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Meager Resources Cripple District Environment Departments

Meager funds are allocated to the natural resources departments which are in-charge of forests, wetlands and rivers among others. The department also faces a problem of under-staffing. As a result, some of the environmental laws remain on paper and have never been enforced.

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Insufficient funding of environment activities by the district local governments in the Rwenzori region is rendering them ineffectual in the enforcement of environmental laws.

 

Meager funds are allocated to the natural resources departments which are in-charge of forests, wetlands and rivers among others. The department also faces a problem of under-staffing. As a result, some of the environmental laws remain on paper and have never been enforced.

The laws include the National Environment (wetlands, river banks and lakeshore) Management Regulation 2000, which calls for protection of wetlands, rivers and lakeshores; and the National Environment Forestry and Tree Planting Act 2003, which calls for conservation, sustainable management and development of forests.

In Kabarole district, the natural resource department is allocated Ugx 6.5 million each financial year. In Kichwamba, Busoro and Hakibale sub counties, forests have been depleted and wetlands encroached on

Godfrey Ruyonga, the natural resources coordinator, says that the money is shared by the environment and forest offices. According to Ruyonga, with the insufficient funds, the department can’t enforce the laws and carry out education and awareness campaigns to ensure protection of the environment.

He also says that the department generates revenue from land and forests worth Ugx 124 million, but the district remits only Ugx 800,000 to the department, which is inadequate.

//Cue in: “The funds are not enough…

Cue out…with a big percentage.”//

In Kyejonjo, Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts, several hectares of forest cover have been cleared and wetlands encroached on but the natural resources departments are also handicapped to stop such illegal activities. In Kyenjojo, the district council passed a bylaw aimed at stopping environmental degradation, but it has never been implemented.

The Kyenjojo district natural resource coordinator, Julius Bigabwa, says that the department is allocated Ugx 15 million every financial year, which is inadequate. He says that encroachment on natural resources has increased due to lack of enforcement.

//Cue in: “the forests…

Cue out: “…encroached on by residents.”//

According to the State of the Environment Report 2012, high population is exerting the most pressure on the environment, increasing degradation and inducing poverty. The report states that the government should demonstrate political will and strengthen the environmental regulatory frameworks and agencies to enforce their roles

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