Government has committed to prioritize issues affecting Water and Environment services in the country as part of the measures to curb climate change.
This was revealed by the 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Affairs, Rebecca Kadaga while officiating at the closing ceremony of the 5th edition of the water week held at the ministry of Water and Environment.
Kadaga noted that water and environment resources are connectors and catalysts, and are a key resource in the socio- economic development process either as primary or secondary input. Adding, Water and environment resources are key for peace and stability at the local, national and international levels.
She however noted that Uganda has over the last few years been facing challenges related to COVID-19, climate change and environmental degradation.
“The loss of forests and wetlands through massive use of biomass fuel for cooking/combustion combined with other drivers which include but not limited to expansion of agricultural land, rapid urbanization, have put a lot of pressure on water and environment resources. Thus, the conservation of water and environment resources needs urgent attention and the interventions should aim at creating incomes and assets for the people as well as provision of education to communities,” Kadaga said.
However, she revealed that government has in response to the current environment challenges the country is faced with, developed a 10 year environment restoration plan which is aimed at ensuring that the environment is restored to its former glory.
“I request you all Ugandans to support implementation of this plan once approved by Cabinet,” she said.
Kadaga noted that safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene are pillars of human health and well-being.
Speaking at the same event, the state minister for environment, Beatrice Anywar noted that Its time to sustainably develop and manage water and environment resources for the benefit of all Ugandans, now and in future.
Anywar said that financing for water and environment programs is still very low compared to the needs. Adding, the sector needs up to nine times its current allocation if the country is to achieve its , and deliver the required services to Ugandans.
She requested Kadaga, to help and lobby for more resources from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and other sources.
“Specifically, we request that we be allowed to retain at least a 50% of the environment levy collected at source in order to strengthen the resilience and environment protection including activities such as hiring environment enforcement officers,” she said.
Anywar further called for incentivizing the private sector, so that they can be attracted to invest in water and environment beyond the corporate social responsibility through innovative financing.
The closure of the water week under the theme “Water and Environment for Peace and Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation of Uganda”, had quit a number of activities like, a panel of discussants on water and environment, exhibitions, giving out of awards to best performers and an exhibition just to mention a few.