3 October 2009

Uganda: Fighting Global Warming - a First for the Country

Kampala — PRESIDENT Barack Obama's media blitz on US healthcare reform has prompted charges that he is risking overexposure, but the very public offensive could be a perfect prescription for his top domestic priority.

UGANDA has become the first country in Africa to undertake a reforestation project that will help reduce global warming under Kyoto Protocol.

Global warming is caused by waste gases such as carbondioxide referred to as Green House Gases, which form a 'blanket' around the earth and is responsible for trapping heat escaping from the earth. This leads to climate change that interrupts weather patterns causing floods and droughts.

The Kyoto protocol agreed upon a decade ago under the UN framework provides for planting of trees to absorb the dirty emissions from the atmosphere.

According to a press statement from the World Bank, the Nile Basin reforestation in Uganda is a ground-breaking project being implemented by Uganda's National Forestry Authority (NFA) in association with local community organisation. The growing trees absorb carbon-dioxide from the atmosphere in exchange for revenues from the World Bank (Bio-Carbon Fund) for NFA and communities.

"This is a milestone for Uganda, especially considering the difficulty associated with bringing reforestation projects to this stage of approval. Iam happy that apart from providing physical financial resources, the project will also generate up to 700 jobs for the local population," said Kundhavi Kadiresan, World Bank Country Manager for Uganda.

The Ugandan project is the first of several projects worldwide that are in the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism pipeline for registration, which can lead to strong eco-benefits, including higher income for local communities and greater climate resilience," says Ellysar Baroudy, Fund Manager for the BioCarbon Fund of the Carbon Finance Unit of the World Bank.

Under the project a plantation of pine and mixed native tree species in Rwoho Central forest reserve, grasslands that were degraded due to deforestation and erosion is being established. This project is an example of sustainable forest management in a country with a few thousand hectares left of timber plantations. It is the first of five small scale projects developed through the Clean Developed Mechanism where each will be registered separately.

"This pilot project has equipped NFA with skills and contacts required to develop more carbon forestry projects in Uganda. Also, the project demonstrates that small scale farmers can benefit from the international carbon market," observes Damian Akankwasa, the executive director of NFA.

As governments meet in Bangkok to discuss the post Kyoto protocol and the run up to the Copenhagen summit of climate change negotiators in December, forestry is a significant part of the agenda.

Until now, only reforestation and afforestation have been part of the Clean Development Mechanism, streaming revenues to developing countries.

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