The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 21 –as the International Day of Forests – IDF in 2012. The event commemorates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests.
On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake efforts in organising activities involving tree planting campaigns.
Partners like the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations – FOA; European Union; and Swedish Embassy; as well as the Ugandan government are keen on the restoration of the environment.
On Thursday – March 18, the UN agencies and sister partners organised a high-level dialogue to commemorate the international Day of Forests under the theme; ‘Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being.’
The function held at the Kampala Serena Hotel, attracted several academia, civil society organs, youth groups, private sector, tree farmers, policy makers and politicians – including Beatrice Anywar Atim – the State Minister in Charge of Environment.
Minister Anywar in her opening remarks revealed that government was committed to ‘growing 40 million trees’ annually as one of the avenues to conserve the environment.
“This business of charcoal is becoming a big challenge. We need to seek an alternative source of energy – as a government, we need to sensitise the community – the financing should be empowered so that our environmental officers work on a reasonable budget at the district level so that they don’t prey – that’s how there has been so many calls to de-gazatte forests,” she said.
According to a study, Ugandan forests have been reduced from 5 Million to 1,9 million hectares in the last two decades, corresponding to a countrywide coverage of nine percent.
However, eight million hectares are ready to be reforested according to a study of the International Union for Conservation in 2016.
In East Africa, Uganda has the best conditions for reforestation – climate, rainfall, and soils are extraordinarily suitable.