment to achieve human well-being, economic prosperity, job creation, and sustainable socio-economic transformation. As the global population increases and disasters become more frequent, urgent mechanisms involving scientific experts, policymakers, and non-state actors are necessary to prevent further crises.

The Senior Manager of Environment Planning and Coordination, NEMA, Dr. Francis Ogwal provided a comprehensive background on World Environment Day, noting that Uganda’s national theme aligns with the government’s Ten Year Plan of Action for Restoration of the Environment and Natural Resources (2021-2031), Vision 2024, and NDPIII. He highlighted that Sironko District has been chosen to host Uganda’s National Celebrations and emphasized the importance of land restoration for human well-being and sustainable development.

Keynote speaker Dr. Peter Kimbowa, Board Chairman of NSSF and an internationally recognized consultant, delivered a compelling address. He warned that by 2050, out of 10 billion people, 1.2 billion could become climate refugees if current trends continue. Dr. Kimbowa highlighted Uganda’s potential to grow food for the entire continent and stressed the importance of private sector involvement in environmental discussions. He advocated for accountability, suggesting an annual “name and shame” list to hold entities accountable for their environmental actions, advocating for a proactive approach to conservation and green initiatives. He added that ‘ we need to conserve, restore and implement nature-based solutions’, asserting that proactive measures are more cost-effective than reactive remedies.

The panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Peter Apell from JGI, included panelists Dr. Panta Kasoma (NatureUganda), Dr. Grace Byamukama ( ED – JGI), Ivan Amanigaruhanga (ED-UBF) and Dr. Francis Ogwal (NEMA). Dr. Byamukama emphasized the responsibility owed to future generations, urging the empowerment of youth in environmental conservation. Ivan Amanigaruhanga stressed the need for youth involvement and the translation of verbal commitments into demonstrable actions, remarking the decline in conservation funding.

Dr. Panta Kasoma highlighted the critical role of the private sector in environmental issues, calling for a more demanding society to drive governmental action. In his closing remarks, he thanked the participants and partners for their support, echoing that talking alone is insufficient and immediate action is necessary. Dr. Apell concluded by reminding everyone that each individual has a role to play in this collective effort of safeguarding the environment.

The event attracted a diverse audience, including members of NatureUganda, the conservation community, academic institutions, students, media houses, and government institutions. This hybrid discussion allowed participants to engage both physically and online, ensuring wide accessibility and participation.

The dialogue raised awareness about the crisis of land and ecosystem degradation and the urgent need for climate resilience. It served as a catalyst for mobilizing efforts towards environmental restoration and inspired the community to take action towards environmental restoration, setting a proactive tone for diverse stakeholders towards a common goal of environmental sustainability and well-being for present and future generations.

Click here for the Keynote Speaker’s Presentation (PDF)