By Samuel Nabwiiso
KAMPALA, UGANDA – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the USAID/Uganda Biodiversity Program implemented by African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has donated a full set of road equipment’s worth USD 1,6 million to Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
The Roads Equipment is part of the USD 10 million supports to biodiversity conservation in Uganda by US Government through a 4-year Biodiversity Program. Handing over the Equipment to Uganda Wild life Authority Shawna Hirsch Environment Unit Leader US Agency for International Development said Tourism plays vital role in the country’s Economy but the challenge the sector is faced with many challenges ranging from poachers and poor Infrastructures which hinders the monitoring of the national parks by UWA.
“Through the USAID /Uganda Biodiversity program the American Government through its development arm is committed to support the capacity Building of UWA and other government conservation agencies to manage biodiversity better that is when the government will earn more from bio diversity conservation that is why we have procured these machines to support UWA ” she explained.
The road construction and maintenance equipment includes a grader, a bulldozer, an excavator, a vibro roller, 2 tippers and 1 low bed transporter will help UWA to open and maintain more roads within protected areas to enable easier ecological monitoring and patrols and also in addressing illegal activities especially in Kidepo Valley and Murchison Falls National Parks to areas where poaching still remains a threat.
Receiving the Equipment’s on behalf of Government, the permanent secretary Ministry of Tourism Wild life and Antiquities Ambassador Patrick Mugoya who represented the Minister Maria Mutagamba said equipment will greatly improve the tourism infrastructure in the protected areas and neighbouring communities by opening up access roads, tracks used in tourism activities, patrols, monitoring and other services, which will contribute to the desired healthy eco systems. “This support from our historical partners in the US, is in line with the government strategic plans of prioritizing tourism roads and the entire sector as one of the key engines of economic growth “he said.
Recently Uganda Cabinet approved the Uganda Wildlife Policy 2014 in April last year. Its vision is to sustainably manage and develop wildlife resources and healthy ecosystems in a transformed Uganda.
For these eco systems to remain healthy, interventions have to be made in the right direction in improving access, monitoring thus the regular maintenance of access tracks and roads requires enormous resources such as what has been provided by our development partners.
Tourism sector in Uganda is considered as one of the engine to drive Uganda to achieve its National development vision 2040 and the National Development Plan. To see that government achieves its goals, the Ministry of Tourism developed the Tourism master Plan 2014-2024 and the Sector Development Plan 2015-2019. These are the cornerstone for biodiversity Tourism development conservation efforts in Uganda and will guide among others, the realization of the Wildlife Policy objectives.
Commenting on the donation UWA Executive director Dr Andrew Sseguya said the machines will help UWA in modernizing its protected areas in the country since most of the National parks have been facing challenges of improved Infrastructures. but with the donation of the Equipment the conservation agency will embark on improving the roads network in the parks.
According to the Sam Mwandha the senior program officer at the AWF the machines donated to UWA are of high technology and its fuel consumption is economically good compare to other roads equipment machines on the market.