WWF gets Shs 6bn for conservation
The World Wide Fund for nature [WWF] has received Euros 2.1m [about Shs 6.3bn] from the European Union [EU] and the French Global Environment Facility [FGEF] to implement the ‘Sustainable Financing of the Rwenzori Mountains National Park project’ in the Rwenzori landscape.
The money will be spent in the districts of Kasese, Ntoroko, Bundibugyo and Kabarole. The co-financing project aims to achieve effective conservation of the Rwenzori Mountains national park through the development of a sustainable financing mechanism that realizes the potential value of the natural resources with involvement of the private sector, according to a press statement.
One of the goals of the project is to improve the incomes of the poor populations around the areas, according to WWF.
“Mountain Rwenzori is a potential gold mine for Uganda. A gold mine which does not need extractive infrastructure, scores of miners and conflicts for land property. It only needs enthusiastic people and a good park management, a few lodges and the proper marketing to begin with. The rest will be provided through self-generated resources, which makes a difference with a normal gold mine,” said Kristian Schmidt, the head of delegation of the European Union to Uganda.
Schmidt said the increase in crime against the natural resources has negatively impacted the country’s potential to generate revenue from such natural resources. During the FY2013/2014, tourism fetched more than seven per cent [about Shs 5.5 trillion] of the country’s GDP.
However, the high population growth rate has left the sector grappling with high wildlife crime rates, most of which are related to poaching and encroachment.
The project will cost Euros 2,109,427, funded by the European Union (Euros 1,359,427) and French Global Environment Facility with Euros 700,000. A financial contribution from private partners (Euros 50,000) is also expected. The project implementation period will be three and half years.
The project targets the private sector in promoting sustainable funding instruments such as payments for ecosystem services and ecotourism for biodiversity conservation, and generating additional income for both the Rwenzori Mountain national park and the local communities, while reducing pressure on natural resources.
David Duli, the country director of WWF, said the project on Payment for Ecosystem Services [PES] would be sustained by a process of consultation and adaptation of the regulatory framework for PES, under the direction of the National Environment Management Authority.
He added that this component would allow a review of the existing legal and fiscal arrangements, the sensitization of policymakers and the drafting of provisions promoting PES in the environment.
The project will empower poor people with knowledge and skills, and further enable them to make informed decisions. They will also be able to access financial assets such as savings, and access to credit through linkages and partnerships with the private sector, according to project plan.