KAMPALA — World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) – Uganda has donated a Toyota Landcruiser Vehicle to Uganda Wildlife Authority as one of the events marking the end a European Union (EU) and the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM) funded project “Sustainable Financing of the Rwenzori Mountains National Park”.
In 2015 Worldwide Fund-Uganda commenced implementation of this project in the Rwenzori region covering the districts of Kasese, Ntoroko, Bundibugyo and Kabarole.
The project was implemented in partnership with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), Uganda Tourism board (UTB), Directorate of Water Resources in Ministry of Water and Environment and District Local Governments.
The Vehicle was handed over at WWF – Uganda Country Office by the Country Director David Duli to the UWA Deputy Director for Field Operations Charles Tumwesigye in the presence of Chief Warden of Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area (QECA) and staff from WWF and QECA.
The vehicle will be used in monitoring the various projects that were implemented during the main project period.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park (RMNP), located in the South Western part of Uganda was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Ramsar Site in 1994 and 2009 respectively.
Rwenzori mountains (mountains of the moon) is a unique hiking tourist destination and global biodiversity hotspot with a variety of landscapes and species that provide essential ecosystem services such as carbon storage, forests and water catchments.
RMNP is a key resource safeguarding drinking water for approximately 2 million people and supplying water to a variety of industrial users.
The ecosystem services are however threatened by population pressure with 805,000 people living in the peripheral area leading to increase in erosion and eventual watershed degradation and sedimentation of the rivers.
The project was aimed at adoption and strengthening of sustainable financing mechanisms to ensure the long term financial stability of the RMNP, for the conservation of its ecosystem and biodiversity and hence increasing benefits to local communities.
In partnership with UWA the project establishment and opening a new 61KM Bukurungu Trail within Rwenzori Mountains National Park, construction of a suspension bridge at Rwigo River along the Bukurungu Trail, developing of a Marketing Strategy for the Rwenzori and supporting the development of the Brand Manual for Rwenzori Mountains National Park.
The project also helped in pioneering and supporting the development of payment for Ecosystem services framework for the Rwenzoris, supporting the construction of the Community Coffee House and other community projects for improving their livelihoods.