Budget considerations appear to restrict Ugandas delegation to the upcoming Rio Summit to around thirty only, inspite of the country being a biodiversity hotspot of global recognition and suffering already from climate change fall out, as the shrinking ice caps on the Rwenzori Mountains, aka Mountains of the Moon, amply demonstrates. Unlike neighbours Tanzania and Kenya, which will bring delegations of more than twice the size to the Rio+20 conference on environmental issues and climate change, Uganda will only have delegates from the ministry and NEMA, plus from the Uganda Tourist Board and the national organic agricultural body.
Though it is not clear, what the objectives of UTBs inclusion ultimately are, this not being a tourism conference or providing a wider marketing platform, there have been suggestions that UTB could learn a lot from how other countries approach sustainable tourism developments and then translate it into a revised action plan, jointly with NEMA, on the best way to protect the countrys threatened forests, wetlands, rivers and lakes but also the protected areas which are under constant threat of encroachment by pastoralists especially Semliki, Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo and Kidepo Valley national parks and by illegal settlers and loggers at Mt. Elgon, Rwenzori and Kibale national parks.
Let them take any chance they have to go out there and promote our Visit Uganda 2012 year, tell the world of our Golden Jubilee in October and of the countrys attractions as a bio diversity hotspot of global renown. We are waiting to see what budget finance is proposing for tourism for 2012/13. If we are shortchanged again government can prepare for tourism to react strongly this time, because you cannot give us a ministry and then starve it of money. They better come up with something better than ever before so that we can reach the 1 million tourist arrivals next year and then move to bigger targets. Of course, Rio may not be the best platform for tourism promotion but it is important for our tourism products, which are all nature based. So making progress there will help us to maybe find new mechanism to sustainably use our resources and can tap into funding to protect them as a global heritage said a regular source in a chat exchange overnight, when asked to comment on the news of UTB being part of the Ugandan delegation to Rio.
Closing advice from this correspondent to our boys and gals at UTB: Go get them