Uganda

Gaster K. Kiyingi : Chairman of Uganda Forestry Working Group

Gaster K. Kiyingi : Chairman of Uganda Forestry Working Group

 

What makes you proud to be Ugandan?
Uganda in my home. East or West, North or West, home is the best. Apart from that Uganda is gifted by nature, small country with close to the highest concentration of biodiversity all over the world. There are varieties of animals (domestic and wild) and varieties of plants and how God designed Uganda’s landscape is in such a way that each species has a place to stay. Weather and climate are the best…….
What sets Uganda apart from other countries, what makes it special?
Until recently, Uganda has been a reference point for good practices in management of natural resources. There have been transparent approaches in the management of forests but all of a sudden, this is changing. Uganda has been stormed by a wave of corruption and complacency that are now a cancer to the very core of the forest resources in the country.
Referred to as Pearl of Africa by Winston Churchill, substantiate the statement
As I said earlier, Uganda is gifted by nature. There are 506 gazetted central forest reserves and over 10 protected areas for wildlife conservation. Uganda is one of the African countries that produces food without irrigation, without use of fertilisers, enough for domestic consumption but also for export to neighbouring countries. It has minerals and of recent oil and gas explorations have proved existence of oil and gas in the Albertine Graben.
For anyone who wants to visit Uganda, which places are a must to visit and why?
BwindiIf in Uganda, do not miss to go to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park as destination. There you will see primates that are close to human beings in terms looks, genetics, behaviour and social life. I am talking about Gorillas and of course Chimpanzees, Baboons and Monkeys living in a forest that is considered “impenetrable”. The trails in there have a cathedral look; one is not able to see the sky from inside the forest.bwindi2
As you go to Bwindi, you will definitely go through Queen Elizabeth National Park – a savannah grassland ecosystem with various flora and fauna. Here you will see the tree climbing lions, buffalos, giraffes, elephants and the lower grassland brigades.
Tell me about distinctive Ugandan meals that you think I will beg for?
matokeMatooke!!!! (Green bananas). Normally served with a variety of vegetables and groundnuts source. It can also be served with beef stew, chicken stew, fish among others. It is more for people in central and southern Uganda
Kalo (millet bread), again served with a variety of pasted vegetables alongside beef stew, chicken stew, fish among others.
Ugandan meals are salty as opposed to “hot” common among West African foods.
It is rare to serve food with a beer in Uganda as many people are religious in the open.
Environment and sustainability are the buzz words these days, what is the situation like in Uganda?
Uganda is trying out a number of things today such as improving forest tenure and governance for community forests. We are developing national level indicators for forest certification (though a voluntary thing). We are trying out mechanisms for improving forest law enforcement governance and trade. Most importantly, as a country, we are fighting to restore the rule of law which is the basis for all environment and sustainability issues in the country
What are the major challenges and what is your organisation doing about it?
As I always say, communication is the oxygen for improving forest management. We are not communicating enough. We have to communicate, communicate, communicate, even when there is nothing to communicate about – simply to improve the way we do things. We are into advocacy for improved communication.
World Forests Congress, what is the situation in Uganda?
World Forestry Congress is like the Olympics. The winner of the football much in the Olympics is not crowned the world title. BUT, the results help him to position himself/herself to achieve the very best. I think, there are going to be lessons for Uganda and Uganda government officials are here to listen in.

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