29 March 2003

Uganda Hailed On Wetlands

Kampala — UGANDA has been hailed for providing safe water and conserving wetlands at the third World Water Forum in Kyoto, Japan, reports Gerald Tenywa.

Speaking at the forum organised by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Conservation Union, environment minister Ruhakana Rugunda said the restoration of nature was an important foundation for development.

He said policies, strategies and programmes were crucial in the drive to harness nature and safeguard it from destruction.

The country's strategy of involving grassroot communities in decision-making has become a model for most African countries, which depend on donor support to access water for rural communities.

Rugunda said the communities had been empowered to participate in planning and making informed decisions on the utilisation of nature.

He said the Government devotes money from the poverty action fund to the wetlands inspection division, the lead agency on wetlands conservation.

"The strategy of linking environmental conservation and poverty eradication has worked well for Uganda," he said.

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