Ugandans urged to sustainably manage environment

Ugandans have been urged to reaffirm their commitment to sustainable utilization and management of environmental and natural resources.

The call was made on Sunday by Minister of Water, Lands and Environment Kahinda Otafire on the World Environment Day which falls on June 5, 2005.

"The global theme this year is 'Green Cities: Plan for the Planet.' Under this theme, we are all called upon to rethink the manner in which we plan and manage the environment in our urban areas," the minister said.

However, Otafire said "as a nation, we have gone an extra mile to choose an appropriate relevant national theme -- 'Planned Land Use: Our Wealth, Our Future' -- to complement the global theme, because as an agro-based economy, the area of soil and land resource planning, utilization and management is where we are most deficient."

He said compared to many other countries in the world, Uganda would be in an enviable position because over 75 percent or land is arable and fertile, and less than 50 percent of this is under cultivation.

He pointed out that "even as we endeavor to transform ours into an industrial economy, we must recognize that in the interim period when we still depend on agriculture as our main income earner, we must of necessity utilize our land wisely and manage it sustainably."

"Government has done a lot in this direction by establishing a policy, legal and institutional framework for regulation of land use and soil conservation," he said, adding "a national land use policy has been formulated, the land act and other laws which promote land and soil conservation, like the national forestry and tree planting act, the cattle grazing act, the water act, the wildlife act, et cetera have been enacted and are under implementation."

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