KAMPALA – As part of their activities to mark the International Day of Forests 2022, Uganda Breweries Limited – UBL has renewed commitment and goals towards restoring the country’s lost forest cover under the Running Out of Trees (ROOTs) campaign.
The commitment was made by UBL Corporate Relations Director, Juliana Kagwa during a panel discussion held at the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) International Research Centre (IREC) in Bugolobi.
The global theme for the International Day of Forests this year is “Forests and Sustainable Production and Consumption.”
“In collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) and other key stakeholders, we are proud to announce that we will be part of the celebrations to mark the Uganda Water and Environment Week (UWEWK) that started on 20th March and will run till 26th.”
This discussion, held on Monday 21st to mark the International Day of Forests (IDF) also launched the 3rd edition of the ROOTs Campaign, an initiative which targets to plant 40 million trees countrywide by 2025.
Ms. Kagwa says UBL has a long-standing commitment to minimize environmental impact across operations, supply chain and supporting carbon offsetting initiatives like tree planting.
“Being part of the ROOTs campaign makes us very proud and re-affirms our environmental sustainability commitments. We are a business that appreciates that our success is inextricably linked with the health of the planet and society. And this is well detailed in our Society 2030: Spirit of progress sustainability action plan that guides us on contributing to a more sustainable and inclusive Uganda.”
The panel discussion intended to promote partnerships and inter-sectoral collaboration in forest resource management and development. It also highlighted the value of forest resources and their contribution to socio- economic transformation of Uganda. Panelists also deliberated on the role of forest resources in maintaining security, sustainable urban growth and improved livelihoods as well as raising awareness about the ROOTs campaign and mobilizing members of private sector and public at large to participate in the campaign.
“We understand how crucial partnerships are in increasing the scale and impact of programmes. We were very glad to rally and team up with our fellow private sector organisations to join hands with the government to generate an integrated solution to improve tree cover in Uganda. The ever-deepening ties between the private sector, government, NGOs, academia and other stakeholders continue to provide a powerful source of innovation and implementation, giving us the best chance to tackle Uganda’s environmental sustainability challenges,” Kagwa added.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Water and Environment, Alfred Okot Okidi said the Government of Uganda is currently the biggest consumer of forest products in the country through constructions and furnishings. The government has therefore revised the regulations to only procure and legally source good products to improve markets and prices for genuine products thereby improving motivation to replant harvested forest plantations.
When the United Nations (UN) General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests (IDF) in 2012, the idea was to provide a platform to raise awareness about the importance of all types of woodlands and trees, and to celebrate the ways in which they sustain and protect humankind.
In Uganda, an average of 122,000 hectares of mostly indigenous species tree cover on private land is lost annually. In as much as 60% of the deforestation in the country is occurring on private land, forest cover generally has declined from 4.9 million ha (24%) in 1990 to 2.5 million ha (12.4%) as per the recent forest inventory which was done by the National Forestry Authority (NFA) in 2019. According to the NFA, Uganda may not have readily available timber for use by 2030 and other forest ecosystem services will not be readily available if we continue at this rate.
It is for this reason that Uganda Breweries partnered with the Ministry of Water and Environment in 2020 to launch a National Tree Planting Campaign dubbed ROOTs. The campaign is intended to bring on board local stakeholders from the private sector in attaining national restoration goals. It is also intended to rally Ugandans into action through increased public awareness and participation in tree planting, conservation and protection of indigenous tree species to address the ongoing loss of the Forest cover.