By Our Reporter
KAMPALA, SHIFTMEDIA- A virtual High Level Dialogue on Management of Fragile Ecosystems in the Rangelands has kicked off in Kampala, Uganda.
The dialogue hosted by the Food Rights Alliance Uganda (FRA) is geared towards promoting people centred land governance through policy and practice change in adherence to Uganda’s Vision 2040.
Speaking at the opening of the event, FRA National Coordinator Agnes Kirabo said: “The importance will not be the three hours of the dialogue (10am-1.pm) but on the recommendations after this debate.”
Kirabo said the NES high level dialogue on management of fragile ecosystems in the rangelands is necessary to protect pastoralists who are key in sustaining the economy.
The Theme: “Tapping into the enormous potential of the rangelands to contribute to the national development agenda.”
Food Rights Alliance is a consortium of over 40 members working together to collectively address issues that affect the realization of the right to adequate food at policy and practice level. This is in line with FRA’s vision of a world free from hunger and malnutrition. The promotion of the realization of the right to food is being done through advocacy, knowledge management and capacity development.
Background to the dialogue formation
In 2018, the Alliance was selected as the thematic lead organization of the Natural Resource Management group under the National Engagement Strategy (NES) of the International Land Coalition (ILC). NES activities in Uganda are being coordinated by LEMU who succeeded LANDnet from 2020. The NES also has a Committee chaired by UCOBAC and FRA being one of the qualified thematic group leads is a member of this Committee.
In line with ILC commitment of locally managed eco systems and strong and small scale farming systems, FRA in collaboration with other NES partners will conduct a number of activities from February to December 2021 with special focus on management of fragile ecosystems in the rangelands.
Addressing the zoom meeting, Agnes Kirabo noted that Uganda’s rangelands cover 51% of the country’s total land area containing a population of 7 million.
“Rangeland pastures and water resources support numerous pastoralists who own 80% of the national livestock herd including 90% of the cattle population. The region is the source of 85% of the milk and 95% of the meat consumed,” said Kirabo.
She noted that Rangelands also support wildlife, woodlands, medicinal plants, minerals, scenic landscapes, mining, tourism, brick making, bee keeping, and wood gathering for charcoal and firewood production.
“Thus, rangelands significantly contribute to the national economy and managing them sustainably is one of the resilience measures to support the production systems in those communities,” she said.
She observed that despite the socio-economic and political recognition of the contribution made by rangelands in Uganda, degradation of rangeland resources remains a big challenge.
Rangelands are regarded as the second most fragile ecosystems in Uganda after highlands despite the fact that they largely support the livestock sub-sector which contributes about 8% of the country’s GDP2.
Panelists on board
Key presenters include Dr. Dennis Mpairwe from the Department of Agricultural Production, Makerere University, Ms Lucy Iyango the Assistant Commissioner, Department of Wetlands in the Ministry of Water and Environment, as well as Dr. Anthony Egeru, the Key note speaker from the Department of Environmental Management, Makerere Univerisity.
NB Those interested in attending the zoom meeting (https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIpceuvpj0uGt3ZTcHzlzO70vAPUN5_wb3V