What the World Wetland Day celebrations would focus on in Uganda

Boats gently carry passengers through the serene swamps of Uganda, where the delicate dance between humanity and nature unfolds. These waters, once a source of sustenance and tranquility for grassroots communities, now stand at the crossroads of preservation and peril.

Summary:

  • In a world where the delicate balance between nature and human prosperity is under threat, World Environment Day on February 2, 2024, resonates with a poignant theme: ‘Wetlands and Human Wellbeing.’ This day, however, serves as a stark reminder of the global toll on wetlands, with over 90% succumbing to degradation in the past six decades due to human activities.

The world celebrated World Environment Day on February 2, 2024, under the theme ‘Wetlands and Human Wellbeing.’ Globally, human activities are contributing to wetlands degradation, with over 90% over the past six decades. Wetlands provide significant ecosystem services, such as the habitat of the world’s species, food, water provisioning, protecting the surroundings from floods, and combating climate change.

The grassroots women in the oil and gas regions sustain their livelihoods based on the above. Yet, the government continues to approve disastrous oil and gas projects, such as the Tilenga project in the Buliisa Ramsar. Ongoing activities include oil well pads, flow lines, and horizontal diagonal drilling construction works, along with agriculture support through farming. This is the worst the government could provide to the communities, especially in areas like Buliisa district with the worst climatic conditions. This extends to similar projects like EACOP, where several sensitive ecosystems will be affected by the oil and gas project.

The women are urging different environmental stakeholders to focus on models that promote the conservation of natural resources, enabling coexistence with communities, wildlife, and developments. They also advocate for adopting strategies to communicate, understand, and collaborate on diverse disciplines and traditions to find lasting solutions to environmental problems caused by ongoing fossil fuel projects in the Albertine and along the EACOP Corridor. Environmental challenges might be limitless, but resources used to meet these challenges are limited; therefore, conservationists, financiers, and the government must prioritize environmental and people’s demands for the world to celebrate wetlands and human wellbeing.

The writer is the Advocacy and Natural Resources lead at Women on Environment Mission Uganda

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