KAMPALA —The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) together with sector actors and other stakeholders is involved in a week-long event that provides an interface for knowledge exchange and dialogue on pertinent water and environment resources.
The event running from 20th to 25th March 2022 at the Ministry of Water and Environment auditorium in Luzira, is organized under the theme: “Water and Environment for Peace and Sustainable Socio – Economic Transformation.”
Speaking on behalf of UPDF, the Defence Spokesperson Brig Gen Felix Kulayigye highlighted the importance of jointly addressing measures aimed at the protection of water and environmental resources to avoid conflict or war.
He said the existence of conflict as communities fight for water and environmental resources, leads to instability, and retards development.
“If you want peace, prepare for war since there maybe some resistance as you enforce environment protection measures,” said the Defence Spokesperson.
Brig Gen Kulayigye said the UPDF is already engaged in activities aimed at promoting the environment through its National Enterprise Corporation.
He urged stakeholders at the dialogue to participate in defence cooperation, support capacity building mechanisms for the forces through training, and enable processes aimed at the acquisition of modern equipment for the army to fight environment encroachers.
Mr. Paul Onapa, who represented the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Gender, Labour and social Development Mr. Aggrey Kibenge, called for the expansion of opportunities to reduce man’s negative activities on the environment. He said the provision of alternative sources of income generation like fish farming, apiary, poultry and piggery, among others; can divert communities from encroaching on swamps.
The Executive Chairman Kiira Motors, Professor Sandy Stevens Tickohori Togbao, noted that future wars could stem from the competition to utilize particular water and environment resources, giving the example of the need to properly manage the Nile River to avoid conflict between countries where it passes.
Ms Jane Sembuche from Water Aid Uganda, noted that availability of water leads to economic stability as communities that were initially trekking long distances in search for water for domestic use or animal consumption now engage in more income generating activities.
Earlier, on 20th March 2022, the Vice President of Uganda Her Excellence Maj (Rtd) Jessica Alupo noted that government is committed to having safe water per village and pledged to support all efforts to save the environment.
Conservationists say plastic waste in lakes, rivers, wetlands and other water bodies is now a global issue that cannot be ignored because it is pausing a major challenge to the aquatic creatures.
Mr David Duli, the country director World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) at recent event said the dangers of deadly plastics are worthy highlighting calling on Government to put in place and enforce policies, legislations and regulations that manage environmental and social impacts of oil extraction developments urging that revenues from oil extraction and exports should be used to invest in green infra-structure such as Renwewable Energy projects.
With a population of about 45 million people, Uganda’s total Renewable Energy potential is estimated over 6,500MW and only 20.4% (? 820MW) is utilized in form of electricity . Uganda approved its NDC in 2016 with a target of 22% GHG emission reduction by 2030, as a commitment to climate change mitigation and alignment to 1.5oC pathway. One of its mitigation measures is to increase access to Renewable Energy – targeting 3,200MW electricity generation capacity 2 and 98% RE electricity access by 2030, as highlighted in Uganda’s NDC and SE4ALL Initiative Action Agenda3 , respectively.
Setting the country on a 100% RE trajectory can accelerate those efforts and also support implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. However, it requires a series of policies and measures for effective implementation and engagements such as these are very timely.