AWF Partners with Ugandan Environmental Agencies to Mark International Day for Biological Diversity

AWF Partners with Ugandan Environmental Agencies to Mark International Day for Biological Diversity

Press Release

AWF Partners with Ugandan Environmental Agencies to Mark International Day for Biological Diversity

General Inquiries

africanwildlife@awf.org

Tel:+254 711 063 000

Ngong Road, Karen, P.O. Box 310
00502 Nairobi, Kenya

African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) in partnership with National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Uganda Biodiversity Fund, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), National Forestry Authority (NFA), Nature Uganda, WWF, Wildlife Conservation Society, and other partners commemorated the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 21, 2021.

The International Day for Biological Diversity is an opportunity for governments, partners, and stakeholders to showcase major achievements in conservation, management, and strategic intervention on biodiversity. It is a day to raise awareness about the importance of biodiversity and its associated ecosystem services.

Uganda ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on September 8, 1993. The Convention entered into force on December 29, 1993. To date, 196 countries are Parties to the CBD making it one of the Conventions with the biggest number of Parties. In December 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted May 22 as the International Day for Biological Diversity to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on May 22, 1992, in Nairobi, Kenya.

This year the International Day for Biological Diversity is being commemorated under the theme 'Restoring Nature Together.' The partnership between AWF and Ugandan environmental agencies on May 21, 2021 is in response to the trend of environmental degradation in Uganda that has been manifested through loss of forest cover, reclamation and degradation of wetlands, air and water pollution, all of which have led to biodiversity and species loss among other negative effects.

The choice of the national theme for International Day for Biological Diversity 2021 is meant to mobilize all Ugandans to take concrete and sustainable actions to restore the environment with a major focus on forests, wetlands, and endangered and threatened species of wild plants (flora) and wild animals (fauna).

NEMA Executive Director, Dr. Tom Okurut noted that the UN declared 2021 -2030 as the Decade for Ecosystem Restoration. “Our national theme is timely and NEMA calls upon all stakeholders to design and implement sustainable biodiversity conservation and ecosystem restoration programs to raise awareness about the importance of biodiversity and the associated ecosystem services provided,” Dr. Okurut remarked.

Juliet Kyokunda, Executive Director of Uganda Biodiversity Fund, stated that these actions not only show the commitment of the different sectors, but also prove that change can be realized by everyone playing an active role. “We derive our livelihood from nature and therefore we must put back what we take out because if we don’t take care of nature, nature won’t take care of us,” Kyokunda said.

AWF Country Director for Uganda Sudi Bamulesewa remarked that the organization is working with all stakeholders to ensure that ecosystem protection is prioritized and that resources are channeled towards conserving biodiversity. “The effort to save biodiversity rests with us all. We need active participation from government institutions, private sector, civil society organizations, communities, and landowners,” said Bamulesewa.

The national celebrations were marked with a number of activities including a breakfast meeting where the private sector engaged on how best to conserve biodiversity; a restoration exercise at Nakindiba Central Forest Reserve; television talk shows and the production and distribution of Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials.