COP26: Uganda Pledges to End Deforestation by 2030

Glasglow | RedPepper Digital – More than 100 world leaders, on Tuesday, signed and promised to put an end and reverse deforestation by 2030 which is the COP26 Climate summit’s main goal.

On Wednesday, Uganda joins the over 120 countries by signing the Glasgow leaders’ declaration on Forests and land use at the Climate Change Conference (COP26) collectively aiming at reversing and halting forest loss and land degradation by 2030.

According to National Forestry Authority, Uganda for the past 25 years has lost 63 percent of its forest cover due to tree-cutting for firewood, timber and charcoal, as well as the growth of farms and towns.

The forestry cover has shrunk from 45% in 1890 to the present 20.3 % of the total land area in Uganda. Currently, the rate of deforestation is estimated to be about 1% per annum.

Over 25 African leaders have signed this pledge including Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and many more.

Uganda has been added to the list of countries promising to collectively tackle deforestation to reduce carbon emissions.

The pledge includes almost Euros 14bn ($19.2bn) of public and private funds.

Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister and the host of the COP summit said that more leaders than ever before-a total of 110 had made the landmark commitment.

“We have to stop the devastating loss of our forests’’, and end the role of humanity as nature’s conqueror, and instead become nature’s custodian’’, he said

Early this year, during the commemoration of International Forest Day, the Minister of State for Environment- Honorable Beatrice Anywar, noted that Uganda faces a great challenge in meeting its national and global commitments to protect and restore forests because the country has a high rate of deforestation.

“We have been losing about 122 000 hectares of forests each year and if we continue business as usual and if we don’t act, we shall not have any forests by 2030”, she said.

She noted that dealing with the problem of loss of forests and biodiversity requires innovative approaches, especially since the country has made ambitious commitments to restore its forest cover.

Cutting trees is a very common practice in Uganda, especially in the rural areas where charcoal burning is a huge success.

However much, the same has been extended to urban centres, with investors draining swamps for commercial use, not much has been done to avert the situation.

Felling trees contributes to Climate Change because it depletes forests that absorb big amounts of the carbon dioxide gas CO2 that leads to warming.

On Tuesday, 02, November, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni called for urgent measures to avert the climate change crisis the World is currently facing.

In a statement submitted to the ongoing World Leaders Summit during the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) on Climate Change in Glasgow, President Museveni highlighted the depletion of forests, wetlands as well as the role of big emitters of greenhouse gases among the factors exacerbating the problem.

US president Joe Biden while addressing world leaders at the summit said he was confident the global pledge could be met.

“All we need to do is summon the will and do what we know is right. We can do this,’’ he added

In the pledge, governments of 28 countries also committed to removing deforestation from the global trade of food and other agricultural products such as palm oil, soya and cocoa.

Prime Minister Boris urged world leaders to make the bold commitments needed to avoid a “doomsday” scenario that could become a reality in the near future unless urgent action is taken.

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