Wetlands Management Department
Wetlands Management Department (WMD) is mandated to manage wetland resources and its goal is to sustain the biophysical and socio-economic values of the wetlands in Uganda for present and future generations. According to the wetland mapping exercise of 2008, wetland resources were noted to have reduced from 15% in 1994 to 10.9% of Uganda's area. Wetlands are a source of livelihood to the majority of Ugandans and hence directly contribute to National Development plan, vision 2040 and attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. However, wetlands are under a lot of pressure from conversion for industrial development, settlements, agriculture, sand and clay mining. Most of these degrading activities are perceived to be of greater importance than wetland conservation itself.
(i) The Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) through the National Wetlands Management Project commenced demarcation of critical wetlands soon after the 2011 elections and so far the following has been done to ensure that the integrity of the wetland ecosystem is regained and maintained:
A total of 443.4 km wetland boundaries have been demarcated in 16 districts including Kampala, Jinja, Mbale, Gulu, Lira, Masaka, Bushenyi, Isingiro, Rakai, Kaliro, Bulambuli, Masindi, Arua, Mukono, Iganga and Wakiso districts. These are critical wetlands which serve as sources of the Municipal/Town council water systems and also as sink for waste water and sewage from the urban centres. Plans are underway to demarcate more 150km in Dokolo, Hoima, Kisoro, Pallisa, Wakiso, and Luwero districts in FY 2014/15 and complete the gazettement of the wetlands for legal recognition. The demarcation has cleared claims of lack of knowledge on the wetland boundaries and enhancing enforcement interventions.
- A total of 689.2ha of degraded wetland sections restored in Kampala, Jinja, Mbale, Gulu, Lira, Masaka, Bushenyi, Isingiro, Rakai, Kaliro, Bulambuli, Masindi, Arua, Mukono, Iganga, and Wakiso districts. The restoration is aimed at securing and maintaining their hydrological, ecological and biodiversity integrity. This is contributing to increased catchment water discharge volume and thus enhancing and sustaining of Hydro Electric Power; water for production; Agriculture production; Tourism development, Construction potentials. In FY 2014/15 activities are on-going to restore more 120Ha of degraded sections of 06 wetlands in Pallisa, Dokolo, Hoima, Kisoro, Wakiso, and Luwero.
- An overall cumulative total of 05 Framework management plans for critical wetlands systems prepared in selected districts country wide. These are wetlands that are trans-boundary and therefore cannot be managed by only one District Local Government (DLG). The Management plans are used by the stakeholders in rationalizing the use of resource equitably among the stakeholders and helping in the effective management of trans-boundary wetlands in which the DLGs are allowed to federate under one institutional arrangement. This is helping in fostering a sense of shared responsibilities, with broader views and common management strategies for livelihoods enhancements. Plans are being implemented to develop and implement more 10 community based wetland management plans in FY 2014/15.
(ii) At the District Local Government level, using the funding under the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) District Conditional Grants disbursed directly by Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) to districts on a quarterly basis, the following interventions have been conducted to ensure the integrity of wetlands in the respective Local Governments are secured and maintained. The following is the cumulative performance since FY 2011/2012 to 2014/15:-
- The area/length of wetland boundary demarcated by Local Governments (LGs) stands at 589.3Km in the districts of Bushenyi, Kamwenge, Isingiro, Rakai, Kasese, Kabarole, Otuke, Amuru, and Wakiso.
- Area of degraded section of wetland restored by LGs is 3813.7ha in the districts of Buhweju, Kasese, Sheema, Amuria, Mbarara, Kabarole, Mubende, Hoima, Kisoro, Bukedea, Rukungiri and Bushenyi districts.
- Community based Wetland Management Plans prepared and implemented by the LGs are 69 in the districts of Masindi, Hoima, Gulu, Kole, Apac, Kabarole, Kasese, Oyam, Yumbe, Moyo, Rubirizi, Ntungamo, Kisoro, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Tororo, Lira and Kumi. Wetland management plans are developed to optimize the equitable access to wetland resources for income generation to all the local communities. The plans were prepared in close collaboration with the communities to ensure that communities are a party and involved in the management of the ecosystems.
- District Wetland Action Plans (DWAPs) totaling 62 in number have been prepared by LGs and integrated into the District Development Plans (DDPs) in Lira , Mbale, Kumi, Bushenyi, Rukungiri, Oyam, Mabarara, Adjumani, Ntungamo, Mubende, Kabarole, Hoima, Moyo and Luwero. Work is ongoing to complete the remaining 49 in FY 2015/16. Action plans ensure district and sub-county priorities and budgets for sustainable utilization of the wetlands resources.
The National Forestry Authority (NFA) is conserving all natural forests primarily as water catchment areas. There is also promotion of tree planting on the catchment area with indigenous species through the National Community Tree Planting Project. A number of trainings were also conducted in Manafwa and Bududa districts on the importance of tree planting to reduce on environmental disasters like the drought, floods and landslides.