29 October 2012

East Africa: Climate Change Puts Tourism Under Threat

Entebbe, Uganda — Earnings from tourism and the agriculture sector are expected to decline if East African Community states do not come up with strong measures to mitigate climate change.

Speaking during the Climatic Change Leadership Training for youth leaders from Civil Society Organizations across Africa which was held at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre in Entebbe, the Executive Director of Uganda Wildlife Education Centre Mr. James Musinguzi noted that due to climate changes many animals are expected to migrate from national parks to isolated places.

He added other animals may die due to hash climate or starvation

"Climate change is a big threat to the tourism sector because some of our animals depend on nature like vegetation glass and forests for their survival.

"But the rate at which vegetation is disappearing in the country is alarming trees have been cut down for burning charcoal as source of energy so governments should intervene by providing renewable energy sources so as forests are protected, " said Musinguzi.

Musinguzi stressed if the local communities have access to cheap power this will reduce the pressure on forests that have been cut down for charcoal burning. Other species like snakes, birds have been scared away from their natural habitations.

"When such nature is destroyed, the country will remain with no creatures to attract tourists" he explained.

Although government is responsible for mitigating climate change, Musinguzi challenged local communities to embrace the culture of agro- forestry saying it will help farmers to earn a living as well as the trees acting as carbon resistors.

Felix Cherulyot the program officer at Kizazi Kipya Initiative, a Kenyan based Non government organization told East African Business Week that in order for climatic change to be mitigated in the EAC, member states should implement the East African Community Policy on climatic change.

He added if its implemented then the whole community will be in position to mitigate the effects of climatic change

" What is lacking in the community is the political will to embrace policies and advanced technologies solutions that can help in mitigating climate change simple technologies like how to generate power from Agriculture wastes products like cow dug, producing biogas should be imparted to the local communities such that our forests are protected," said Cherulyot, adding in Kenya the greatest number of people are not connected to the national grid that is why selling charcoal is booming business. The aim of the EAC climatic change Policy is to address the adverse impacts of climate change in the region, in response to the growing concern of the increasing threats of climate change to national and regional development targets.

The Policy is consistent with the fundamental principles of the Treaty establishing EAC and principles of international environmental law according to the EAC Protocol on Environment and Natural Resources, the Protocol on Sustainable Development of Lake Victoria Basin and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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